Artwork of the Week

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Aug. 19 Art Minute: Jules Breton, ‘The Shepherd’s Star’

Posted on Friday, August 19th, 2016

Barefoot and carrying a heavy sack of potatoes on her head, a young peasant woman returns from the fields in the early evening as Capella, the “shepherd’s star,” rises over her shoulder. Although the model was an actual agricultural worker from the artist’s native village in the Artois region of northern France, Jules Breton gives […]

Aug. 12 Art Minute: Jean Schlumberger, ‘Seabird Clip’

Posted on Friday, August 12th, 2016

The mid-twentieth century was the era of the artist-jeweler, who responded to a growing international affluent clientele with an increased desire for individual expression. The venerable firm of Tiffany & Co. in New York could not ignore the changes taking place in jewelry and metalwork design, both in the United States and abroad. In response, […]

Aug. 5 Art Minute: Winslow Homer, ‘Sunlight on the Coast’

Posted on Friday, August 5th, 2016

The subject of Sunlight on the Coast is the never-ending battle between the sea and the shore, captured under specific conditions of light and weather. The painting’s simplified composition, strong linear rhythms, earth-toned harmonies, and broadly textured brushwork determine its particular mood. A heavy blue-green wave rolls in and breaks over a shelf of brown rocks, spewing […]

July 29 Art Minute: Elizabeth Catlett, ‘Head of a Young Woman’

Posted on Friday, July 29th, 2016

Created the year Elizabeth Catlett moved to Mexico City, where she spent most of her career, Head of a Young Woman elegantly expresses Catlett’s abiding interest in representing the figure in a straightforward, powerful manner. In 1940 Catlett, who studied to be an artist with sculptor Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967) and painter Grant Wood (1892-1942), earned the […]

July 22 Art Minute: George Tooker, “Meadow I”

Posted on Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Though best known for anxiety–filled images of modern city dwellers seemingly trapped in office cubicle boxes or subway station mazes, George Tooker’s Meadow I has a rural setting and a timeless quality. Painted as a memorial to his mother, the painting is suffused with melancholy. The reclining (dead?) woman resembles Renaissance paintings of the Madonna collapsed in […]

July 15 Art Minute: Martin Johnson Heade, “Hazy Day on the Marshes, New Jersey”

Posted on Friday, July 15th, 2016

The meandering tidal streams, flat landscape, and conical haystacks of the salt marshes of the northeast became the primary subject of Martin Johnson Heade’s paintings from 1859 on. Here he captures the change in light and atmosphere as the sun breaks through heavy haze to spotlight one of the haystacks. Though no humans are present, […]

July 8 Art Minute: Claude Monet, “Water Lilies”

Posted on Friday, July 8th, 2016

Claude Monet’s paintings of his water garden at Giverny were a culmination of his desire to capture the temporary effects of nature. “These landscapes of water and reflections have become an obsession,” wrote Monet in 1908. By 1914, Monet’s obsession had developed into a project for a circular installation of large-scale water lily paintings, conceived […]

July 1 Art Minute: Chuck Close, “Alex”

Posted on Friday, July 1st, 2016

Inspiring first awe and then intimate scrutiny, Chuck Close’s large-scale portraits draw attention to process as well as image. Working from photographs, Close imposes a grid—which is left visible—to enlarge and transfer the image onto canvas. Viewed from a distance, the thousands of small painted squares optically blend into an illusionistic portrait, but separate into […]

June 24 Art Minute: Greek, “Diadem”

Posted on Friday, June 24th, 2016

Both Greek men and women wore jewelry, but the greatest variety was made for women. The most costly and elaborate objects were diadems and wreaths to adorn the head. Gold had been scarce in Greece until the conquests of Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE) supplied the riches of the Persian Empire. Thanks to aristocratic patrons […]

June 17 Art Minute: Jaume Plensa, “Spiegel”

Posted on Friday, June 17th, 2016

German for “mirror” or “looking glass,” Spiegel shows two identical giants, hugging their knees and facing one another, though they are technically faceless. They are nearly bodiless as well: the figures are hollow screens given shape by a painted steel latticework of letters from the Latin alphabet interspersed with Greek letters and Chinese characters. The […]