La liseuse (1746). Jean-Étienne Liotard (Swiss-French, 1702-1789). Pastel on parchment. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
Portrait of Mlle Lavergne, a cousin of the artist, in Lyonnais country clothing. Young woman at half length, seated in a chair, reading a letter that she keeps to herself. The spiral lacing and lacing rings are functional and not merely decorative.
The Lute Player (1838). Friedrich von Amerling (Austrian, 1803-1887). Oil on canvas. Osterreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna.
Von Amerling was able to combine the stylishness of English portrait painters with the realist traditions of Viennese bourgeois portraiture. One of his specialties was the one-figure genre painting, in which the subjects appear in a costume alien to the milieu, as in The Lute Player.
Hannah Bunce Watson (1749-1807)
Hannah was a young mother of five children when the death of her husband Ebenezer made her the owner of the Connecticut Courant in 1777.At the time, the Courant had the largest circulation of any newspaper in North America. As the British had shut down Boston’s newspapers and only allowed loyalist papers in New York to publish, the Connecticut Courant was one of the fewindependent sources of news in the colonies.
In January 1778, loyalists set fire to the mill that produced paper for the Courant. This could have meant the end of publication for the Courant. Hannah and Sarah Ledyard, co-owners of the mill, petitioned the Connecticut legislature for funds to rebuild the mill. A state lottery was established to finance the rebuilding of the mill and the Connecticut Courant continued to publish without interruption.
Hannah’s newspaper is today known as the Hartford Courant and you can follow them on tumblr.
Portrait of a Woman (1872). Mary Cassatt (American, 1844-1926). Oil on canvas. Dayton Art Institute.
Painted several years before Cassatt eagerly adopted Impressionism, this portrait shows the influence of Italian Baroque painting, with its golden light, classical drapery, & monumental proportions. This is one of several paintings the artist made of costumed women during her studies in Parma. Its sense of depth differs from Cassatt’s later work, in which space is more flattened.