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…

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…

Helen McNicoll – The Mother (c. 1912)

When it comes to Impressionism and motherhood there’s probably no one more famous than American artist Mary Cassatt, whose touching vignettes of the mother-child relationship blossom in unassuming poses under the guide of cool, calculated brushstrokes. Berthe Morisot too, another Impressionist, tackled motherhood with tenderness and candor, returning to the subject of her daughter, Julie,…

Thomas Cooper Gotch – The Exile (1930)

She could be anyone, so you get close to see her. The fiery monotone background does not steal away from her mystery and, in fact, recedes as your gaze fixates on her. She looks like a rag doll dressed up hastily by her child-mother and abandoned carelessly on a chair quickly afterwards, slouching under the…

Herbert James Gunn and His Mona Lisa

At thirty-one-years old Herbert James Gunn’s life was only just beginning. Sure, the Scotsman had already been married once, fathered three children, fought in World War I and wandered through the cities of Europe and the sun-drenched north of Africa, milestones which would take many of us a lifetime to achieve. But there he was…

Otto Dix – Portrait of Journalist Sylvia von Harden (1926)

If you were to travel back in time to 1920s Berlin and head into the Romanisches Café, located on the end of the fashionable Kurfürstendamm, you’d suddenly find yourself surrounded by all the great minds of that bustling period. You would meet writers like Bertolt Brecht and Erich Maria Remarque, New Objectivity artists who want…