The Artist's Window

The Artist's Window

The Goldfish Window, 1916, Childe Hassam
The Goldfish Window          1916          Childe Hassam

   Combining a passion for painting interior spaces, still life set-ups and the landscape can lead to some fascinating glimpses into artists’ studios, living spaces and views. We have had the opportunity to interview several contemporary artists known for their paintings which give us an eye into their lives. James Borger is one of these. His whimsical still life creations are often placed in front of windows showing the serene Flint Hills landscape of Kansas. He calls these paintings, "Stillscapes".

The Reckoning, © James Borger
The Reckoning          Acrylic          © James Borger

   Intrigued with these and other artists’ works combining the outdoor and indoor landscapes, we explored some historic examples. Here are a few of our favorites:

Pierre Bonnard

The Window, 1925, PIerre Bonnard
The Window          1925          Pierre Bonnard

The Open Window, 1921, Pierre Bonnard
The Open Window          1921          Pierre Bonnard

   Pierre Bonnard (1867 - 1947) wrote, "Our generation always was searching for connections between art and life." Bonnard painted his life in France with intense color and detailed compositions. He is considered one of the foremost painters in the transition of art from Impressionism to Modernism. He is referred to as an "Intimist" because of his depicition of intimate scenes from his life. 

Mary Cassatt

Reine Lefebre and Margot Before a Window, 1902, Mary Cassatt
Reine Lefebre and Margot Before a Window     1902     Mary Cassatt

   Mary Cassatt (1844 - 1926) is perhaps best known for interior paintings of family and friends, incorporating intimate moments of everyday life. Although from Pennsylvania, Cassatt spent much of her adult life in France and was called  one of "les trois grandes dames" (the three great ladies) of Impressionism by Gustave Geffroy. See "Les Trois Grandes Dames".

Marc Chagall

Window Vitebsk, 1908, Marc Chagall
Window Vitebsk          1908          Marc Chagall

   Russian-French artist Marc Chagall (1887 - 1985) worked in multiple mediums and is best remembered as an avant-garde Modernist and a forerunner of the Surrealist movement. His work includes designing stage sets, tapestries and stained glass. See "Painting with Glass". His home town of Vitebsk, Belarus (part of the Russian empire) was obliterated during World War II. Only 118 of its population of 240,000 survived. At the time, Chagall and his wife and daughter were living in occupied France. It was only with the help of Alfred Barr (the New York Museum of Modern Art) that he was able to escape to the United States. His name was added to a list of other prominent artists whose lives were at great risk and successful efforts were taken to bring him to safety in the U.S.

Lovis Corinth

Woman in a Deck Chair by the Window, 1913, Lovis Corinth
Woman in a Deck Chair by the Window     1913     Lovis Corinth

   As were Chagall's, Lovis Corinth's (1858 - 1925) paintings were condemned by the Nazis as "degenerate art". 295 of his works were removed from public collections of German Museums to be shown in the Degenerate Art Exhibition of 1937. His naturalistic style became more expressionistic after he suffered a stroke in 1911. Corinth was born in Prussia, studied in Munich and Paris and died in the Netherlands at the age of 66.

Salvador Dali

Still Life by a Window, 1920, Salvador Dali
Still Life by a Window          1920          Salvador Dali

   Spaniard Salvador Dali (1904 - 1989) is perhaps remembered as much for his eccentric and ostentatious behavior as for his works of art. His surrealist paintings, created with great technical skill, often used bizarre symbols to explore subconscious imagery. Dali also designed theater sets, jewelry and fashion and worked extensively in the graphic arts.

Paul Gauguin

Still Life Vase with Flowers on the Window, 1881, Paul Gauguin
Still Life Vase with Flowers on the Window     1861     Paul Gauguin

   Paul Gauguin's work (1848 - 1903) was a strong influence on the avant-garde artists who followed him, including Matisse and Picasso. He is considered a Post Impressionist, Symbolist and Primitivist. Gauguin spent the last ten years of his life living and painting in French Polynesia.

Konstantin Gorbatov

The Open Window, 1931, Konstantin Gorbatov
The Open Window          1931          Konstantin Gorbatov

Still Life by the Window, 1930, Konstantin Gorbatov
Still Life by the Window          1930          Konstantin Gorbatov

   Post-Impressionist artist Gorbatov (1876 - 1945) left his native Russia permanently in 1922, spending time in Italy and settling in Munich. Later, in Nazi Germany, his work was not appreciated and he was forbidden to leave the country because of his Russian nationality. He died shortly after the Allies claimed victory over Germany.

Childe Hassam

The Goldfish Window, 1916, Childe Hassam
The Goldfish Window          1916          Childe Hassam

   Childe Hassam (1859 - 1935) is considered a pioneer of American Impressionism. Primarily self-taught, he began his career as an illustrator working in watercolor. Hassam created a series of window paintings from 1916 to the early 1920s. See:  The Origins of Impressionism in America.

Carl Holsøe

Open Window, Carl Holsoe
Open Window                    Carl Holsøe

   Although Danish artist Carl Holsøe (1863 - 1935) painted still life paintings and landscapes, he is primarily known for his images of domestic interiors. He studied in Denmark and Italy and won multiple awards in Copenhagen and Munich.

Winslow Homer

At the Window, 1872, Winslow Homer
At the Window          1872          Winslow Homer

   American artist Winslow Homer (1836 - 1910) began his career as a commercial illustrator. He worked as a war illustrator during the Civil War for Harper's Weekly. Homer painted the landscape and the seascape in both oil and watercolor. He spent time painting in France and England, but always returned to his native northeast coast.

Pyotr Konchalovsky

Balaklava - The Window, 1929, Pyotr Konshalovsky
Balaklava - The Window          1929          Pyotr Konchalovsky

   Pyotr Konchalovsky (1976 - 1956) studied in Moscow, Paris and St. Petersburg. He was heavily influenced by the work of Cezanne and was a founding member of the Jack of Diamonds, a group of avant-garde artists in Moscow. Konshalovsky was a prolific artist and is thought to have painted more than 5,000 paintings in his lifetime.

Konstantin Korovin

Black Cat on a Windowsill, 1902, Konstantin Korovin
Black Cat on a Windowsill          1902          Konstantin Korovin

   Konstantin Korovin (1861 - 1939) was a Russian stage designer and artist. He worked as a camouflage consultant during World War I for the Russian army. In 1923, Korovin moved to Paris, where a large exhibition of his work was planned. However, the work was stolen, and he was left in a precarious financial position. Later in his life, Korovin designed sets for many of the major theaters of Europe, America, Asia and Australia.

Carl Larsson

Flowers on the Windowsill, 1894, Carl Larsson
Flowers on the Windowsill          1894          Carl Larsson

   Carl Larsson (1853 - 1919) was a Swedish artist and illustrator who is known for portraying the idyllic life of his large family. Larsson worked in watercolor, oil and frescoes.

Henri Martin

Vase of Flowers in a Window, Henri Martin
Vase of Flowers in a Window               Henri Martin

   Henri Martin (1860 - 1943) was recognized by the French Salon and studied in both France and Italy. In 1900, at the World Fair, he received the Grand Prize for his work. Martin bought and lived in a mansion near Cahors overlooking La Bastide du Vert.

Henri Matisse

Flowers in Front of a Window, 1922, Henri Matisse
Flowers in Front of a Window     1922     Henri Matisse

Open Window at Collioure, 1910, Henri Matisse
Open Window at Collioure     1910     Henri Matisse

   Pablo Picasso wrote, "In the end, there is only Matisse."Henri Matisse (1869 - 1954) Matisse was a hugely influential figure in the evolution of modern art. He lived and worked in Paris until 1917 when he moved to the south of France and settled just outside of Nice.

Edvard Munch

By the Window, 1940, Edvard Munch
By the Window          1940          Edvard Munch

   Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863 - 1944) may be best remembered for his iconic painting, "The Scream". Munch studied in France and Germany. Throughout his difficult life, he experimented in style within his art and wrote of his work, "My art is really a voluntary confession and an attempt to explain to myself my relationship with life—it is, therefore, actually a sort of egoism, but I am constantly hoping that through this I can help others achieve clarity." 

Christopher R. W. Nevinson

From a Venetian Window, 1934, Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson
From a Venetian Window          1934          Christopher R. W. Nevinson

   Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson (1889 - 1946) received recognition for his powerful war paintings during World War I, using symbolist and futurist styles. However, this more peaceful image shows the view from a bedroom window on the Giudecca, an island in the Venetian lagoon.

Guy Rose

From the Dining Room Window, 1910, Guy Rose
From the Dining Room Window     1910     Guy Rose

   Guy Rose (1867 - 1925) was born in southern California. Throughout his life he suffered the effects of lead poisoning after being accidentally shot in the face during a hunting trip as a child. His recuperation marked the beginning of his interest in sketching and painting. Rose studied in Paris, returning to America to work as an illustrator in New York. He went back to France in 1899 with his wife, purchasing a home in Giverny. In 1914 Rose and his wife returned again to live in California. Read more about The Other Artists of Giverny.

John Singer Sargent

View from a Window, Genoa, 1911, John Singer Sargent
View from a Window, Genoa          1911          John Singer Sargent

   Although well-known for his portraiture, American artist John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925) traveled the world painting the landscape in both watercolor and oil. Sargent's technical proficiency was and is renowned. It is estimated that he completed over 900 oil paintings and 2,000 watercolors in his lifetime. Sargent was born in Italy to American parents and spent most of his life in Europe.

Vincent van Gogh

Window of Vincent's Studio at the Asylum, 1889, Vincent van Gogh
Window of Vincent's Studio at the Asylum    1889     Vincent van Gogh

   Some of Van Gogh's (1853 - 1890) most famous paintings were created during his time spent at the asylum in St. Rémy, France. Today his room there has been preserved and is open to visitors.

Konstantin Yuon

Window to Nature, Ligachevo, May, 1928, Konstantin Yuon
Window to Nature, Ligachevo - May, 1928           Konstantin Yuon

   Konstantin Yuon (1875 - 1958) was a well-known Russian artist and theater designer. Yuon opened the first private painting school in Moscow in 1900. He was the First Secretary of the Union of Soviet Artists in the 1950s and won the Stalin Prize and the Order of Lenin, having incorporated social realism into his work later in his career.



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