Max Kurzweil – Lady in Yellow Dress (1899)

Max Kurzweil was miserable. The Austrian artist had spent his life vacillating between passion and depression, excess and withdrawal. Like Gustave Caillebotte he was stuck between the conservatism of his bourgeois upbringing and the changing tides in art. But Kurzweil couldn’t feel too sorry for himself, for his playground was bohemian Vienna at the turn…

Caspar David Friedrich – The Monk by the Sea (1808 – 1810)

“I am not so weak as to submit to the demands of the age when they go against my convictions,” a defiant Caspar David Friedrich declared as his art and the Romantic ideals of the early nineteenth century were falling out of favor towards the end of his life. “I spin a cocoon around myself;…

Gyula Benczúr – Narcissus (1881)

We all know the story by now. Narcissus, a beautiful youth, sees his reflection in a pond and falls in love with his image. Yearning to touch the handsome face staring back at him, but realizing that he cannot, Narcissus pines away and dies. After death, in his place sprouts a flower bearing his name….

Finding Roots. Irma Stern’s Zanzibar Paintings (1939 – 1945)

Two men share a cup of coffee together in close intimacy. Ochre turbans regaled with purple ribbons are wrapped around their heads suggesting faraway lands and stories yet untold brewing under the blanket of shared physical space. There’s a cheekiness to the moment, captured in the wink of the man to the left. There’s a…

Mary Cassatt – In the Loge (1878)

When Countess Olenska appeared in the box of one of New York’s oldest aristocratic families one January night in the 1870s, a wave of indignation reverberated throughout the seats of the new Opera House. You’d think the fine gentlemen and ladies of New York would have been more enthralled with the Faustian tragedy being played…

Félix Vallotton – The Bath. Summer Evening (1892-1893)

Vallotton intended ‘The Bath. Summer Evening’ to be a satire of the bourgeoisie idling its days away around a modern day fountain of youth. But behind the thin veil of irony we get a refreshing glimpse of truth — the female body presented in its diverse, non-idealized forms, with all its idiosyncrasies.