ALBERT LEBOURG (1849 – 1928)

The Canal at Charenton – Albert Lebourg (1849-1928)

Albert Lebourg (né Albert-Marie Lebourg) was born on 1 February 1849 in Montfort-sur-Risle, about 17 miles southwest of Rouen, France. He studied at l’École des Beaux Arts and at l’Academie de Peinture et de Dessins in Rouen, before becoming a student at the architecture studio of J.P. Laurens in Paris.

After meeting the famous collector, Lapelier, in 1872, Lebourg became an art teacher at l’École des Beaux Arts in Algeria. Apart from one visit to Paris, when he got married on 8 September 1873, Lebourg lived in Algeria until 1877, and there met a painter from Lyons called Seignemartin. Under Seignemartin’s influence, Lebourg’s paintings grew increasingly Impressionist in style (The Admiralty (1875), Arab fantasia (1876) and Moorish cafe (1877).

In the Fourth Impressionist Exhibition of 1879, Lebourg exhibited 30 works with Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Edgar Degas, including paintings and drawings executed in Algeria. In the Fifth Impressionist Exhibition of 1880, he exhibited 20 works depicting Rouen, Paris and Algiers. He was admitted to the Salon in Paris in 1883 with a work entitled Matinée à Dieppe. In 1887 he exhibited at the acclaimed Les XX exhibition, with Walter Sickert, Camille Pissarro, Berthe Morisot and Georges-Pierre Seurat.

Lebourg became a member of the Société des Artistes Français beginning in 1893. He moved to the Netherlands in 1895, where he would stay two years. He exhibited to great acclaim at the Mancini Gallery in Paris and won the Silver Medal at the Exposition Universelle in 1900. In 1903, a retrospective exhibition on him was organised, presenting 111 works at the Gallerie Rosenberg, the art gallery of Paul Rosenberg at 21 rue de la Boétie in Paris.

On 13 November 1909, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen opened a show with fifty-two paintings, thirteen by Lebourg. Then in 1918, in the same museum, Lebourg was represented with Bonnard, Boudin, Camoin, Cross, Guillaumin, Luce, Matisse, Monet, Signac, Vuillard and Pinchon. In the same year, another retrospective on him was organised in Paris.

Lebourg was named Chevalier of the Legion of Honour on 27 June 1903, and breveted Officer of the Legion of Honour 22 April 1924. A catalogue raisonné of 2,137 works was published in 1923. His works are exhibited at the Musee d’Orsay, Petit-Palais and Carnavalet in Paris, as well as museums in Bayonne, Clermont-Ferrand, Le Havre, Dunkerque, Lille, Strasbourg, Sceaux and in Rouen at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen (Depeaux collection).

In September 1920, Lebourg suffered a stroke that paralysed the left side of his body. He nevertheless remarried in February 1921. Lebourg died in Rouen on 7 January 1928.



Jardin du Carrousel Paris c1927
Oil on canvas 45cmx53cm

Joseph Kleitsch was considered one of the premier painters in the early California School of Impressionism. Born in Deutsch St. Michael, Banat, Hungary on June 6, 1882, he began painting at the age of seven. After being awarded a scholarship by his village to study art, he continued his training in Budapest, Munich and Paris. Around 1901, he immigrated to Germany and then to Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1905 he moved to Denver. Between 1907 and 1909 he visited and painted in Chicago, Kansas and Mexico City. He was honored in 1912 for his portraits of Mexico’s President Francisco Madero and his family.

Around 1914 Kleitsch moved to Chicago where besides painting portraits of many prominent citizens, he taught at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1914 to 1919. While there he joined the Palette and Chisel Club and participated in exhibitions where his new style of painting interior scenes with figures was shown. In 1914 he was awarded the Gold Medal by the Art Institute of Chicago.

In 1920 Joseph and his wife, Edna, moved to Laguna Beach and started the Kleitsch Academy. Although he was at the height of his art career in Chicago, he found the rustic local street scenes in his new home to be extremely inspiring and his painting flourished. He was soon exhibiting his work at Stendahl and Hatfield Galleries in Los Angeles while also making trips to San Francisco, Carmel and Europe in search of the next painting subject. Arthur Millier of the Los Angeles Times was quoted saying of Kleitsch, “He was a born colorist; he seemed to play on canvas with the abandon of a gypsy violinist.”

Kleitsch became an avid plein air painter and helped to cofound the Painters’ and Sculptors’ Club in 1923. It was a men’s only group patterned after the Salmagundi Club of New York. They worked with studio models and also had a sketching camp for landscape painting. He was awarded their Silver Medal.

From 1926 to 1929 Joseph returned to Europe, painting in Giverny to experience first hand the inspiration for Monet’s works and then traveling on to Hungary and to Spain before returning to Laguna Beach where he had a successful showing at the Stendahl. A few years later Kleitsch died suddenly at the age of 49 from a heart attack.


Berthe Morisot 1841 – 1895

62 by 52 cm

Femme à l’éventail, also known as Tête de jeune fille,was painted in 1876 during a momentous period in French painting and is considered one of Morisot’s most accomplished canvases. Included in the third Impressionist group exhibition in Paris in 1877, this elegant depiction of a woman holding a fan exemplifies Morisot’s technique at its most painterly and sophisticated. Most striking here is her application of black paint, applied with varying degrees of translucency to convey the folds in the fan and the crispness of the gossimer fabric draped around the figure’s shoulders. The picture exemplifies Morisot’s individual Impressionist technique as well as the stylistic attributes shared by Edouard Manet, her mentor, brother-in-law and artistic collaborator. 

The identity of the sitter for Femme à l’éventail is unknown; neither a member of the artist’s family or a professional model can be clearly identified. But what is particularly striking about the present work is that it calls to mind a portrait of Morisot herself, dressed in black and holding a fan, that Manet painted two years earlier. Femme à l’éventail may very well be Morisot’s response to that portrait, but it arguably presents a more intimate and psychologically compelling rendering of its glamorous female subject. 

Berthe Morisot holds the distinction of being a founding member of the Impressionist group and one of its most important contributors. The casual elegance of her compositional style and her liberal application of paint, demonstrated beautifully in Femme à l’éventail and other paintings from the 1870s, helped to define the aesthetic of the movement. As one of its only women members in addition to the American, Mary Cassatt, Morisot lent a valuable female perspective to avant-garde art at the turn of the century. Her pictures gave insight to aspects of French society and provided a platform for ‘feminine’ subjects and concerns that remained unexplored by her male colleagues. The models for her paintings were mostly women and children, many of whom were members of her own family, and they posed for her with a level of ease and familiarity that was rarely seen in 19th century portraiture. 

In the year Femme à l’éventail was painted Morisot and her fellow Impressionists organised the second Impressionist exhibition held in Durand-Ruel’s galleries at 11 rue Peletier. As had been the case at their previous group showing in 1874, the critics of Paris responded ferociously to these avant-garde artists. One review in particular by Albert Wolff infuriated Morisot’s husband, Eugène, so greatly that he challenged the author to a duel. Morisot remained undiscouraged by her critical reception and chose to exhibit Femme à l’éventail at the third Impressionist exhibition in 1877. The show in general fared little better with the conservative press, but Emile Bergerat recognized the preeminent qualities of the present work writing, “The most gifted painter of all [the Impressionists], in the sense that they possess an innate gift for color, is a woman, Miss Berthe Morisot. This is the artist who has signed the best picture of the exhibition, a portrait of a woman holding a fan. Her brushstrokes are both spontaneous and precise” (Emile Bergerat, op. cit., April 17 1877, translated from French).

From 1877 onwards Morisot continued to be consistently singled out for her sophistication and exemplary technique. Reviewing another Impressionist exhibition for the Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Charles Ephrussi wrote: ‘Berthe Morisot is French in her distinction, elegance, gaiety and nonchalance. She loves painting that is joyous and lively. She grinds flower petals onto her palette, in order to spread them later on her canvas with airy, witty touches, thrown down a little haphazardly. These harmonize, blend and finish by producing something vital, fine, and charming that you do not see so much as intuit…” (Charles Ephrussi, ‘Exposition des artistes indépendants’, in Gazette des Beaux Arts, May 1, 1880, pp. 485-88, quoted in op. cit. (exhibition catalogue), Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, 1992, p. 327.


Giuseppe de Nittis (1846-1884) An elegant modernity

Westminster Bridge, 1878
Oil on canvas – 110 X 95 cm

Trained in Naples, the Italian-born painter Giuseppe de Nittis, in his early twenties, settled in Paris in 1868. He fell in love with Léontine Gruvelle, the daughter of an “important costume dealer in Paris” who became his model and whom he married the following year. The young couple moved into a small house in La Jonchère, on the banks of the Seine, between Rueil and Bougival, welcoming Manet, Berthe Morisot, Caillebotte, Pissarro as guests into their home. De Nittis rode through the countryside painting scenes from life, of themes popular at the time.

Five of De Nittis’ paintings were included in the First Impressionist Exhibition of 1874. He was committed to a naturalistic art that explored the changing play of light. He frequently painted snow scenes, showing solitary figures in wintry streets or parks. He also specialised in depictions of the newly constructed areas of Paris and its suburbs. Under the influence of Japanese prints, he often left large open areas in his pictures, relegating buildings to the edges.

In London, he found a patron in the person of a banker who asked him to use his brushes to “photograph” typical scenes and figures. “London’s terrifying misery in all its hopeless horror” The large format of Westminster Bridge , whose composition is organized in three diagonal zones placing side by side from right to left, clearly outlined figures à la Caillebotte, the Thames and Parliament barely discernible in a Monet-like fog , finally a hesitantly reddish sky.

While his paintings continued to gain favor with the public, De Nittis also adopted the fashion of japonism after meeting Seitei, the master. De Nittis was, with Degas and Manet, among the first painters to use pastels on a large scale.

 In 1884, he died at 38 from a stroke.


Paul Jenkins (1923-2012)

Phenomena When I Looked Away, 1960

Paul Jenkins was an American painter who came to maturity during the reign of the Abstract Expressionists. Born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1923, he studied at the Art Institute in his hometown from 1938 to 1941, and then served as an apprentice at a ceramics factory. Afterwards, he moved to New York City to attend the Art Students League under the G.I. Bill. He remained until 1952, befriending fellow artists Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, but choose to move to Paris after a year to escape the dominant influence of Abstract Expressionism. While abroad, he discovered the effects of staining a canvas as opposed to painting on it – color by flow instead of application. This interest was sparked by his earlier work in ceramics, translating the luminous effects of glazing to a new medium.

Upon his return to the United States in 1956, he encountered the works of the prevalent American Color Field painters Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis, after which he fully took to the technique of staining. Jenkins applied oil paint or thinned acrylic to primed white canvas, typically starting at the corners, and manipulated its flow by adjusting the canvas’ position, sometimes also using blade-like devices to direct the paint further. He normally used bright, bold colors in his works, all of which he gave titles that began was the word “phenomena” beginning in the 1960s. His works are indeed phenomena – something that is impressive and extraordinary. 

In a 2009 review of his work, Roberta Smith described his paintings as “too beautiful for their own good.” Jenkins worked in this mode for the entirety of his career. He was the subject of two major retrospectives at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and the San Francisco Museum of Art, both in 1971, but he received the greatest critical attention in 1978 when his work was featured in the movie An Unmarried Woman. Starring Alan Bates, the movie chronicled the life of a Manhattan artist; the works supposedly done by Bates’ character were actually those of Jenkins, who reportedly spent weeks coaching the actor in the finer points of his working process. Jenkins died in New York City in 2012 after a short illness.

Randy Kennedy, “Paul Jenkins, Painter of Abstract Artwork, dies at 88,” The New York Times, June 12, 2012


Between sea and sky: a portrait of Clarice Beckett (1887 – 1935)

Evening, St Kilda Road

Oil on Canvas 1930

In the early 1930s, along the low-slung coastal promontory of Beaumaris in Melbourne, a middle-aged woman could be seen wheeling a homemade cart stacked with paints and canvases. The artist, Clarice Beckett, produced atmospheric paintings of suburban streets and strangely eerie landscapes.  

At the time Beckett’s art was maligned by the critics, who were dismissive of her association with Melbourne’s fringe ‘Tonalist’ movement, and during her lifetime she sold very few works. In 1935, at the age of forty-seven, Beckett died in a nursing home, and her work was soon forgotten.

Beckett’s favoured artistic terrains, her subjects were also of an urban (and suburban) modernity. Drawn to ideas of Theosophy as a creative stimulus, Beckett composed elements of the suburban everyday (cars, trams, telegraph poles, and tarred roads) into poetically-hazed city and land-scapes which transcend everyday reality and hint at the supra-real or infinite.

‘Evening, St Kilda Road’ lyrically elaborates the artist’s signature subject in an image of the city’s soft-focused modernity. Fusing an urban electric glow with twilight’s ambient luminosity, Beckett explores the sfumatoed limits of representation, using darkened box-shaped cars to retrieve her composition from a misty point of abstraction. Beckett activates colour for potent atmospheric effect, enveloping the city with a rosy-toned veil that evokes the last moments of twilight.

Beckett’s preference for early evening or morning subjects was not for simple poetic effect. Instead, as ‘Evening, St Kilda Road’ demonstrates, she was drawn to the technical challenge of painting the essence of her subject within the fleeting moment; and of observing light effects and developing delicate tonal nuances that blurred the terrains of reality and illusion.

Nearly forty years after Beckett’s death, around two thousand of her artworks were discovered in a shed on a property in rural Victoria. Many of these paintings were rotted and torn, and unable to be identified or restored. Rosalind Hollinrake, who is a curator, former gallery owner, and Beckett’s biographer, helped salvage the artworks, and began to piece together the life and work of one of Australia’s most unique landscape artists.

Clarice Beckett’s personal life remains something of an enigma; her dedication to her art, and her refusal of several marriage proposals pitted her against her family’s traditional view of a woman’s role in society; a view more akin to the Victorian era into which she was born she than the heady, turbulent inter-war period, when Beckett was at her creative highpoint. She was twenty-seven years old when she finally attended art school; her father refused to allow her to set up a studio in the family home, where, as an unmarried woman, she remained all her life, and thus bore the full load of caring for her ill and ageing parents. Beckett’s bleak domestic life was compounded by the hostility of art critics, and at times, her own peers, who misunderstood her distinctive approach. Despite these circumstances Clarice Beckett was driven to make art, and each day at dawn and dusk she could be seen in the suburban streets around her home, and most often on Beaumaris Beach, paintbrush in hand, absorbed in her painting. and managed to exhibit her work annually over a ten year period.

Today her posthumous reputation grows as her vision of modern urban and coastal Australia is acknowledged by contemporary painters, with her works now held in over four of the country’s major public galleries.


William Vonnoh (1858 – 1933) 

An American Impressionist painter known for his portraits and landscapes. He traveled extensively between the American East Coast and France, more specifically the artists colony Grez-sur-Loing.

Robert William Vonnoh has long been recognized as a pioneering figure in the development of American impressionism. The radical coloristic brilliance and dramatic impasto of some of his early paintings distinguished him among his contemporaries and in posterity as one of the most advanced first-generation American practitioners of impressionism. 

In the mid-1880s, a group of advanced Boston painters began to broadcast their interest in the new mode known as impressionism. Boston painters Lilla Cabot Perry (Vonnoh’s former classmate at the Cowles School) and John Enneking, both of whom would serve as catalysts for local interest in impressionism, were among Vonnoh’s associates. 

Although he later claimed to have not seen Claude Monet’s work until 1889, Vonnoh visited the French impressionist exhibition at the Mechanics Building in Boston in 1883, as well as the impressionist collection the Durand-Ruel gallery displayed in New York three years later. 

In 1887 Vonnoh returned to France for an extended stay that marked a turning point in his young career. Undertaking more daring experiments in pure color and broken brush strokes, as in the paintings of poppy fields that declared him “a devoted disciple of the new movement in painting.” 

In Poppies the horizon is pressed close to the top edge of the image or eliminated altogether for an abstract effect heightened by the application of unmixed pigment seemingly directly from the tube. This work has been cited as evidence of Vonnoh’s awareness not only of Monet’s brilliant poppy field paintings but also of post-impressionism. 

As an influential teacher at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in the 1890s he helped to nurture not only a taste for impressionism but individual self-expression, a value that proved fundamental in the advances of the next generation. Yet Vonnoh remains little known beyond scholarly circles, and that almost entirely for his radical impressionist work of the late 1880s and early 1890s. 

Throughout his long career his production was notably bifurcated not only between landscape and figure and portrait painting but within each of those genres between a manner informed by impressionist color and light and a more academic, tonal approach. 

When Vonnoh died in Nice, France, at the age of seventy-five, he was hailed as a versatile artist, although one best known for portraits “built up…solidly with regard to academic tradition.”


Armand Guillaumin París, 1841-1927

Jean-Baptiste-Armand Guillaumin, Impresssionnist painter with intense colors, he is famous for his landscapes of Paris, Creuse and Esterel areas. 

Born in Paris on 16 February 1841 into a working-class family, who moved to Moulins soon after his birth. In accordance with his father’s wishes, he was sent to Paris to study business and placed under the care of his aunt and uncle where he started to work at the age of 15 in his uncle’s store, while attending evening drawing lessons.

At the beginning of the 1870s, he worked with Pissarro in Pontoise, a village of farmers hardly affected by industrialization where Pissarro had settled. They were joined by Cézanne and would often visit Paul Gachet in Auvers, who was socialist, free-thinker, and a regular visitor of the Café Guerbois. Dr. Gachet placed a house at his disposal, while he worked at night with the highway department. During this time, Cézanne did a portrait of Guillaumin entitled “Guillaumin at the Hanged man”.

Working with Pissarro, Guillaumin developed his art of landscape painting. Perspectives opened by winding paths, while introducing industry themes, bringing a certain romanticism. He took part in the first Impressionist Exhibition in 1874, showing three landscapes, among them Sunset in Ivry. 

Zola in his article “Naturalism at the Salon” writes in 1880: : “[…] the true revolutionaries of the form appear with Mr. Édouard Manet, with the Impressionists, Mr Claude Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Guillaumin, and others too. 

These painters intend to leave workshops in which painters shut thelselves up since so many centuries, to go outdoor to paint in open air, simple fact the consequences of which are considerable. In plein-air, light is not unique any more, and consequently multiple effects diversify and transform radically the aspects of things and human beings. This study of light effects [… ] is what one called more or less properly Impressionism, because a painting consequently becomes an impression of one moment felt in front of nature. 

[… ] Mr Pissarro, Sisley, Guillaumin went in the footsteps of Mr. Claude Monet[… ] and they endeavoured painting pieces of nature around Paris under real sunlight, without giving up in front of the most unforeseen effects of coloring.”

Towards the end of the 1880s he became a friend of Van Gogh, and some of his paintings were sold by Théo Van Gogh.

In 1886 he married his cousin Marie-Joséphine Charreton, a school teacher and settled in the town of La Creuse in 1887. In 1891, he won 100000, French francs in the lottery, a windfall that enabled him to devote himself exclusively to painting. From this point on, he made numerous visits to Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, Agay, Brittany, and the Auvergne. In 1904 he travelled to the Netherlands which inspired a number of paintings

Although. Armand Guillaumin was regarded as a secondary artist within the Impressionist movement, his paintings are composed in strong, vivid colours, and his images of factory buildings, railway stations, and similar locations are imbued with a convincing atmosphere. His painting lost some of its intensity during his years in La Creuse, with greens and purples becoming more dominant in his palette. Guillaumin died in Paris on 26 June 1927 at the age of 86.


Emil Nolde – German-Danish (1867-1956)

Moonlit Night 1914

A German-Danish Expressionist painter and printmaker, he was a member of the influential Expressionist group, Die Brücke (The Bridge).  

Best known for brightly colored portraits and peasant scenes (with a Primitivist slant) and for his interest in flowers, this work is a bit different.  

In fact to me, this painting lives up to the name Die Brücke, for it bridges the Impressionist sensibility with the Expressionist lens. This night scene manages to blend Impressionism’s fidelity to the scene with the type of brushwork and coloring favored by Expressionism, and it is the marriage of these elements that gives the piece its power.

In 1942, Nolde wrote

“There is silver blue, sky blue and thunder blue. Every color holds within it a soul, which makes me happy or repels me, and which acts as a stimulus. To a person who has no art in him, colors are colors, tones tones…and that is all. All their consequences for the human spirit, which range between heaven to hell, just go unnoticed.”

Emil Hansen was born in the village of Nolde near the Danish border in August 1867. At the age of seventeen he became the apprentice of a wood carver near Flensburg, while at the same time practicing his skills as a draughtsman. Between 1888 and 1891 he worked as a wood carver and draughtsman in furniture manufactories in Munich, Berlin and Karlsruhe. In the evenings he took classes at the arts and crafts school. Between 1892 and 1897 he taught technical draughtsmanship at the Industry- and Trade Museum in St. Gallen. He travelled to Milan, Vienna and Munich and through his many hiking tours developed a fascination with mountain scenery. Nolde designed postcards with caricatures of personified mountains which became such a commercial success that he cut short his apprenticeship and moved to Munich in 1898 to work as a painter. Although he was not allowed into the Academy he did study privately and went to Paris for one term to enroll at the Akadémie Julian. In 1901 he settled in Copenhagen. Here he met Ada Vilstrup whom he married in 1902. On the occasion of his marriage he changed his name to that of his birthplace, Nolde. He moved to the island of Alsen in 1903, but spent the winter months in Berlin where he rented a studio.

Through an exhibition in Dresden in 1906 the artists of the “Brücke” became aware of his work and invited him to join their association. For two years Nolde took part in the group’s touring exhibition projects and in 1907 he spent several weeks in Dresden. But at the end of the year he left the group – the differences in age and temperament were too substantial for the loner Nolde. In Berlin he painted the nightlife of the metropole and studied the art of indigenous peoples in the Völkerkundemuseum. In 1913/14, fulfilling one of his dreams, he and his wife accompanied a medical expedition to the South Pacific via Russia and China. A great number of watercolours was the product of this journey. In 1927 the Noldes moved to Seebüll where Nolde desinged and buildt a house and studio for himself. From 1931 on he worked on his autobiography.

For Nolde the Third Reich brought defamation. His paintings were confiscated from the museums and his work was a special focus of the exhibition “Entartete Kunst” (“Degenerate Art”). From 1941 on he was prohibited from painting at all. Secretly he paint small scale watercolours which he called “unpainted pictures”. After the war, between his eightyth and eightyfith birthday he gained various honorations and awards. 

Nolde died at Seebüll in 1956 and was buried next to Ada in the garden of the Seebüll estate. 


Maurice Denis (1870-1943)


oil on cardboard 36.5 x 49.7

Even today Maurice Denis’ (1870-1943) place in the history of art remains unspecified. Known as the “Nabi of the beautiful icons”, he is celebrated alongside Vuillard and Bonnard as one of the most important Nabi painters, a founder of the movement and its brilliant theoretician.

“Remember that a painting – before being a battle horse, a nude woman, or an anecdote of some sort – is essentially a flat surface covered with colours, put together in a certain order”

In 1893, he married Marthe Meurier, who was to become his muse and give him seven children. The family later moved to Le Prieuré, a historic mansion in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, which in 1980, became the Musée Maurice Denis as the result of a family gift. Between 1895 and 1898, Denis spent time in Brittany and Italy, and his love of Italian Renaissance art and the classical tradition is evident in his work. He first became known as a member of the group called the Nabis, the “prophets” of modern art.  

At the dawn of the twentieth century, his painting was increasingly marked by his spiritual and religious quests. He created large-scale murals and helped to found the Ateliers d’art sacré. His output as a theoretician and historian of art continued, and his written work was published in 1922 under the title Nouvelles théories sur l’art moderne, sur l’art sacré. 

Maurice Denis died in 1943. The diary he had kept since his teens was published in 1957