So the pandemic seems to be having an effect on my taste buds. Never one for desserts (unless it is ice cream or pecan pie), I find myself eying the local bakery shelves more carefully these days. And thinking of some lucious looking art -like these galettes Claude Monet has captured with golden perfection.
|Claude Monet, Les Galettes, 1882, 25.5" x 31.8", o/c
|Monet in his yellow Giverny dining room with some of his extensive collection of Japanese prints on the walls
|Raphaelle Peale, Still Life with Cake, 1818, o/c, 10.7" x 15.2" (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
The first really distinguished still life specialist to emerge in this country, Peale struggled with lifelong melancholy. Even his tightly grouped, spare, softly lit paintings are delicately permeated with it. Like his siblings (almost all of whom were named after famous artists or scientists), Raphaelle was trained as an artist by his artist/inventor/scientist/naturalist/and more father, Charles Willson Peale. By his early 30's he had begun suffering from the effects of arsenic and mercury poisoning brought on by working as a taxidermist in his father's museum. In deterioriating health and frequently hospitalized after that, he died in his early 50's. The paintings he left behind are exquisite. Of all the many masterpieces in his exceptional collection, the painting John D. Rockefeller, 3rd. kept close at his desk was Raphaelle Peale's Blackberries.
|Blackberries, ca.1813, o/c, 7 1/4" x 10 1/4" (De Young Museum, San Francisco)
Or, Maybe one of these days I will decide to really dive in to those desserts I keep walking by. And maybe that day I'll be tempted to buy all the cakes because they'll all look as sumptuous as Wayne Thiebaud's astonishing artistic odes to dessert. Hopefully I'll remember they are as loaded with calories as Thiebaud's works are loaded with historic references to past techniques and artists like Morandi, Matisse (💗), Ingres (from yesterday's CIWT), Bonnard, Albers. After 60 years of daily painting (he turned 100 this year) those artists and his own "American drive' have inspired him to keep exploring the perfect formal recipe for painting a dessert in a way that it has never been painted before.
|Wayne Thiebaud, Cakes, 1963, o/c, 5' x 6'