”So this is their home”, I silently exclaimed! A lot of the art in these galleries has been bequeathed to the Museums by former students. Please enjoy a fraction of this unimaginable wealth!
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Self-Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin, 1888. Oil on canvas. Dedicating this work, van Gogh inscribed it ”To my friend Paul Gauguin” and send it to him. Shortly afterwards, however, their friendship deteriorated and Gauguin sold it for three hundred francs.
Reginald Marsh (1898-1954), Astor Hotel, 1933. Mezzo-fresco (lime wash on plaster). Marsh’s Depression-era work focuses on urban landscapes and everyday life in America; his subjects include burlesque performers, unemployed workers on the Bowery and Coney Island beach scenes. He was particularly concerned with the exploitation of the nation’s millions of unemployed women and portrayed them as independent figures.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), Seated Bather, ca. 1883-84. Oil on canvas. Renoir painted this figure and her drapery differently from the landscape, so that she appears to float in the setting. He also left her right foot unresolved where it meets the fabric, signaling that his pictorial approach was no longer a purely naturalistic enterprise.
Pablo Ruiz Picasso (1881-1973), Mother and Child, ca. 1901. Oil on canvas. Following his visit to the Saint-Lazare prison hospital, an institution for Parisian prostitutes with venereal disease, Picasso produced a number of paintings of destitute mothers embracing their small children. This painting was executed on a reused canvas and another composition lies beneath this scene. That painting is a portrait of Picasso’s friend, the poet Max Jacob, who sits in his study surrounded by books. Some evidence of the image is still visible, particularly the contours of the face, which is roughly the same size as the mother’s head and is located above her knees.
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Three Pairs of Shoes, 1886-87. Oil on canvas. Made at a time when van Gogh was deeply engaged with still life, this composition is painted over another image of a large bouquet of flowers in a vase. It is one of a series of five paintings of shoes by the artist.
Pablo Ruiz Picasso (1881-1973), Woman with a Chignon, 1901. Oil on canvas. Picasso painted this portrait during his early-career ”Blue Period”, so named for the colour that predominated in his work at the time. The muted palette, blocks of interrupted colour and abstracted forms with strong outlines typify the artist’s approach at this stage, one of the most celebrated of his career.
Harvard Art Museums
May 3rd, 2017