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

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Antoine (Tony) Johannot (1803-1882) Original Drawings

I have a confession to make. I am a sucker for energetic line in a nude drawing, denoting to my eye, a technically proficient, highly trained artistic hand. Call me romantic, call me sappy, call me a cab. I love a sensual, romantic line in a drawing, especially when that sensuality is applied to the nude. When I see an energetic example of 19th century academic training, I will post it for your enjoyment. Currently on a French Auction site there is a listing for several drawings by Tony Johannot (1803-1882) that meet my criteria for beautiful drawings. Johannot was a French engraver, illustrator, and painter from the early to mid-19th century. He was a painter who was involved in the development of lithography in France. His two older brothers were also trained engravers and Tony learned engraving from his brothers and helped his brother Alfred produce illustrations to books by James Fenimore Cooper and Walter Scott. His historical paintings were exhibited at the Paris Salon for the first time in 1831. He became an illustrator and his works were much sought after for their elegance, diversity, and the lively character of his drawing skills. He was once called "The King of Illustration." He became France's foremost illustrator of the 1840's. He received exposition medals in both 1831 and 1848. He illustrated more than one hundred books, including works by Cervantes, Moliere, and Goethe. Enjoy.

The drawing below is so very interesting in its execution. When I was studying at University, one class I took explored the concept of introducing points of tension in the composition and points where that tension is released, or if you can imagine, creating places within the composition that acted as if they were joined by a twisted rubber band. As I look at this drawing I can see many examples of how the artist has treated the overall composition in terms of tension and how that treatment produces movement in this beautiful figure study. There are numerous places where shapes protrude into adjacent spaces, producing points of tension and other places where lines move away from each other and tension is released. Take a look at that figure of a child as he leans over the knee of the female who is reading (The name of the drawing is "The Lecture"). The curve of the child's hips and buttocks echoes the curve of the leg and knee on which he leans. The furthermost impingement of the knee towards the outer edge of the leg of the child forms a nice area of tension when that line almost meets the line of the child's hips, almost in the shape of an hour glass. Then look directly opposite that point and see how the tension is released in the figure standing looking over the shoulder of the female figure as lines diverge. That action takes place in almost a straight line from each other. This is really an interesting study of controlling the movement of beautiful, energetic line. The figures just vibrate with movement although they are obviously static.

Caption: Drawing Series
Artist: Antonie (Tony) Johannot (1803-1852)
Medium: Pencil on paper
Dated: circa early 19th century

Here are a few more examples of Tony Johannot's prolific works:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Louis Antoine Leon Riesner (1808-1878) Female Nudes - Study For A Fountain

Artist: Eugene Delacroix
Portrait of Louis Antoine Leon Riesener (1808-1878)

I found this beautiful female nude study (below) a week ago on eBay France and lusted after it until I finally found a way to afford it. I managed to get a refund from eBay for a drawing that never arrived so off to the races we go, on to another artistic quest. I love heroic drawings like this. They have a way of uplifting the soul; brave, noble, strong women holding up that triumphant torch (fountain), the unison and spirit of womanhood. I love the way the artist has handled the light on the three figures. Great stuff if I say so myself, in spite of the fact the model's for those female bodies were probably males considering the muscularity. Those were the days when men were men and women were too. Louis Antoine Leon Riesner (1808-1878) was the first cousin of Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863), the grandson of Jean-Henri Riesener (1734-1806), and the son of Henry Francis Riesener (1767-1828). As a teenager, Louis took drawing lessons from his father. Right out of college he entered the studio of Antoine-Jean Gros. From 1830 to 1839 he began to exhibit important works in the Salon. He painted both portraits and religious subjects. His works are considered a precursor of Impressionism. He was a passionate colorist. He studied the art of ancient Greece and the Italian renaissance.

Caption: Female Nudes (Study for a Fountain)
Artist: Louis Antoine Leon Riesener (1808-1878)
Medium: Pen & Ink with washes on paper
Dated: circa 1850
Here are a few additional works by Riesener:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Jan de Bisschop (1628-1671) Figural Etchings - 17th Century

Today I found a number of prints by Jan de Bisschop (1628-1671) listed on eBay France. If I didn't already have myself tied up financially in the purchase of a beautiful bronze, I would love to bring a number of these beauties into my collection. I do not presently have examples of 17th century instructional academic nudes in my collection. Jan de Bisschop was originally a lawyer by training but inspite of his lack of artistic training he founded a painting studio in The Hague in 1652 and later founded a drawing school. He produced some beautiful landscapes in ink washes. He also made figure studies, referencing classical and Italian paintings. Despite his amateur status, he was widely influential in art and art publishing during his lifetime. Jan de Bisschop was also responsible for two substantial collections of prints, the signorum Veterum icones, published from 1668-1669; and the Paradigmata graphices variorum artificum, published in 1671. The icones contained 100 prints after classical and classicizing sculptures. Jan de Bisschop's volumes were highly successful in their intended purpose, to furnish Dutch artists with a source of ideal instructive models for figures and figure compositions. Enjoy.

Here are a few additional examples of Bisschop's works: