My good friend and former student Marcus met up for a day at the Milwaukee Art Museum today. While there, we took in the wonderful and hilarious Thomas Sully exhibition that was on view. We visited old favorites, like the two Richard Diebenkorn works they own. We also enjoyed a couple new friends, like the Audubon piece below:
While taking in the Thomas Sully: Painted Performance exhibition, I decided to do a number of quick sketches. I spent between 30 seconds and two minutes on these pieces. If you click on my drawing, you’ll see what the original piece looked like.
They really reminded me of the fantastic Kyle Staver’s work. Staver, who just recently had a show at Tibor de Nagy in NYC, often uses classic themes and large, dynamic compositions in her work. She also manifests a unique sense of the shaping of forms, particularly in how she develops the figures in her paintings. Sully, though very different from Staver and far removed from her in time, also had a feeling for the strange shapes that flesh may take on. What he lost in correct anatomy (foreshortening, proportion) was gained in drama and formal structure. The strange figures he painted often loom from the surfaces in terms of their abstract shapes rather than their representational effect. In some way Sully feels like a progenitor of Staver.
Anyway, here are the sketches – click to see the originals. Enjoy!
Sketch of Thomas Sully’s Self Portrait, 1807.
Sketch of Thomas Sully’s portrait of Mary Ann Paton, 1836.
Sketch of Thomas Sully’s portrait of Major Thomas Biddle, 1832.
Sketch of Thomas Sully’s portrait of Mary Siddons Whelen, 1812.
Sketch of Thomas Sully’s portrait of Rosalie Kemble Sully as The Student, 1848.
Sketch of Thomas Sully’s portrait of John Terford David, 1813.
Sketch of Thomas Sully’s portrait of Mrs George Lingen, 1842.
All in all it was a pretty nice day. Here’s one more shot of Marcus for the road…