The Passion of Collecting Academic Nudes

Join me as we explore my collection of Academic Nudes from the 18th, 19th, and Early 20th Centuries and serendipitous finds in the Museum, Art Auction, and Gallery world......examples from the Golden Age of the European Academie

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cast Drawing: Using the Sight-Size Approach

If you are interested in learning more about the Sight-Size approach to drawing that was used to train artists in the 19th century, I highly recommend Darren R. Rousar's highly informative book titled: Cast Drawing: Using the Sight-Size Approach. You can order Darren's book directly from There is a companion DVD also, Sight-Size and the art of seeing. These two items will get you started in the art of classical drawing methods.
Book Title: Cast Drawing, Using the Sight-Size Approach
Author: Darren R. Rousar
Velatura Press, Minneapolis, Mn 2007
ISBN-13: 978-0-9800454-0-6

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Erich Kips (Berlin 1869 - 1945 Helgoland) Female Nude Study

Despite the fact that Erich Kip's work is well known on Auction sites, biographic information on the web is somewhat scarce regarding his training. He is apparently well travelled considering the subject matter of his various paintings. The only blip I could find is a short listing which describes him as a "ceramist, painter, illustrator, and decorative artist." I will have to keep digging. This nude study of a standing female nude is probably the finest oil painting sketch I have in my collection. You can tell from the drawing and the application of paint that Kips was well trained and knew exactly what he was doing. If you examine the surface of the painting closely you can see the fine brush applications of the sable brush the artist used. Truly a beautiful work of art.

Caption: Standing Female Nude
Artist: Erich Kips (1869-1945)
Medium: Oils on prepared artist board
Dated: undated. Artist's estate stamp appears in the lower right (1890-1910)
Here are a few additional academic nude studies by Erich Kips. The little study of the female child directly below is one of the very few such studies I have seen. It was posted the same time I bought the above female nude but unfortunately I was unable to add it to my collection. It was later resold at auction in Germany and into a private collection I assume.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Francis Simeon (1879-1954) Nude Ephebe

Caption: Nude Ephebe with Line
Artist: Francis Simeon (1870-1954)
Medium: Sanguine chalk on paper
Dated: Undated, signed in the lower left hand corner.

This little sanguine drawing arrived from Lille, France a few weeks ago. Although not very detailed in execution it is a nice example of a line drawing with a minimum amount of shading. Unfortunately I do not have much biographical information on the artist outside the dates of birth and death.

William Etty - 1787 1849 - Three Male Nudes - Pen & Ink drawing

If any thing can be said of William Etty it is that he literally put the nude on the map in the early 19th century, so much so that he drew continuous fire from his critics as being an unrepentant pornographer. Etty apprenticed to a print maker before taking up painting in 1806. He entered the Royal Art Schools in 1807 and continued to frequent life classes for his entire career. He was a pupil of Thomas Lawrence, publisher of Hull Packet and East Riding Times. He studied anatomy and proportion extensively for the following twelve years. From 1811 he exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy and the British Institution and in 1816 he worked in the studio of Jean-Baptiste Regnault in Paris. In 1822, Etty traveled through France and Italy, copying works of Titian and Rubens. After this period of travel, he created large paintings of nudes and historical scenes. Etty's nudes were criticized by the Press and deemed indecent. Luckily Etty had many wealthy patrons and eventually was given a solo exhibition at the Society of Arts in London in 1849. In 1848, he retired to his native city of York, where today the largest collection of his works can be seen. This little drawing came from a London Auction House several years ago. If you get a magnifying glass you can see a very delicate pencil drawing underneath, overlain by a pen and ink drawing and light wash. A lot of action packed into such a small drawing. Based upon their pose, I like to think of them as the "Three Male Graces", Football, Rugby, and Cricket!

Caption: Three Nude Graces, three male nudes

Artist: William Etty (1787- 1849)

Medium: Pencil sketch, pen and ink drawing with wash, overlay.

Dated: undated, early 19th century

Here are only a few examples of Etty's works featuring the nude. As any good artist should, he spent many hours drawing and painting the nude:

Fanny von Jaksch - Austrian Artist

Caption: Male Nude
Artist: Fanny von Jaksch (?)
Medium: Copper intaglio print
Dated: 1919

Fanny von Jaksch (late 19th - Early 20th Century) was an Austrian female graphic artist who worked during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I have been able to find scant biographical information on her but the academic study in my collection is impressive. This is a copper intaglio print signed and dated 1919. I think the most impressive thing about this study is the way the model stares directly into the viewers eyes. Bold as brass and proud of that body. Most models are posed in a prescribed way, staring out into the great beyond but not this guy. He is in your face and challenging in his pose.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Anonymous - Head of Hercules - Drawing from the Plaster Cast

Caption: Bust of Hercules, from the plaster cast
Artist: Anonymous
Medium: Charcoal on paper
Dated: undated; circa late 19th Century

I keep finding these little gems on eBay France. This evening I found and bought this beautiful 19th century drawing of Hercules from the plaster cast. Before a student was allowed to draw the nude from life he had to complete a series of sight-size drawings from the plaster cast. This is a beautiful example 0f 19th century cast drawing. Not technically a nude but well worth adding to the collection as an example of the technical expertise acquired by the Artist in the late 19th century Academe. This drawing came from Paris and was most probably from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. It has some minor foxing and a bit of worm hole damage but still a beautiful work of art.