new paintings by sherrie wolf arrived this week at the gallery. they are absolutely stunning! sherrie wolf uses the classic paintings by old masters as a backdrop for her own still life compositions. she arranges fresh fruit and flowers in the foreground, and allows the older paintings to hover behind. she meticulously interprets the master paintings in the background and whether you know art history or not they are fascinating!
i have always been a still-life painter. my images openly play with the fact that art is artifice. in recent years, i have arranged objects in front of excerpts from old master paintings. earlier in my career, while imitating 19th century american trompe l’oil and 17th century dutch still-life traditions in subject matter and formal elements of composition, i explored contrived or discovered relationships between seemingly unrelated objects. mirrors or other formal objects often reflected the contemporary clutter of my studio. light, shadow and three-dimensional spatial relationships played important roles, and i often used nontraditional perspectives, such as looking straight down on the still life arrangement. among the subject matter, there would be an open book or a card portraying an image from a historical painting. in time, these excerpts became more prominent, and eventually i filled the entire background with a quotation from an old master painting. this connected me to a history of reinterpretation and artistic borrowing prevalent among artists. my images have evolved from a love of art history and a desire to present multiple levels of expression to my viewer.
the master painting used as the backdrop is lady agnew of lochnaw by john singer sargent painted in 1892. sargent was an american painter considered to be the leading portrait painter of his time. his paintings will stop you in your tracks and are mesmerizing in person conveying beauty in every detail.
in the 1890s, he averaged fourteen portrait commissions per year, none more beautiful than the genteel Lady agnew of Lochnaw, 1892. his portrait of mrs. hugh hammersley (mrs. hugh hammersley, 1892) was equally well received for its lively depiction of one of london's most notable hostesses. as a portrait painter in the grand manner, sargent had unmatched success; he portrayed subjects who were at once ennobled and often possessed of nervous energy. sargent was referred to as "the van dyck of our times." although sargent was an american expatriate, he returned to the united states many times, often to answer the demand for commissioned portraits.
a little girl carrying flowers by sir henry raeburn was painted in 1798 and resides in the paris louvre. raeburn was a scottish portrait painter who served as the portrait painter to his majesty of scotland.
in his early twenties, he was asked to paint the portrait of a young lady whom he had previously observed and admired when he was sketching from nature in the fields. anne was the daughter of peter edgar of bridgelands, and widow of count leslie. fascinated by the handsome and intellectual young artist, she became his wife within a month, bringing him an ample fortune. the acquisition of wealth did not affect his enthusiasm or his industry, but spurred him on to acquire a thorough knowledge of his craft. it was usual for artists to visit italy, and raeburn set off with his wife. in london he was kindly received by sir joshua reynolds the president of the royal academy, who advised him on what to study in rome, especially recommending the works of michelangelo, and gave raeburn many valuable letters of introduction for italy. in rome he met his fellow scot gavin hamilton, pompeo girolamo batoni and byers, an antique dealer whose advice proved particularly useful, especially the recommendation that "he should never copy an object from memory, but, from the principal figure to the minutest accessory, have it placed before him." after two years of study in italy he returned to edinburgh in 1787, and began a successful career as a portrait painter. in that year he executed a seated portrait of the second lord presidentdundas.
obviously we adore the paintings by sherrie wolf for their combination of contemporary painting and art history but bottom line she is an amazing painter! painting at it's finest!