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…

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….

Henri Rousseau – The Sleeping Gypsy (1897)

His contemporaries called him the Customs Officer (Le Douanier), in reference to his day job as a toll collector in Paris. Mostly a self-taught artist, Henri Rousseau didn’t start painting until he was in his 40s. With his childlike naiveté and vivid imagination, the Frenchman fell right in with the Post-impressionists, having an everlasting impact…

Robert Delaunay – Rhythm, Joy of Life (1930)

Inspired by 19th century theories about the perception and psychology of color, French artist Robert Delaunay created his own art movement, called Simultanéisme. Simultaneity, in Delauney’s view, meant that color could take a form of its own, affecting the spatial dimension of a composition and the perception of movement within it.  One of his biggest…

Horace Vernet – The Arab Tale-teller (1833)

Émile Jean-Horace Vernet (1789 – 1863) was a French Romantic painter, best known for his very detailed battle scenes and noble portraits. Very early on in his career, Vernet was commissioned by the duke of Orléans, the future King Louis – Philippe, to depict important battle scenes from France’s recent history. After the duke became a…