Sunday, March 28, 2010

Konstantin Flavitsky - Princess Tarakanova, in the Peter and Paul Fortress at the Time of the Flood

Konstantin Flavitsky (1830-1866) - Princess Tarakanova, in the Peter and Paul Fortress at the Time of the Flood 
Russia 6k Stamp Issued 1980
Painting held in Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

This painting is an artistic impression of the last moments of Princess Tarakanova, meaning the Princess of Cockroaches.  She was imprisoned after being exposed as an imposter of a member of the Russian royal family while travelling in Tuscany.  Although legend has it that she died in a flood in 1777, it is more likely that she was executed in 1775. This painting was completed in 1864.  Light shafts through the window of the Peter and Paul fortress as the water rises - it will eventually capture this troubled 22 year old woman - the tragedy is immediate and realistic.

The painting was completed in 1864.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

John le Capelain - Landscapes from Jersey (Pt 4)

John de Capetain - Jersey Landscapes
Jersey Stamp issued 1987

In contrast to some works by de Captain, this painting depicts a sea at peace.  The waves gently lap at the shore of a large beach, possibly at sunset.  This painting is very similar to the work of Joseph Turner, with haze in the distance.  

Friday, March 26, 2010

Martiros Sarian - Old Yerevan

Martiros Sarian (1880-1972) - Old Yerevan
Russian 6k Stamp issued 1980
Armenian: Մարտիրոս Սարյան

Born in Armenia, Sarian went to be trained in Moscow School of Arts at the turn of the 20th Century.  Sarian was heavily influenced by Henry Matisse and Paul Gauguin, with this painting being completed in 1928.

This work depicts Yerevan, which is the capital city of Armenia.  The painter lived to an old age in this city and his former home has has apparently been turned into a museum with hundreds of his works.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

John le Capelain - Landscapes from Jersey (Pt 3)

John le Capelain - Landscapes from Jersey
Jersey 31p Stamp issued 1987

We're seeing a regular pattern here, for this painter who lived in Jersey, which is part of the Channel Islands.  Once again, he shows a mastery for composing light in this landscape of a well developed harbour - perhaps this is not your typical landscape for a rural outpost in the sea.  I like the way light disperses from behind a dark cloud that is fully centred in this painting.  The sea appears rough, with an ability to overwhelm people in their small boats.  

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nikolai Nevrev - The Market

НИКОЛАЙ НЕВРЕВ. Торг. Сцена из крепостного быта. Из недавнего прошлого
Nikolai Nevrev (1830-1904) - The Market
Russian 6k Stamp Issued 1980
to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of his birth

This is the most famous painting from Nevrev, as it depicts a market where serfs were being sold as slaves.  The painting was completed in 1866, shortly after serfdom was abolished in Russia.  The painter was critical of the church in other parts of his work.  

This is one of a series of four art related stamps that were issued in Russia in 1980.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

John le Capelain - Landscapes from Jersey (Pt 2)

John le Capetain - Landscape painter
Jersey 34p Stamp issued 1987

Le Capetain has depicted the landscape in an expansive and somewhat threatening manner in this painting, as the sea waves smash into the coastline - no peaceful coves or sandy beaches here.  The people in this painting  appear to be quite calm, but you feel as though they may be swept away by the overwheming strength of the waves - they would just disappear from the painting in a few seconds.  Again, it's really misty, but we still see enough of the landscape to be impressed by it.

This is the second in this series of five 1987 Jersey Christmas stamps that I've managed to collect.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Guy Grey-Smith - Skull Springs Country

Guy Grey-Smith (1916-1981) - Skull Springs Country
Australian 45c Stamp issued 1995
Painting Completed in 1965 - Held at the Art Gallery of Western Australia

Gery-Smith had a coloured and challenging life, as he was born in WA before heading off to WWII with the Royal Australian Air Force in France.  After being shot down from his plane, he was held as a POW in France, where he learned to paint with watercolours.  Art became his life subsequent to this and he eventually returned to Western Australia after establishing his career overseas.

Full biography is available: Guy Grey-Smith .

This is the last of the series of four stamps of Australian Modern Art that were issued in 1995 by Australia Post. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

John le Capelain - Landscapes from Jersey (Pt 1)

John Le Capelain (1812-1848)  - Title not known
Jersey 11p Stamp issued 1987 (Christmas)

It's been a little difficult to find information on the 19th century artists who painted in the style of Turner.  I've recently managed to locate the complete collection of stamps that depict his art, so these will be uploaded on the next few days.

I really like the way Le Capelain depicts light in the moody conditions that must be part of life in the Channel Islands - it really makes you want to go and visit Jersey.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Quamrul Hassan - Happy Return

Quamrul Hassan (1921-1988) - Happy Return
Bangladesh Stamp issued 1986

Quamrul Hassan is a famous artist whose art also played a part in the political history of Bangladesh.  Born and university educated in Kolkata, India and having moved to Dhaka (Bangladesh) during the partition of India, his artwork is heavily influenced by Bengal folk art.  This artwork is consistent with many other works by this artist who used bright watercolours, in addition to often depicting life for women in rural areas of the country.  He also designed the Bangladeshi flag.  

Friday, March 19, 2010

Robert Juniper - Outcamp

Robert Juniper (b. 1929) - Outcamp
Australian $1.05 stamp issued 1995
Held by the Art Gallery of WA, Painted in 1977

Robert Juniper is one of Western Australia's most accomplished artists.  This work was depicted with three other modern art works in the 1995 Australia Day stamp issue. 

Juniper recently participated in installation works where model cows were painted in the Margaret River region, and he was also commissioned to design the stained glass windows of a church in Bunbury Western Australia.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Paul-Emile Borduas - Untitled No. 6

Paul-Emile Borduas (1905-1960) - Untitled No. 6 
Canada 35c Stamp issued 1981
Museum of Contemporary Art - Montreal Canada

Borduas was the leader of the Automatiste group of artists in Montreal Canada that became prominent in the 1940s.  These artists supported the theory of surrealist automatism - this the the type of "automatic" drawing that is developed when you do not impose self-censorship during the drawing process.  Montreal was a conservative place at that time, and Borduas eventually moved to New York City and Paris in the 1950s before his untimely death in 1960 from a heart attack.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ian Fairweather - Kite Flying

Ian Fairweather (1891-1974) - Kite Flying (1958)
Australian $1.20 Stamp Issued 1995
Held at the Queensland Art Gallery
This is the second of four modern art paintings that were issued by Australia Post in 1995.  Others in the series included work by Russell Drysdale, Guy Grey-Smith and Robert Juniper.  

Kite flying 1958, one of Fairweather's most significant works, exemplifies the artist's approach to painting. Lines inspired by Chinese calligraphy cross the work, exposing layers of underpainting. Figures, kites and balloons dance in and out of focus in a fusion of shapes and colours.
The work is based on a 2000-year-old Chinese kite flying festival, which celebrates the protection of loved ones against misfortune. The festival commemorates the story of Huan Ching, a man from the Han period in China, who was warned by a sage to take his wife and children to the mountains.
Taking this advice, he took his family kite flying, and so escaped the massacre that befell their livestock. The felicity of this occasion is reflected in the painting's joyous vibrancy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Charles Nuttall - Opening of the First Federal Parliament 9 May 1901

Charles Nuttall - Opening of the First Federal Parliament 9 May 1901
Australian 45c Stamp issued 2001
Painting held in Museum Victoria Collection, Melbourne

This scene was also depicted by Tom Roberts - both artists were working on this at the time at opposite sides of the stage.

The first address to parliament took place in the Exhibition Building in Melbourne, and this stamp was issued to commemorate the centenary of this event.  

Unlike some other countries, the formation of Australia took place after a series of controlled political meetings in the 1880s and 1890s, referendums across the six states from 1895 to 1900, and the signing of the Commonwealth of Australia Act by the British Parliament in 1900.  Melbourne was the initial capital (probably causing some angst in Sydney), so parliament was eventually established in Canberra in 1927.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Russell Drysdale - Back Verandah

Russell Drysdale (1912-1981) - Back Verandah (1942)
Australia 45c Stamp issued 1995
Painting Held at the Queensland Art Gallery Brisbane

Drysdale was known for capturing certain aspects of the Australian landscape, including it's harshness and desolation.  Many of his paintings are etched into the Australian psyche.

This painting depicts the simple but relatively harsh way of life for a rural family in south western New South Wales.  Although there is a brief time for rest, there is always plenty of work to do.   The painting was completed in 1942, at a time when Drysdale's work was becoming increasingly sinister and slightly menacing to some viewers - Australia's involvement in WWII was also becoming more serious at this time.

This is the first of four modern art stamps that were issued  by Australia Post for Australia Day in 1995.   The whole set will be added to this blog progressively. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Frederick Varley - Self Portrait

Frederick Varley (1881-1969) - Self Portrait
Canada 17c Stamp issued 1981
Painting completed c. 1945

Varley was born in England but emigrated to Canada and was one of the "Group of Seven" painters.  He was critical of disapproved of extreme forms of abstract art as being untrue to nature and he was critical of Picasso, accusing him of "tearing the world apart" in his work.  

The Group of Seven artists worked in the early parts of the 20th Century to establish a distinct Canadian style of art that recognised the unique landscapes and challenges that were different to the European traditions.  This can be compared also to Heidelberg School in Australia that also manifested itself around the unique landscapes in the southern continent.

This is the first of three Canadian Stamp paintings that were issued in 1981.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tom Roberts - Opening of the First Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia

Tom Roberts - Opening of the First Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia by HRH Duke of Cornwall and York, May 9, 1901
Australian $2.45 stamp issued 3 May 2001 - Centenary of Federation
Painting held at the Australian Parliament House Canberra
This 12 by 18 foot painting is now held in the Parliament House Collection in Canberra - details on the people and ceremony  have also been well documented on the Parliament Website.  It was completed in 1903, some two years after the opening of this first parliament of Australia, which happened in Melbourne.  (Canberra did not exist at the time).  Tom Roberts and Charles Nuttall were resident artists during the sitting of this first parliament, as they were well established artists at this time when TV was a long way off.  

Tom Roberts was from the Heidelberg School of Art - his works have been used on other Australian stamps:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Carel Fabritius - The Sentry

Carel Fabritius (1622-1654) - The Sentry
East Germany DDR Stamp Issued 1982
Painting completed in 1654
Staatliche Museum Schwerin Germany

Fabritius was one of Rembramdt's most gifted pupils, but his life was cut short in a gunpowder explosion in Delft Holland in 1654.  It is thought that only a dozen of his paintings survive.  

This excellently designed stamp depicts a painting that shows his ability to capture life-like light and shadows in everyday situations.  The colours and mood are also similar to his most famous work is "The Goldfinch".

Giuseppe Cali

Guiseppi Cali (1846-1930) 
Malta 5c Stamp Issued 1996

I've not been able to find a source to determine the name, date and location of this painting which was completed by one of Malta's most accomplished artists.  The stamp was issued in a series of four in 1996 to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Guiseppi Cali's birth.  He was a prolific painter who completed works within many important churches in Malta.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Alessandro Botticelli - Adoration of the Magi.

Alessandro Botticelli - Adoration of the Magi. 
Dominica 1c Stamp Issued 1973
Painting completed c.1475. 
Painting held at Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy

This stamp was developed from Botticelli's most famous work, being "Adoration of the Magi".  The stamp itself does not include the entire painting, as only the central part of the painting has been captured.  The entire painting contains more details of this gathering, where the manger has been set up in the ruins of a Roman style temple.  The figures at the front of the painting are clothed in rich garments in the original painting.

Botticelli - Madonna del Libro

Alessandro Botticelli (1444-1510) - Madonna del Libro
Painting completed in 1480
Hungary Stamp issued in 1969
Painting Held at Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan, Italy

Botticelli was one of the great renaissance painters who gained fame for painting a number of Madonna scenes.  This stamp covers part of one his most famous Madonna depictions.  He was also commissioned to work on frescos in the Sistine Chapel along with other painters at the time.  

It is also interesting to note that Botticelli was a follower of Savonarola in the latter stages of his life.  Savonarola a priest and leader in Florence at the time, who was known for advocating book burning, opposition against the renaissance and the destruction of immoral art.  It is said that Botticelli destroyed some of his own artworks.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Frans van Mieris - Duet

Frans Van Mieris (1635-1681) - Duet
Stamp issued East Germany DDR 1982
Painting completed 1658, held at Slaatliches Museum Schwerin

Van Mieris painted in the "Leiden Fijnschilders" (fine painting) style where small paintings were composed and meticulously executed in a manner aimed at reproducing reality.  He was a master of the Dutch Golden Age.

This painting was completed at a time when he was specialising in depicting the lives of the upper classes in Holland.  Clothing fabrics are richly ornate and the house is expensively furnished. 

The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC held an exhibition on the works by Frans van Mieris in 2006. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ivan Khrutsky - Portrait of an Unknown Woman with Fruit

Ivan Khrutsky - Portrait of an Unknown Woman with Fruit
Painting completed in 1838 - USSR Stamp issued 1983
Art Museum of Belarus Minsk

This stamp was difficult to research, as it does not seem to appear in catalogues that are available freely on the internet.  

Ivan Khrutsky (1810-1885) was trained in St Petersburg and he was most famous for still life and some portraits early in his career, before moving onto landscapes when he moved away from St Petersburg later in his life.

Monday, March 8, 2010

George Romney - Portrait of Mrs Davenport

George Romney - Portrait of Mrs Davenport
Stamp issued by Manama - Dependency of Ajman
Painting originally completed in 1782

George Romney (1734-1802) was a well established English portrait painter.  He typically depicted his subjects against a dark background to bring out their features in contrasting light.

This stamp appears to be taken from a poor copy of the original art work, which is held at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. (Link to Original Artwork).

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Aleksandr M. Lopuhov - To Petrograd

Aleksandr Lopuhov - To Petrograd
USSR Stamp Issued in 1979
Painting completed 1953

I'm guessing that this patriotic Russian painting depicts Lenin on the way to Petrograd (now St Petersburg) prior to the October Revolution which brought him to power.  This painting was completed in the year that Stalin died, while the stamp was issued in 1979 at the height of the Cold War.

Hosoda Eishi - Geisha in Boat

Chobunsai Eishi - Geisha in Boat
Hungary 60ft Stamp Issued 1971

Chosunsai Eishi (1756-1829) was a Japanese painter and wood block designer who depicted images of courtesans and geishas.  Although he was born into the samurai class, he left the public service to devote his time wholly to art.  

His work became prominent in the 1790s, with many artists copying his style, especially in terms of elongating the heads of the geishas.  His work was influenced by Torii Kiyonaga.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bertalan Por - Portrait of a Man

Portrait of a Man by Bertalan Por
Painting completed 1912 Hungarian Stamp issued circa 1980

Bertalan Por trained in Munich and lived in Hungary when this painting was completed in 1912.   He was a popular portrait painter.  His most famous work "Sermon on the Mount" was highly decorative and symbolic - it was also completed around this time.

Por was a member of "The Eight" artists who brought Hungarian art into the modern age, with a bigger emphasis on radicalism versus impressionism.  Art markets flourished to the benefits of these artists in the early 20th Century in Austria-Hungary as the empire had experienced consistently high levels of economic growth.

See also Hungarian Art

Friday, March 5, 2010

Boris Kustodiev - The Merchant's Wife

The Merchant's Wife by Boris Kustodiev 
Painting completed 1912 Russian Stamp Issued 1978 
The Russian Museum, St Petersburg

This is the most famous painting by this Russian painter who used bright colours and realism in his work.  There is a hint of satire in this work, as the cat looks as though it is about to make a big mess of the rich merchant's wife's table.  The use of colour and brightness constrasts with the artist's life at this time as he was confined to a wheelchair in his studio from 1912.  

Although he did travel outside Russia for training and medical reasons, he constantly depicted scenes from Russian life with an emphasis on merchants and folk life.

Claude Monet - Camille

Claude Monet - Camille
Romanian Stamp issued 1970, Painting Completed 1866
Kunsthalle Gallery, Bremen, Germany

Claude Monet is one of the famous artists who brought us the impressionist movement in France from 1862.  I'm no art expert, but this may be an earlier work that was done before he got into impressionism in a big way.  Large format Romanian stamps were quite common in the 1970s.  

It seems a little curious for an Eastern Bloc country like Romania to issue a stamp with a painting from a West German gallery in the 1970s, but I'm guessing this may have something to do with the establishment of diplomatic ties between these two states in the late 1960s?  In any case, it's a nice stamp from a key painter!

Pablo Picasso - Seated Nude

Seated Nude by Pablo Picasso 
Republic of Equatorial Guinea 
Stamp issued 1978,Painting completed 1905

This is one of Picasso's works before he become of the the most famous artists of the modern era.  He was living in Paris at the time of completing this work, and he would change his style two years after completing this work, be re-arranging the faces of his models and going towards two dimensional painting, in a radical departure from European conventions at the time.

His other works that have been used on stamps include:

Stefan Luchian - Oranges and Carnations

Stefan Luchian (1868-1916)  Oranges and Carnations  
Romanian Stamp issued 1976, Painting Completed 1905 
Art Museum of Dobrudcha

This is a pleasant still life painting that was completed by a guy who was quite famous in Romania at the turn of the 19th Century.  Lucian spent some at art schools in France in the early 1890s.  Many of his works are clearly influenced by the impressionist movement, as he commonly painted landscapes and images of the harmony between people and nature.  similar to impressionist paintings around the same time.    

I found a website link that has images of his other works.  It's interesting to see how some of his work looks similar to Australian artists at the same time, including Hans Heysen and George Lambert.  

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Nud In Peisaj

Nud In Peisaj - Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) 
Romanian Stamp issued 1976, Painting Completed 1905
Zambaccian Museum, Bucharest

Another impressionism stamp...  this is one of a series of large format stamps that were issued by Romania in the 1970s, and this painting is also held in Romania.  Renoir was key to the development of the impressionism movements in the late 19th century, along with Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, Berthe Morisot, Bazille and others.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Arthur Devis - Master Simpson

Arthur Devis (1762-1822) - Master Simpson (1805)
Stamp issued by Manama
Devis followed in the footsteps of his father by becoming a portrait artist.  He was heavily influenced by Sir Joshua Reynolds.  He completed portraits of very famous and less famous, but wealthy people during his career in the late 18th and early 19th century.  He also travelled to Canton and India during his career as a draughtsman.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Paul Rubens - Lamentacao do Cristo

Paul Rubens - Lamentacao do Cristo
Guinea Bissau Stamp Issued 1977, Painting completed in 1614
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Henry Raeburn - Self Portrait

Self Portrait
By Sir Henry Raeburn (1756-1823)
Painted 1815

National Gallery of Scotland Edinburgh
GB 5p Stamp Issued 1973

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bartolome Murillo - Madonna in the Clouds

Bartolome Murillo (1617-1682) - Madonna in the Clouds (1656-1660)
British 4d Stamp issued 1967
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Murillo was born into a family with thirteen siblings.  He grew up in Seville, which was a major trading city in Spain at the time, and it is thought that he was influenced by the popular Flemish painters.  He was most famous for his religious paintings, although he also completed a large number of paintings that captured contemporary Spanish life.  In 1642, he moved to Madrid, where he learned more about the works of Velazquez.  

Sir Joshua Reynolds - Self Portrait

Self Portrait
By Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792)
Painted 1780
Royal Acedemy of Arts London
GB Stamp 3p Issued 1973

Monday, March 1, 2010

Paul Rubens - Vincent IV Gonzaga

Paul Rubens (1577-1640) - Vincent IV Gonzaga (1605) 
Guinea Bissau Stamp issued in 1977
Rubens was an innovator during the Baroque period of art, known for his detailed brushwork and use of colour.  This painting is a portrait of Ruben's employer who was the Spanish Duke of Mantua.  Rubens stayed in Italy for eight years and travelled to Spain during his employment of the Duke.  He was knighted by the kings of Spain and England during his career.

Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830) - Master Lambton

Master Lambton (1825) - Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830)
Great Britain Stamp issued 1967
Private Collection
This portrait is also known as "Red Boy" and it was widely acclaimed during an exhibition in Paris in 1827.  Thomas Lawrence was a child prodigy, and he earned enough money to support his family from the age of 10.  He never married, although he had several public affairs, as his career was very accomplished.  He earned the custom of the Prince Regent, who would later become King George IV from 1820 to 1830.  While working for the Prince Regent, he completed portraits of many famous people in Europe, including Pope Pius VII - these works were destined for Windsor Castle.

Lawrence is one of the most famous romantic portrait artists of the regency age. This painting was completed for Lord Durham, who was a mining magnate at the time the work was   commissioned.  It is a painting of Lord Durham's son.

Sir Joshua Reynolds - Nelly O'Brien

Nellie O'Brien
By Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792)
Painted 1762-4
Wallace Collection London
GB 7.5p Stamp Issued 1973

Sir Joshua Reynolds is best known for his portrait paintings of the rich and famous.  He studied the Old Masters of painting in Italy from 1749-1752, before becoming famous for his Grand Style portraits which aimed at portraying idealised versions of imperfect people.  He commanded expensive fees at the height of his career, and he was knighted by King George III in 1769.