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Series of Regattas: Sailboat at Argenteuil
In the series of Regattas, painted from his boat, slight stylistic differences are discernible from picture to picture. These reveal a rather subtle line of evolution, but a significant one.
Sailboat at Argenteuil (Bravington Collection), tacking with all sails set across the Seine, represents the next step after Pleasure Boats (May Collection). It is handled like the latter, with the paint swept on broadly in thin coats, but the strokes of the brush are no longer quite so separate and distinct as they are in Pleasure Boats; instead of being juxtaposed and contrasting with each other, planes tend to fuse and intermingle. Regatta in Fine Weather (Caillebotte Collection, Louvre) marks a further stage.
Reflections on the water are no longer rendered in molten dabs of color, but in straight, horizontal, distinctly separate brushstrokes. These strokes, however, are larger than those in Regatta in Gray Weather (Camondo Collection, Louvre). Here, in order to render choppy water ruffled by the wind, Monet dabbed on his paints in small, flickering touches that convey an effect of movement and agitation, and though motivated by circumstances (i.e. the state of the weather) they nevertheless mark a further step in his increasing concern with effects of atmospheric vibration.
In each of these pictures he never failed to adapt his technique to the nature of the scene before him. Sky, water, trees, sails, houses, no two of these things are treated in the same way. The brushstroke is adjusted in every case to the visual impression, which in turn depends not only on light conditions but on the form and texture of the object or element in question.
During the summer Monet was so completely engrossed in nautical subjects that he apparently found time for only one rural landscape: Springtime (Berlin), a masterpiece of sunny airiness, painted with the utmost simplicity in flat colors. At the approach of winter his thoughts turned again to the open country and he made some snowscapes, mostly handled in thin coats of modulated color (for example, Train in the Snow, Musée Marmottan, Paris, dated 1875), sometimes in a thick impasto, but always smoothly brushed on, without any division of color.
As a result of the severe winters of the early seventies (borne out by his snowscapes), Monet felt the pinch more than ever and, to make things worse, there seemed to be no prospect of better times ahead, for the “incomprehensible” novelty of his painting only widened the breach between him and the public. With his stout physique Monet could bear the hardships of cold and hunger, but his wife’s frail health was permanently injured. His painter friends were Monet’s only resource, but the whole group was faring badly.
The Assassination of John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time (18:30 UTC) on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was fatally shot while traveling with his wife Jacqueline, Texas governor John Connally, and the latter’s wife, Nellie, in a Presidential motorcade.
The ten-month investigation by the Warren Commission, 1963–1964, concluded that the President was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone and that Jack Ruby acted alone when he killed Oswald before he could stand trial. These conclusions were initially supported by the American public; however, polls conducted from 1966 to 2004 found that as many as 80 percent of Americans have suspected that there was a plot or cover-up.
Contrary to the Warren Commission, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in 1979 concluded that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The HSCA found both the original FBI investigation and the Warren Commission Report to be seriously flawed. While agreeing with the Commission that Oswald fired all the shots which caused the wounds to Kennedy and Governor Connally, it stated that there were at least four shots fired and that there was a “high probability” that two gunmen fired at the President. No gunmen or groups involved in the conspiracy were identified by the committee, but the CIA, Soviet Union, organized crime and several other groups were said to be not involved, based on available evidence. The assassination is still the subject of widespread debate and has spawned numerous conspiracy theories and alternative scenarios.
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The solid, serious business men of Rembrandt’s Holland, enjoying the fruits of a vast commercial expansion, lived in a world of things that could be touched, and bought and sold. When they had acquired a position in life which commanded the respect of the community, they wished, as all men do, to have a permanent record of their success. If they had no special prominence they thought in terms of their participation in some social or business group.
On the whole their mentality was not unlike that of a Chamber of Commerce today in a small American city. Dutch society in the seventeenth century was well integrated; men’s common interests brought them together in trade associations and fraternal orders. And frequently, after a new election of officers, they commissioned a group portrait, to be placed on the walls of a clubhouse or in the offices of a trade association.
Thus it was that the five syndics of the Amsterdam drapers’ guild came to Rembrandt to be painted. Rembrandt was flourishing then; he was fashionable; to be painted by him was an expression of personal substance and social importance.
These patrons were satisfied with the painting; they were pleased to see themselves pictured with so much dignity and seriousness in their daily job of work. This is no doubt what they wanted in the picture and what they sought when they posed themselves the way they did and assumed an expression of dead seriousness and intense preoccupation with their small world of commerce.
Boston, MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS: “Portrait of Mlle. de BourbonConti.”
Buffalo, CLIFTON COLLECTION: “Portrait of Mlle. de la Borde.”
Cincinnati, MUSEUM ASSOCIATION: “Portrait of Mme. Thérèse de la Martinière.”
Cleveland, SEVERANCE COLLECTION: “Mme. Henriette de France as Diana.”
Haverford, MUCKLÉ COLLECTION: “Portrait of Henriette de Bourbon.”
London, WALLACE COLLECTION: “Portrait of the Countess of Tillières.”
New York, FRICK COLLECTION: “Portrait of a Lady.”
New York, METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART: “Portrait of the Vicomtesse de Polignac,” “The Princess of Condé as Diana.”
Stockholm, GALLERY: “The Duchess of Orleans as Hebe.”
Versailles, PALACE: “Portrait of Marie Leczinska,” “Portrait of Madame Sophie.”
Berlin, PALACE: “Fête Champêtre,” “Departure for the Island of Cythera.”
Boston, MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS: “La Perspective.”
Chicago, EPSTEIN COLLECTION: “Portrait of Jean Francois Pater.”
Cleveland, PRENTISS COLLECTION: “The Village Bride.”
Edinburgh, NATIONAL GALLERY OF SCOTLAND: “Fête Champêtre.”
London, WALLACE COLLECTION: “Return from Hunting.”
New York, METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART: “Le Mezzetin.”
New York, PRIVATE COLLECTIONS: Several examples.
Paris, LOUVRE: “Gilles,” “Jupiter and Antiope.”
Philadelphia, WIDENER COLLECTION: “Woman Asleep.”
Potsdam, MUSEUM: “L’Amour Paisible,” “L’Enseigne de Gersaint.”