|1. Portrait of a Peasant
Van Gogh, 1888
|2. Still Life with Musical Instruments
George Braque, 1918
Liubov Popova, 1915
|4. Portrait of the Artist's Wife
by Amedeo Modigliani, 1918
|5. The Entrance to the Port of Le Havre
Claude Monet, 1867-68
|6. Woman with a Book
Pablo Picasso, 1932
|7. At Renoir's Home, rue St-Georges
|8. The Boulevard des Fosses, Pontoise
Camille Pissarro, 1872
|9. Portrait of a Boy
Rembrandt van Rijn, 1655-60
|10. The Happy Lovers
Jean-Honore Fragonard, 1760-65
|11. The Artist's Garden at Vetheuil
Claude Monet, 1881
|12. The Poultry Market at Pontoise
Camille Pissarro, 1882
Rembrandt van Rijn, 1636-38
|14. Brittany Landscape, Emile Bernard, 1888-1889|
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Among the first ten paintings, there is no significance to the numbering of the images.
#1: Although weather-beaten and asymmetric, the face in Van Gogh's Portrait of a Peasant has a magnetic effect that is hard to explain. The sadness and resignation that one sees in the man's eyes perhaps reflect the artist as much as his subject.
#4: Modigiani was an imaginative painter, but not a model for how to live one's life. For more on this subject, see article from the Times of Israel.
#8: Pissarro's The Poultry Market at Pontoise is an interesting piece. The posture of the woman on the left almost suggests a country dance. The perspective, in which the main figures are seen largely from behind, is unusual and daring, but (at least for me) somewhat unsatisfying. I find myself wanting the central figure to turn so that I can better see her face.
#9: There is speculation that the lad in Rembrandt's Portrait of a Boy is the artist's own son. Various bits of evidence support this conjecture. Note, e.g., the pentagonal shapes of the two heads and the similar chins. (Compare numbers 9 and 13).
The appearance of discoloration in number 9 is at least partly the result of reflections from protective glass, but it is also possible that the work is in need of restoration.
#11: The Artist's Garden at Vetheuil by Monet is an attractive piece. In fact, the composition is very similar to a piece in the National Gallery by the same artist. For a side-by-side comparison of the two paintings, click here. The figures in the painting at the National Gallery give that piece a special charm. I believe that Mr. Mellon made the better acquisition.
These photos were made with a hand-held Nikon D7000 camera, using ambient light only.
Last update: 2 Feb., 2018