Sunday, September 28, 2008

Maurice Utrillo - Oil Painting Authentication

Chateau de Blois
by Maurice Utrillo
b. 1883 Monmarte
quarter Paris, France

Suburban Street Scene
by Maurice Utrillo
b. 1883 Montmarte
quarter Paris, France

Marizy Sainte-Genevieve
by Maurice Utrillo
b. 1883 Montmarte
quarter Paris, France.

I received an email the other day with this question:
How can I identify a "real" Maurice Utrillo?

This is my response to the query:

The authenticity of a Maurice Utrillo oil painting, is best evaluated by a fine art appraiser. Many copy artists can successfully copy the style of great works of art. But many factors come into play such as the forensics; the age of and composition of oil paint, canvas, and signature of the artist when authenticating an original work of art; such as a Maurice Utrillo.

To detect or confirm fraudulent art, the modern expert has at his or her command, in addition to the aesthetic and critical criteria brought to bear, a wide array of scientific aids. These include standard chemical analysis; dating (of organic materials) by measuring the residual radioactivity of carbon 14; and examinations made with the use of optical instruments, X rays, and infrared red and ultraviolet light.

Maurice Utrillo is one of the most copied artists. Museums and collectors prefer authentic works - i.e. works that were produced during the artists life by the artist - authenticity is potentially a problem in every art transaction.

Since many of his Utrillo's oil paintings are out of reach for many art enthusiasts; hand painted oil reproductions remain a viable and affordable solution.

~ Art Diva of

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Frans Hals - "The Laughing Cavalier"

Frans Hals
1580 - 1666 b. Antwerp,
"The Laughing Cavalier"

"Genius lies not in having new ideas, but being
possessed by the idea that what has already
been said is not enough."

~ Eugene Delacroix

"The Laughing Cavalier" (1624) is a famous painting by the Baroque artist Frans Hals. The current title is a Victorian invention; the subject does, in fact, sport an enigmatic smile, (perhaps Hals answer to the Mona Lisa?). The composition is robust, and flamboyant all at once. The gorgeous silk costume, on close inspection reveals long, quick brushstroke technique. The fame of this painting is accredited to the artist's skill at painting the intricate lace of the costume; and that the glaring eyes eerily seem to follow the viewer from every angle. The identity of the young man is unknown, and originally was called "Portrait of a Young Man".

~ Art Diva of

Frans Hals was an extraordinary Dutch portrait painter of the 17th century. During his career, his art went through several changes as things in his life changed. He is most known for the freedom and looseness in which he painted.

Frans Hals was the son of a clothworker and a local girl, both from Mechelen. He was born in 1580. When Hals was young, they moved to Haarlem in the Netherlands where he spent the rest of his life. Hals only left Haarlem once, for a visit to Antwerp.

It is not known what happened in the first 25 to 30 years of Hals' life. In 1610, he joined the Guild of St. Luke of Haarlem, which registered artists as masters. Shortly after this, he married Annetje Harmensdochter Abeel. They had two children together but she died in 1615. Two years after that, he married Lysbeth Reyniers and had eight children with her. Out of Hals' eight sons, five of them became painters!

Hals was a student of Carel Van Mander, a painter and poet. Together, they started a painting academy in Haarlem. The best of Hals' early works is a painting called "Banquet of Officers of the Civic Guard of St. George at Haarlem". It was painted with a very free brushstroke that is unlike anything of its time. Looking at this painting can also give you a sense of the relationships between the figures. This is incredible because nobody else painted like this then. All of Hals' early works have a jovial spirit to them. Some of his most popular paintings during this time include "The Merry Company", "Peeckelhaering", "The Merry Drinker", "Malle Babbe" and "Gypsy Girl". In his paintings, he seems to have captured a moment in time.

As Hals grew older, the joviality of his paintings began to disappear. After he reached the age of forty, all of his subjects seemed to have sadness in their faces. Some of his paintings during this time are "Man with Arms Crossed", "The Laughing Cavalier", "Portrait of Isaac Abrahamszoon Massa", "Pieter van den Broecke", "Willem van Heythuyzen" and "Nicolaes Hasselaer". During the period between 1630 and 1650, Hals became very popular and painted more than 100 single portraits and six group portraits. In 1644, Hals became an officer of the Guild of St. Luke.
Frans Hals lived to be very old and as he got into his older age, his paintings really showed how he could portray the human character. After 1650, he didn't get as many commissions and was often harassed by family problems. The commissions he did get were not enough to support him financially and because of this, he had to auction off his possessions. In 1662, his right to assistance was seen and he started getting a yearly pension.

During Hals' old age, his work seemed to show that simply being a living person is enough. His themes became less vivid and less intense and much simpler. He even started painting in mostly blacks and whites. One of his most popular paintings during this time is "Governors of the Old Men's Home at Haarlem". This painting is actually two portraits, one of a group of men and another of a group of women. In these portraits he shows that life does not go on forever. Eventually everyone will die. Hals actually lived at this Old Men's Home of the painting.

Frans Hals was a one of a kind artist. He was different than anyone of his time. Because he was so unique, he did not leave behind many followers, unlike most artists. He did influence Adriaen Brouwer and Edouard Manet though. Hals died in 1666.

Michael Russell

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pieter Bruegel - "The Harvesters"

Pieter Bruegel
1525 - 1596
b. Netherlands

The Harvesters
1565, Oil on wood
Metropolitan Museum
of Art, New York

Bruegel is the most deceptive of the old masters; his work looks so simple, yet is infinitely profound. The Harvesters is one of a series of paintings representing the months. Five of the series remain, and in Vienna, you can view three of them on one long wall in the Kunsthistorisches Museum (which is lucky enough to own another eleven of Bruegel's paintings, representing nearly a third of his surviving works). Seeing the three in all of their majesty - each a world in itself - made me doubt Bruegel's wisdom in attempting a series. Each one is overwhelming, though it is easier to feel its impact than to explain it.

The Harvesters is basically, I think, a visual meditation on the near and the far. The near is the harvesters themselves - painted as only Bruegel can paint. He shows us real people: the man slumped with exhaustion, or intoxication; the hungry eaters; the men finishing off their work before their noontime break. Yet he caricatures them just slightly. He sees a woman with grain-like hair, and women walking through the fields like moving grain stacks. He smiles, but he also sighs. There is not a sentimental hair on Bruegel's paintbrush, but nobody has more compassion for the harsh life of the peasant. His faces are those of people who are almost brutalized - vacant faces with little to communicate.

He sets this "near" in the wonder of the "far": the rolling world of corn and wood, of small hills spreading in sunlit glory to the misty remoteness of the harbor. Into this distance, the peasants disappear, swallowed up. They cannot see it, but we - aloft with the artist - can see it for what it is: the beautiful world in which we are privileged to live. He makes us aware not just of space, but of spaciousness - an immensely satisfying, potential earthly paradise. No other landscape artist has treated a landscape with such intellectual subtlety, yet Bruegel states nothing. He simply stirs us into receptivity. Sister Wendy Beckett's analysis of Bruegel's "The Harvesters"

New depth, meaning and appreciation of the art
of Bruegel is discovered; each time I visit the works
of Pieter Bruegel's oil paintings.

~ Art Diva of

All About Oil Painting Reproductions

Peter Paul Ruben's
"Battle of the
A copy of
Leonardo da Vinci's
"The Battle of

Who Buys Fine Art Oil Painting Reproductions?

Serious art collectors, art enthusiast’s of all ages, art dealers, corporations, hoteliers, the government, interior decorators, home builders, restaurateurs, and just about any one would like to own a famous work of art. Fine art oil reproductions, can make your make dream of owning the painting you love come true. Beautiful oil paintings of famous-masterpieces from throughout history and from around the world, are available to discerning devotees of art at the click of a link. Fine art hand painted oil painting reproductions, are the definitive answer for art lovers everywhere who would like to own, a distinctive work of art. Now you can commission a priceless work of art as viewed and displayed in museums, or priced in the millions of dollars, at an affordable price.

Growing Public Demand of Oil Painting Reproductions Online

Beautiful fine art oil painting reproductions are an ever increasing source of e-commerce popularity for purchase on the Internet. Buying or commissioning fine art oil paintings online is safe, and convenient for you to view and order a painting, of your choice. Now you can view all genres of art, artists, history and information in the privacy of your home or office, 24/7.

Major Methods Used to Reproduce Fine Art Reproductions

Fine art reproduction isn’t a new process. It has been popular since the 18th Century. Reproductions have allowed artists to share their vision, artistic expression and communicate their ideas to a wide and diversified audience. Reproductions of famous sculpture, drawings and primarily paintings have afforded art lovers an alternative to owning an original work of art or a collection of art, otherwise not within their reach.

In the past, original works of art were created on leather, wood, canvas, stone, ivory and metal, and many of these works still survive today. Unfortunately, many works of art have not escaped the erosion of time, elements, lack of technical expertise, the proclivities of war and errant care. Reproductions were and still are in inevitable and necessary advent as they serve to ensure the longevity of an artists work.

Can A Copyists Be Considered Artists?

The Great Master Artists were Among the First to Create Art Reproductions.

Examples of Master Class Copyists, such as Michelangelo, Andrea del Sarto, Rembrandt, Rubens, Goya, Turner, Delacroix, Degas and other distinguished copyists, are but a few of the famous who are proof that copyists can indeed be artists in their own right.

Examples of Master Class copyists defined:

Andrea del Sarto’s copy of his Raphael’s portrait of Pope Julius II does not lack the quality of the original.

Rembrandt’s copy of Holbein’s drawing of an English lady, has not been made to resemble the original as closely as possible.

Ruben’s copy of his Leonardo’s Battle of Anghiari does not show an over careful halting line and soggy treatment of form.

Goya’s copy, or adoption, of Flaxman’s outline does not show lines of any less free and sure than from the work he is stealing.

Thus we may ascertain that not all copies and their attributes of reproductions are created equal even by the great master artists:

- Of the same quality as our model
- Not necessarily to resemble the original as closely as possible
- Free of halting lines and soggy forms
- Contains lines as free and sure as those set down by an artist in the freshness of creation or observation .

About Famous Artist’s Signature Palettes:

Famous artists palettes are used today for the creation of Oil Reproductions.
The same Palette of Hans Hals and Rembrandt van Rijn are used today.

The colors of Frans Hals palette were/are:
Flake white
Yellow ochre
Red ochre
Charcoal black

Rembrandt’s palette was similar with exception of the addition of
sienna’s and his umbers.

Properties of Pigments Known to be used by the Old Masters

Lead (Flake) White
Yellow Ochre an opaque pigment. It is one of the artist’s basic colors employed in every culture and civilization since prehistoric times.
Chrome Yellow basic lead chromate . Chromate pigments have a tendency to turn brown sulpher in the atmosphere, will react with other pigments and may turn green on contact with on exposure to sunlight. there has been no necessity for artists to use chrome yellow for the past 125 years.
Raw Sienna a brownish-yellow Earth Color obtained from natural clay containing iron and manganese. Raw sienna is semi opaque and has more subtlety of color than yellow w ochre in tints with white.

Red Ochre
Burnt Sienna
Vermillion (Cinnabar)
Raw Umber
Burnt Umber
Terre Verte (green Earth)
Genuine Ultramarine (Lapis Lazuli)
Ivory Black

A Rose by Any Other Name Would Still Smell as Sweet

Reputable online e-commerce websites art dealers and galleries are knowledgeable and will help with your questions. It certainly is worth your time, to explore the various websites online to get a sense of a companies, product, guarantees, price points and value.

You get what you pay for. An oil reproduction of a (hand painted) Rembrandt oil reproduction that sells cheaply at one site and a (hand painted) Rembrandt oil painting reproduction that sells at a higher price on another site will not necessarily be of the same quality. If quality is of great importance to you, it is worth investing more money for a high-quality oil painting reproduction.

The Care and Preservation of Oil Paintings

Oil paintings can be maintained for years of use and enjoyment provided that some basic care and attention is given to their preservation. The first step in the care of collections is to understand and minimize or eliminate conditions that can cause damage. The second step is to follow basic guidelines for care, handling and cleaning.

Causes of Damage and Guidelines for Care of Oil Paintings:

The primary cause of damage to oil paintings is the storage or display of paintings in inappropriate environments. This includes display or storage in areas of extreme temperatures or light and dark.

The fascination of collecting beautiful objects goes back to the first person who admired a beautiful shell, or pebble found on a beach and kept it.

Questions about oil painting reproductions?
Contact me, I'm here to help.

~ The Art Diva of