Saturday, September 7, 2013


Sarah Lamb "Self Portrait at Easel" 2007  collection of the artist
Sarah Lamb (b.1971) is a contemporary American painter who is best known for her beautifully textured still-lives. Her canvases depict everything from mussel shells on a pottery platter to peonies in silver teapots and have a kind of magnetic power that draws the eye and the breath. Despite their less than kinetic subject matter her work emits such a powerful pull that her shows routinely sell out and in fact Lamb's gallery in NYC keeps a waiting list of people who want her work! Because although she is a dedicated and hard-working artist there are only so many hours in each day. Especially when one is a natural light painter (Lamb works only from life using mainly the light that pours into her skylit studio.)  Every now and then though, Lamb will take a small "vacation" from her main ouevre and work on a small portrait or landscape, such as we see here in this charming self-portrait.

While an undergraduate at Brenau Women's College, Lamb spent a semester studying abroad at the Studio Center International in Florence, Italy. This helped her find her aesthetic focus and after graduating she spent two years studying in the Loire Valley at the Ecole Albery Defois. In 1997 she began six years of study at the Water Street Atelier with Jacob Collins. She is represented by Spanierman Gallery in New York, by the Meredith Long Gallery in Houston Texas and by John Pence Gallery in San Francisco. She is married to painter David Larned and she and her family live in the Brandywine Valley area of Pennsylvania, to which they were drawn by its natural beauty and its deep art-historical roots. Sarah Lamb's website can be seen here.

Monday, September 2, 2013


Ludovica Anina Thornam  "self Portrait"  1885  location unknown 

Ludovica Anina Thornam (1853-1896) was a Danish portrait and genre painter. Immediately following high school she studied for two years with painter Vilhelm Kyhn in Copenhagen, the same Drawing School for Women that Anna Ancher attended.  A few years later Thornam fulfilled a long-held dream to go to Paris where she continued her studies at the Académie Julian from approximately 1887 through 1893. In addition to her academic studies, during these years she went on painting/study trips around Europe with her sister Emmy Marie Thornam, who was also a painter. Ludovica specialized as a portrait painter and additionally she gave private lessons.  It is noted that she was one of the few Danish women painters at that time who made their living through painting. She died at a relatively young age, in her very early forties, and I was unable to find out any further information about her. Her sister Emmy, who was a professional writer as well as a professional painter,  wrote a book that was published in 1932 titled Min søster og jeg (trans: "My Sister and I") which I assume gives more biographical information about these two painting sisters. If anyone has read it, or has a copy please let me know!