Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Twenty Years Apart!

Elizabeth Osborne  "Figure in Studio"  1967  Collection of the Artist
Elizabeth Osborne (b. 1936) is a contemporary artist based in Philadelphia, PA.  She studied at the the University of Pennsylvania and also at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Her talent was recognized at an early stage, and she received numerous awards while in school, and a Fulbright Fellowship in 1964. She began teaching at PAFA in the early 60's becoming one of the few women instructors at that time. An influential and beloved teacher, she only recently retired from full-time teaching and was awarded the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Alumni Association of PAFA. I myself was one of Liz's students, and very gratefully so, and it was a real thrill for me as the current president of PAFA's Alumni Association Council to have the honor of actually giving the award to Liz!

Elizabeth Osborne  "The Studio"  1987  Private Collection 
Liz Osborne's beautiful work ranges from representational to abstract, and also explores the space inbetween these two states, but whatever the genre her paintings are known always for their clear and subtle use of color as well as an imitable and characteristic balance and elegance. Curator Robert Cozzolino has written of her work, "Osborne may be known to some for her virtuoso, glowing realist watercolors of the late 1970s or monumental, hallucinatory landscapes of the early and mid-1970s; still others may know her recent boldly-painted ruminations of nature in its micro- and macrocosm.  Yet Osborne's oeuvre is full of surprises, stylistically experimental yet cohesive, hauntingly introspective and complex in its artistic and personal associations."

 The artist shows at Locks Gallery in Philadelphia and is in numerous private and public collections, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Delaware Art Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Her website can be seen here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Lost Lavinia

Lavinia Fontana Zappi "Print after a Self-Portrait" date and location unknown

So, it appears that the painting from which this print was made, is lost.  I came across the image in a reissue of an old book from 1905, Women Painters of the World, by Walter Shaw Sparrow. Leafing through my eye was caught by this piece I had never before seen, captioned:

However after several pretty intensive web searches including a visit to the Virtual Uffizi I have to conclude that the original has disappeared. The Uffizi lays claim to only one Fontana, Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalen. 

Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) was born into an artistic family in Bologna, Italy, a city known for its learning and its anomalous stance on gender equality. Fontana's father was a well-known painter, Prospero Fontana, and as was customary in those days, Lavinia naturally went into the family business. She married a lesser-known painter Paolo Zappi, and subsequently gave birth to eleven children while continuing to support the family through her artistic output. Zappi took care of the household and also served as his wife's studio assistant. In 1603 Fontana and her family moved to Rome at the invitation of Pope Clement VIII. She had a very successful career, enjoying papal patronage and being elected to the Accademia di San Luca in 1611. She produced over 100 documented works during her lifetime, although her entire output is unknown. Some of her pieces were, in the past, wrongly attributed to artist Guido Reni.

By the way, you can peruse Women Painters of the World online, as it is up on the wonderful and amazing Project Gutenberg. Leaf through the book here, if you are interested. It's full of old world charm and nifty surprises. And mysteries, too, waiting to be solved by some dedicated art detective!