Friday, July 18, 2014

Painting Coincidences

You know that thing that happens when you say a word at the exact same time it is said by someone on the TV?  Or you learn about something completely new to you and its casually mentioned in the fiction book you are reading that night?  Everyone tells me this is called coincidence but sometimes it really feels more personal than that.  Like the world could sense what was on your mind and brought it up to the surface to let you know it was listening.

This happens occasionally when looking at paintings.  I notice something in one painting for the first time and it pops up in another.  Happened yesterday.  I have been looking a bit at Manet and stumbled upon this painting in a book at the library which I have never seen before:

Manet, Luncheon in the Studio, 1868, Oil on Canvas

It really struck me.  The way Manet uses black in such a flat, graphic way is something I really love.  In this piece it is especially beautiful, in contrast to the delicate stripes of the shirt which frame the man's face.  I looked at it for a while and then went on with my day.

Fairfield Porter, Young Man, 1968, Oil on Masonite
Then later at night, I was browsing images as I do on my computer.  I was thinking about Porter and put his name into google images and the painting above came up after a few scrolls down.  

I figured by now I have seen every Porter painting, yes he is incredibly prolific but so are my searches for his work, but I have never seen this one before.  In fact, it is very hard to find online, only a thumbnail and a flickr link to a picture that looks like it was a camera sneak while a guard wasn't watching (I took that image and cropped it up nicely)

So when I saw this painting made exactly 100 years after Manet's of a man in a flat black coat with delicate yellow stripes leading up to the face I had to feel as if the universe was involved.  It makes me happy to find these relationships among painters and even happier to wonder whether Porter had seen the same painting by Manet and went on to make his own.


annamaria potamiti said...

Wow! I love these two together Aubrey! I also feel I must have seen pretty well everything Porter
painted ,and yet I have never before seen this one. It becomes ever so much more special seeing it alongside the Manet.(shall we play who has 'painted it better? Just joking ...but Porter did! Don't you find there are at least six different paintings in the Manet?) Many thanks for posting this!

Unknown said...

You really open my eyes with your insightful descriptions.

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