Thursday, May 29, 2008

forget your theories

American Impressionist and painter of beautiful landscapes, Willard Metcalf spent most of his time in New England but also captured scenes in other lands. Additionally, as a young man he hung around the Zuni Indian tribe to observe them and illustrate a series of magazine articles, going along on an ethnological expedition with anthropologist Frank Hamilton Cushing. There's an interesting article in Antiques & the Arts magazine about Metcalf and this self-portrait done in 1890, noting how the half-shadowed look to it indicates that he wasn't quite sure about his artistic future. It might also seem like there was a darker, troubled side beyond Metcalf's lovely style that he subconsciously or consciously was showing us--an inner restlessness and tendency to drink a bit more than he should have--ironically all part of a man who painted such calmly inviting scenes.

"Go out and paint what you see and forget your theories." Willard Metcalf (1858-1925)