A Taste of the St Louis Art Museum

I’ve just come back from five days in Saint Louis, MO with my daughter, Iphigeneia, and friends, Anna and Sue.  I tried to take photographs of paintings I particularly liked in the Saint Louis Art Museum, which I will post here, but with the warning that some are slightly distorted and  cropped, due to the angle from which I could view the painting and sometimes a little blurry due to the lighting available.  Hopefully you will get a taste of the art available to see in Museums in Saint Louis.

Nona, Geneia, Sue and Anna in front of the St Louis Art Museum

bronze sculpture of Saint Louis

The Apotheosis of Saint Louis

Saint Louis a.k.a. Louis II of France, a crusading French King from the 13th Century, is the symbol of the city.


Old Homestead in Connecticutt by Willard Leroy Metcalf

This is my personal favorite painting in the Museum.  It depicts a New England house on a moonlit night and is so charming, I instantly wanted to step into the scene and enjoy the music of crickets and the evening breeze, then join the cozy party indoors.  Notice the lit window on the side of the house.

oil painting by Anders Zorn

A Portrait by Anders Zorn

Anders Zorn is a 19th Century Swedish painter who is widely admired for his loose, elegant brushwork and glowing colors, very like John Singer Sargent.

oil painting of a river landscape, Daubigny

The Banks of the River Oise by Charles-Francois Daubigny

Daubigny is my favorite painter of the Barbizon School.  He often painted landscapes at dusk and is particularly admired for his river scenes.  The first Daubigny I ever saw was at the Cincinatti Art Museum:  One half of the painting was of a shadowed hillside just before sunset.  There are cows lying in grass in the shade.  The last rays of sunlight are illuminating the opposite side of the painting, where one can see a greater distance.  It was that point in the day where one can still see with great clarity everything around you, but wouldn’t be able to photograph it.  The shadows would end up too deep and the sunlit areas too bleached.  At that time of day everything appears to have its own inner luminosity, but it will vanish in a quarter of an hour.  Daubigny was brilliant at depicting that light.  He was out there with his canvas capturing it and memorizing it.  My photograph of the painting of the Oise above does not do it justice.  One must see Daubigny’s paintings to appreciate how good they are.


Inness landscape

Medway, Massachusetts by George Inness

An American painter who evoked the atmospheric beauty of landscape was George Inness, who studied in France and was won over by the Barbizon vision.  As can be seen in the painting above, Inness’ interest was in the emotions that landscape and being outdoors can evoke, and saw it as a means to cultivate spiritual appreciation.  “The poetic quality is not obtained by eschewing any truths of fact or of Nature…Poetry is the vision of reality.”

oil landscape by Edward Mitchell Bannister

Woman Standing Near a Pond by Edward Mitchell Bannister

While going through the Saint Louis Art Museum, I noted three paintings that were described as being painted by an African-American.  (If the artist’s race had not been mentioned in the write-up, I wouldn’t have known.)   It was interesting and impressive, because of the time period in which they lived and worked.  Bannister lived from 1828 to 1901.  As often happens in the art world, though Bannister was successful and well known in his day, he was largely forgotten.  The Civil Rights Movement of the 1970s brought attention to his work once more and it began to be celebrated and collected again.  As can be seen in the painting above, Bannister’s work deserves the attention.

oil portrait by Renoir

Geneia particularly liked this portrait by Renoir

studio scene by William Merritt Chase

The Tenth Street Studio by William Merritt Chase

landscape oil by Theodore Rousseau

A Pond Near the Road by Theodore Rousseau

oil painting of girl on hill with dog

A contemplative painting by Frank Benson

Renoiresque portrait -- I'm afraid I don't remember by whom

Spanish street scene by Childe Hassam

Street of the Great Captain at Cordoba by Childe Hassam

Van Gogh landscape of two women walking

Stairway at Auvers by Vincent Van Gogh

oil painting of a middle eastern arched gate

An Orientalist Painting in the Impressionistic Styte

Unfortunately, I don’t remember who painted this.  I have always found Orientalist paintings colorful and interesting.  I especially like the paintings of Jean-Leon Gerome.  This one was unusual, because it was painted by an impressionist.  I’m afraid I only carried my camera through the museum, not a note-pad, and I don’t remember the artist.

impressionistic oil painting of a waterfall

Landscape by John Henry Twachtman

One of the things that was pointed out about Twachtman’s work was the “shimmering effect” he created with broken color.  This painting really does have the shimmering effect that water vapor and sunlight might create.  When viewed closely, the paint is very layered and broken.

American Impressionist Painting

I don’t remember the artist, but one of the amusing things about things about this artist, is that when the Impressionists first exhibited in France, this American artist regarded their paintings with “horror.”  Twenty years later he was painting just like them.  Our senses are educated in beauty by familiarity.

oil painting of a faithful dog

Attachment by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer

Too bad it’s a little blurry.

Arab Horseman a la Delacroix

Arab Horsemen a la Delacroix

I don’t remember who painted this, but I liked it.  There was a Delacroix painting too, with its characteristic, violent postures and action.  Here is that one.  It’s a little blurry.

Oil painting of a capture by Eugene Delacroix

Weislingen Captured by Gotz's Men by Eugene Delacroix

A better image may be viewed by clicking here.

Bridge in New York State

Three Women in a Studio by Max Beckmann

This was the most domestically pleasing of the many Max Beckmann paintings at the St Louis Art Museum.   The description beside it included this note:  “As with many of Beckmann’s early works, the painting is inscribed HBSL in the upper right, an abbreviation for Herr Beckmann Seiner Liebsten (Mister Beckmann to his love), a dedication to his first wife, Minna.”

Titanic sinking oil painting

The Sinking of the Titanic by Max Beckmann

For a better image, click here.

arresting assylum patients after earthquake in Messina by Max Beckmann

Scene from the Destruction of Messina by Max Beckmann

This painting depicted insanity patients being apprehended after a great earthquake in Messina in 1909.  For a better image, click here.

oil painting of a woman by Frans Hals

Portrait of a Woman by Frans Hals

pastoral court scene, French Eighteenth Century

Repose in a Park by Jean-Baptiste Joseph Pater

impressionistic Monet painting of a river scene

The Promenade with the Railroad Bridge, Argenteuil by Claude Monet

Native American Horse Thieves portrayed by French Artist

Native American Horse Thieves portrayed a a French Artist

Presumably these are plains Indians.  Note that one of them is wearing a leopard or jaguar skin.  The French had a very romantic view of American natives ever since James Fennimore Cooper wrote and published the Leatherstocking Tales in France.

dutch skating painting

Skating Near a Town by Henryk Avercamp

painting of a French prostitute by Lovis Corinth

Nana, Female Nude by Lovis Corinth


painting on lapis stone

Perseus Rescuing Andromeda by Cavaliere D'Arpino

This lovely Perseus and Andromeda is painted on lapis lazuli.  That’s what the deep blue is.

German landscape, Eighteenth Century

Wanderer on a Mountaintop by Carl Gustav Carus

Carl Gustav Carus was a friend of Goethe and a renaissance man.  In 1811 he graduated as a doctor of medicine and a doctor of philosophy. In 1814 he was appointed professor of obstetrics and director of the maternity clinic at the teaching institution for medicine and surgery in Dresden.  He wrote about art, psychology, especially that there is an antagonistic unconsicous poised against our conscious selves, and physicology, developing the theory of the vertebrate archetype.He learned landscape painting from Caspar David Friedrich, whose work the painting above strongly resembles.

oil portriat of Vigee Le Brun's brother

Portrait of the Artist's Brother by Louise Elizabeth Vigee Le Brun

Louise Elizabeth Vigee Le Brun was an Eighteenth Century artist who painted many portraits of the French nobility, including Marie Antoinette.  Her work was critically acclaimed in her lifetime.  She was able to combine marriage, motherhood and a career in art, a fact that is commented on persuasively to Marie Grosholtz  in Madame Tussaud, a new novel about the French Revolution.  Marie Grosholtz was the maiden name of the famous and equally accomplished wax portraitist who later became Madame Tussaud.  She lived, worked and survived the events of the French Revolution.  I highly recommend this novel.  Vigee Le Brun painted this portrait of her brother when she was only eighteen.

oil landscape by Henri-Joseph Harpignies

The Village Church by Henri-Joseph Harpignies

Another of the Barbizon School of painters, Henri-Joseph Harpignies painted this distant church in the Allier region of central France.

Oil Painting of Sussex Scene by Thomas Gainsborough

View in Sussex by Thomas Gainsborough

Still life by Jean-Simeon Chardin

The Silver Goblet by Jean-Simeon Chardin


Calvary -- I don't know by whom

Miniature in St Louis Art Museum

 Amazing Miniature

faithful dog with fallen master by Edwin Henry Landseer

Detail from Attachment by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer (Anna got a clearer picture than I did.)

artist's father

This portrait is of some unfortunate painter’s father — I don’t remember which one — but he didn’t want his son to be an artist.  It’s pretty apparent in his face, don’t you think?  He didn’t think much of modeling for a portrait either, I take it.

oil painting of Judith and Holofernes

Judith and Holofernes

 The delicate mauve shading under the yoke she wears over her shoulders is supposed to indicate that she’s wearing a dress.  It doen’t read like that to me, but the artist didn’t want to distract from her musculature to make the fabric more apparent.  He meant her obvious physical strength to portray her strength of purpose as she kills the Assyrian invader.
oil portrait by Gilbert Stuart

Portrait of a Gentleman by Gilbert Stuart

flamenco dancer by Robert Henri

Betalo Rubino, Dramatic Dancer by Robert Henri

French painter's interpretation of Native American Horse Thieves

Horse Thieves

This romantic interpretation of American Indians by a French artist has one of the horse thieves wearing a leopard or jaguar skin.  It adds an exotic element.  The French became enthralled with the American frontier when James Fennimore Cooper wrote his Leatherstocking Tales in Paris.

oil painting of a fish by William Merritt Chase

Still Life by William Merritt Chase

The Country School by Winslow Homer

Me below the statue of St Louis

Hope you enjoyed your abbreviated tour of the St Louis Art Museum.   There were a number of paintings that were not currently on view — I know this from perusing the St Louis Art Museum Website — so I’ll have to get back there someday.  I had thought to visit Kansas City, MO on this trip too, but it turned out to be impractical.  Another day, another art trip!