Paintings of 1922: Figurative and portraits

Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), Blonde in a Blue Vest (1922), oil on canvas, 55.9 x 39.1 cm, Private collection. The Athenaeum.

In the first of these four articles looking back at paintings completed a century ago in 1922, I looked at narrative works. Today I turn to other figurative paintings and portraits.

Édouard Vuillard (1868–1940), La Salle Clarac (1922), oil with distemper on canvas, 98.1 x 115.9 cm, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH. Wikimedia Commons.

Édouard Vuillard’s La Salle Clarac is one of four works showing the interior of the Musée du Louvre, commissioned for a private collection in Switzerland. Painted from an unusual angle at about waist height, it looks up at a case of pottery and sculpture, and the held gaze of the visitors.

Henry Scott Tuke (1858–1929), Baiting a Spiller (1922), watercolor, 20 × 27.5 cm, location not known. Wikimedia Commons.

Henry Scott Tuke’s watercolour of Baiting a Spiller from 1922 shows a fisherman baiting a long fishing line with multiple hooks (a spiller, in Cornish dialect), on a beach near Swanpool, Falmouth, Cornwall. This was shown, together with another painting of his depicting fishing, at the winter exhibition of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1922. Owing to a misprint on the label of this painting, it’s sometimes known as Bailing a Spiller, which as far as I can tell makes no sense, even in Cornish dialect.

Georg Janny (1864–1935), Sirens Bathing by the Sea (1922), gouache on cardboard, further details not known. Wikimedia Commons.

The twentieth century saw the development of fantasy art as a genre in its own right. One of its pioneers was the Austrian former scenery painter Georg Janny, whose Sirens Bathing by the Sea reflects his early career. Even the seabirds here appear to be from another world.

Albin Egger-Lienz (1868–1926), War Women (1918-22), oil on canvas, 124 x 247 cm, Museum Schloss Bruck, Lienz, Austria. Wikimedia Commons.

Albin Egger-Lienz was one of the few war artists to draw attention to the wives and mothers who had to work on in the countryside during and after the war. His War Women (1918-22) is particularly moving, showing a group of women who had, like so many, lost their menfolk, either to the carnage of the battlefield, or in the ensuing influenza pandemic. He also appears to have been influenced here by Cubism, with a planked floor which seems to be anything other than flat, and variable perspective projection across the painting.

Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), Blonde in a Blue Vest (1922), oil on canvas, 55.9 x 39.1 cm, Private collection. The Athenaeum.

Pierre Bonnard’s Blond in a Blue Vest appears to be a portrait of his lover Renée Monchaty looking at a painting or print. Three years later he married his long-term partner Marthe, and Monchaty committed suicide.

Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), Nude at the Window (c 1922), oil on canvas, 76.4 x 44 cm, Private collection. The Athenaeum.

It was probably Marthe who modelled for Nude at the Window, in which Bonnard uses the diagonal light coming from that window to outline her form, as she dries herself or oils her skin after one of her many therapeutic baths.

Aksel Waldemar Johannessen (1880–1922), Streetboy (1918-22), oil on canvas, 107 × 114.5 cm, Private collection. Wikimedia Commons.

The Norwegian artist Aksel Waldemar Johannessen’s Streetboy from 1918-22 shows a barefoot and homeless boy asleep on some packing cases in the docks.

Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret (1852–1929), Old Julie, from Quincey (1922), oil on canvas, dimensions not known, Musée Georges-Garret, Vesoul, France. Wikimedia Commons.

When the Naturalist Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret turned seventy in 1922, he painted this wonderful portrait of Old Julie, from Quincey, in the Franche-Comté where the artist lived.

Laurits Andersen Ring (1854–1933), At the Old House (1919-22), oil on canvas, 81 x 102 cm, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Sweden. Wikimedia Commons.

In Denmark, Laurits Andersen Ring worked on this full-length winter portrait At the Old House over a long period, starting it in 1919 and not completing until 1922.

Ants Laikmaa (1866–1942), Selma (1922), pastel on paper, 82 x 55.5 cm, Private collection. Image courtesy of Enn Kunila, via Wikimedia Commons.

As the Estonian nation developed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Ants Laikmaa documented its people in pastel portraits such as this of Selma.

Edmond Aman-Jean (1858–1936), Portrait of a Japanese Woman (Mrs. Kuroki) (1922), oil on canvas, 185 x 62 cm, National Museum of Western Art 国立西洋美術館 (Kokuritsu seiyō bijutsukan), Tokyo, Japan. Wikimedia Commons.

Finally, Edmond Aman-Jean’s Portrait of a Japanese Woman (Mrs. Kuroki) (1922) is a formal full-length portrait of a woman in a full traditional kimono.

In the next article, I turn to some of the many landscapes completed in 1922.