paintings-of-women

10

Someone in the notes of the last Leyendecker post I reblogged mentioned having difficulty telling his work and Rockwell’s apart, and I know from experience that many people get them confused, which is somewhat astonishing as, to my eyes, their styles are very distinct. Leyendecker was Rockwell’s idol and mentor, but they were very different people and were interested in portraying different aspects of humanity, even when the basic subject matter was the same.

Surface-level, here are some differences:

  • Leyendecker smoothed out faults and imperfections (in the young. he stylized them in the old); Rockwell exaggerated them to mild or moderate caricature
  • Leyendecker approached his paintings as sculpture- even the merest clothing folds are carved out of the paint; Rockwell approached his paintings as drawings- the underlying contour always shines through.
  • Leyendecker used broad hatching brushstrokes and areas of smooth shine; Rockwell used more naturalistic texture and lighting
  • Leyendecker created idolized, larger-than-life figures that feel Hellenistic in their perfection; Rockwell created intimate scenes populated by figures that feel familiar in their specificity
  • Leyendecker’s best and most comfortable work was as a fashion/lifestyle illustrator; Rockwell’s best and most comfortable work was as an editorial/humor illustrator 
  • Leyendecker created beautiful still lives with his figures; Rockwell told compelling stories
  • Leyendecker often created erotic tension in his paintings; Rockwell almost never did.

See below: Two paintings of soldiers with women, but in Rockwell’s there is a clear punchline, and while the poses are contrived for the sake of composition, they’re not self-conscious. The women are pretty- as demanded by the central joke- but not truly sexualized anywhere but in the mind of the young soldier who is being overloaded with cake and attention. 

Contrast Leyendecker’s soldiers with a young nurse. Everyone in this image is posing attractively- no one has their mouth full or ears sticking out. Each crease and fold is sharp and sculptural, and the light picks out their best features- in particular the shoulders and posterior of the soldier facing away from the viewer. There is neither joke nor story, merely a group of beautiful young people, portrayed with deft brushwork and graceful lines. (and check out that hatching! That’s indicator #1 that you’ve got a Leyendecker image)

Leyendecker was very comfortable with “hot young things wearing clothes”, and did them very VERY well, but his facility with idealization came at the cost of personalization, which was fine for fashion illustration, but shows in his domestic scenes: 

Beautiful, but… cold. (Also, that hand on the left- who holds a baby with their hand like that??? Good lord, J.C.) Compare a Rockwell illustration (for a baby food brand, I believe) of a mother and baby: this is clearly a real and individual young mother and baby, interacting exactly how parents and babies really interact.

Even when they did basically the same content, and putting aside posing or composition or anything other than objective visual analysis, it’s still obvious who is who:

  • Red: NR’s smoother rendering vs JCL’s super cool hatching
  • Green: NR’s naturalistic cloth folds vs JCL’s sculptural stylization
  • Blue: NR’s natural lighting vs JCL’s world where everything is shiny

Now go forth, confident in the knowledge that you’ll never confuse a Rockwell or a Leyendecker ever again, and can refute any claim that their styles are ‘virtually identical’. 

8

Just a heads-up: One of the most eagerly awaited Disney history books of 2017, Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation by Mindy Johnson, is now available for pre-order!

Publisher’s description:  Established in October 1923, the Ink & Paint Department set up shop at the first Disney Studios on Kingswell Avenue in Los Angeles before moving to the Disney Hyperion Studio, and finally to the Burbank Studios in 1940. At the height of production, the staff was comprised primarily of women, numbering more than 250 artists and technicians.

In this glossy volume, featuring never-before-seen photos, artwork, and detailed accounts, the process, techniques, and contributions of the women-and men-who defined the Walt Disney Studio’s legendary Ink & Paint Department over the years, are carefully explored, preserved, and shared for future generations.

The Signs as Karl Bang Paintings

“Karl was free to paint his one heart’s passion - beautiful women, goddesses, and the feminine archetype - from various races and cultures. […] For Karl, painting women goes much deeper than their outer beauty. He sees women as epitomizing the gentler instincts of humankind - nurturing, gentility, truth, and inner strength.”

♡ Aries: Title unknown, 1997

♡ Taurus: “Autumn mistress”, 1993

♡ Gemini: Title unknown, year unknown

♡ Cancer: “A mother’s love”, 1994

♡ Leo: “Lioness”, 1996

♡ Virgo: Title unknown, year unknown

♡ Libra: “Parade”, 1997

♡ Scorpio: “Huntress”, 1997

♡ Sagittarius: “Kindred Spirits”, year unknown

♡ Capricorn: “Queen’s Ransom”, 1997

♡ Aquarius: Title unknown, year unknown

♡ Pisces: “Mermaid”, 1997

washingtonpost.com
Report: Black women are working hard but ‘our country is not working for them’
Economic and social progress for black women continues, but it is constrained by challenges.
By https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=678837008

A new report about the nation’s black women paints a familiar portrait of a group that is working hard on many levels to achieve the American Dream but is still falling short.

Black women vote at high rates, have made significant improvement in earning college degrees and are succeeding in opening their own businesses, according to “The Status of Black Women in the United States.” Yet they continue to be underrepresented in elected office, earn less than white men and women and are twice as likely as white women to be incarcerated, the report says.

Read more here.