Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Child’s Play

For March, to celebrate Women’s History Month in the United States, I decided to ask, “Which of the following Women artists is your favorite?” In the most popular Art Poll by Bob yet, with a total of 114 votes, Georgia O'Keeffe won with 22 votes, barely edging out Frida Kahlo, who scored 20 supporters. Käthe Kollwitz surged at the end to garner 18 votes, beating out early leader Artemisia Gentileschi, who ended with 15, for third place. Mary Cassatt got 14 votes, Cecilia Beaux got 8, Helen Frankenthaler got 6, Louise Nevelson got 5, Paula Modersohn-Becker got 4, and Judy Chicago got 2. Many thanks to everyone that voted and especially to everyone who sent to me the names of other women artists that could have been on the list. As with everything else on this blog, it’s a learning experience for me and I hope everyone else out there.

For April, to commemorate Alex’s birthday at the end of the month, I’ve decided to ask, “Who is your favorite painter of children?”:

Mary Cassatt (e.g., The Child's Bath, Little Girl in a Blue Armchair)

Thomas Gainsborough (e.g., The Blue Boy)

Winslow Homer (e.g., Snap the Whip, Boys in a Pasture)

Thomas Lawrence (e.g., Sarah Barrett Moulton: "Pinkie")

Antonio Mancini (e.g., examples from my review here)

John Singer Sargent (e.g., Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose [above, from 1885-86], The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit)

Diego Velázquez (e.g., Las Meninas)

I’ll confess to a love of Sargent’s depictions of children, which actually led to a special exhibition just of those paintings at the Brooklyn Museum in 2004 called Great Expectations. I left Thomas Eakins off the list because he’s not known for his paintings of children, but I think that his Baby at Play depicts the curiosity and wonder of a child’s mind unfolding and embracing the world better than any other painting I’ve ever seen. I almost left Antonio Mancini off the list because he’s still relatively unknown, but ultimately couldn’t because I was so captivated by his works when I saw them at the PMA last year.

As always, this is a personal list and, therefore, undoubtedly incomplete. If I’ve left off someone whose paintings of children you love, please share them with everyone in the comments. As I said above, this is a learning experience for me and, I hope, everyone else.

Vote for your favorite! Do it for the children.

[Many thanks to the beautiful Annie, wonderful wife and pinnacle of motherhood, for giving me the idea for this month's poll.]


Anonymous said...

Hi Bob-
What about Tanner's poignant representations of children? I'm thinking about Grace at Table, The Banjo Lesson, and the Annunciation.
And although Cassatt got my vote for favorite woman artist, I can't vote for her reps. of children, oddly. I guess I'll be a Sargent girl, altho the Mancini's are so odd that I'm tempted.
Thanks - I enjoy your blog and check it often!
Lisa in Reading

Bob said...

Hi, Lisa,

Thanks for voting.

I like Tanner's work, too, but I consider the paintings you mention more as domestic genre paintings than specifically about children.

Thanks for reading.