Pierre Bonnard – Siesta (1900)

Of all the themes that an artist might tackle, sleep has always been one of my favorites. It’s highly versatile, as it can allude to deep, physical contentment, sexuality, escapism or the mystery of the subconscious. For me, it’s always been more about its physicality, the rejuvenating pleasure one might derive from it and the…

Suzanne Valadon – Family Portrait (1912)

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”, is how Leo Tolstoy starts his 1878 novel Anna Karenina about a married Russian countess who is shunned by society after she falls in love with another man. In his masterpiece, Tolstoy poignantly shows the hypocrisy and discrepancy between how unfaithful…

Francis Picabia – Idyll (1927)

A playboy that loved women, luxury and fast cars, French artist Francis Picabia was as non-committal in his art as in his personal life. Although he is best known as one of the leading figures of the Dada movement, he was not afraid to experiment or take himself and his art too seriously. Idyll is…

Félix Vallotton – The Lie (1897)

Sometimes a painting’s title is a spark of genius, an integral part of the work itself. The artist may use it to shine a light on the meaning of their piece, throwing us a lifeline without which we may have remained ignorant of the art’s full significance. Without its title, The Lie would look like…

Edgar Degas – The Ballet Class (1871 – 1874)

Compared to the other Impressionists, Edgar Degas was more of a traditionalist. The Frenchman didn’t paint en plein air, his color palette was subdued for much of his career and his spontaneity was painstakingly rehearsed. With a fascination for human anatomy reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci, he would do countless studies for one single painting….

Camille Claudel – The Abandonment (1905)

“Have pity, cruel girl, I can’t go on, I can’t spend another day without seeing you. Otherwise the atrocious madness. It is over, I don’t work anymore, malevolent goddess, and yet I love furiously. My Camille be assured that I feel love for no other woman, and that my soul belongs to you. … Ah!…