My Earliest Art Memories

Happy Humpday! It’s the middle of the week, and I figure we could all use some light and breezy conversation. So I’m sharing my story – as best I can remember it – of my earliest art memories.

So, once upon a time, information wasn’t abundant and instantly at our fingertips. Way back before the Internet, there was the Encyclopedia. These massive tomes covered a ton of topics and every household that could afford them had a set. We had three sets, because as the information became outdated (these were print materials, after all), we had to occasionally replace them. One set that we had – the largest version – had spectacular photos. In this collection, I first became introduced to the fine arts.


Ah, memories

Now, I was surrounded by art all of the time. My mom had a creative streak and my brother and I both sketched. But it wasn’t until I saw a painting in the encyclopedia that I knew that there was something very special about art. It impressed me so much that I remembered the name of the artist and the painting, more than 20 years after I first laid eyes on it.


Portrait of Comtesse d’Haussonville by Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres took up nearly a whole page of the encyclopedia volume that I was perusing as a child. The countess appears to be looking directly at you, sizing you up but not in a disapproving way. She seems to be peering at you to figure out if she can share a confidence or two with you, or if she should refrain from chatting too much. She seemed so real, though I knew she was a painting of someone that died long before anyone that I knew had even been born.

Her strikingly elegant and self-possessed expression stuck with me all of these years. I guess you could say that this was the first time that art impacted me in a conscious way (though it was my encounter with a Gerome painting that first stirred any sort of strong emotion in me). It’s funny: after all this time, I’m still wondering if the Comtesse approves of me. Art has a peculiar way of making you think for years after the first encounter. Great art is memorable in the way that most of us strive to be in our daily lives.

That’s it for now. I hope you all enjoyed this post, and I hope that this Wednesday is fun and energizing for you all. Take care!


art · international

International Art: Tom Mboya, Kenyan Artist

While vacationing in Kenya, I noticed that my hotel (Ibis Styles in Nairobi’s Westlands neighborhood) had beautiful artwork lining the stairwells. Upon closer inspection, I saw that all of the paintings – about 30 in total, displayed in sets of 3 amongst 10 different floors – were done by Tom Mboya.

My curiosity kicked into overdrive and I started researching Mboya. As it so happens, Tom Mboya is a local Kenyan artist (no surprise there) that started out working in the hospitality industry before pursuing his art fulltime. The paintings are stunning and lively; from dynamic depictions of life in Kenya to breathtaking portraits of his countrywomen, these paintings draw you in and hold you captive.

Here are a few of my favorites from the hotel:



If you’d like to learn more about Mboya, check out his artist profile here.



Perfect Art for a Butterfly

Happy Tuesday, loves! Over here on the Bronze Butterfly blog, it goes without saying that I identify with the butterfly, both the insect itself as well as the metamorphosis it undergoes in order to become a beautiful winged creature.

While looking at the Christie’s Paris Instagram account, I think I found a perfect piece to adorn my walls. It’s collectible, it’s antique, and it has butterflies!

The translation of the caption is, “The Dutch Golden Age (1587 – 1702)  was a period of economic prosperity and artistic “outpouring” [I think this means artistic expression] in the Netherlands. Pieter Withoos (1655-1692) was an illustrator that represented [drew/sketched/captured] nature, particularly for albums. Here, the painted uses charcoal, ink and watercolor to realize [recreate] these butterflies and insects that will be on sale on January 30, 2018 in New York.”

If you want to see more about this drawing/painting, you can view the lot here. This sale is accepting online bids, so if you want to gift this to your favorite Bronze Butterfly (hint, hint), you have until January 30th to make it happen LOL! While you’re viewing this lot, go ahead and check out a few of the other items being offered through this huge sale. For those interested in learning more about the Dutch Golden Age, I found a free online course on Open. edu. The course, titled “Dutch Painting of the Golden Age“, even offers a statement of participation when you complete it, as proof of your knowledge. It’s a great opportunity to learn something new!


art · life curation

A Love Affair with Jean-Leon Gerome, Part 2

In my previous post about Jean-Leon Gerome, I talked about how I first became acquainted with his work, and the impression that painting left on me. To date, I don’t think there is any other painting that moved me to the point of researching the painter so that I could know more about the genius that created it.

As I go forward in pursuing my art interests, I’m fascinated by the prospect of one day owning a Gerome painting for my own collection. Or, perhaps I’ll help popularize an artist that has a similar gift, deftly portraying people of color while effectively communicating the subjects’ humanity.

I am excited to announce that a painting attributed to Jean-Leon Gerome will be auctioned by Sotheby’s on February 1, 2018. While I won’t be bidding on it, I’m excited to see what comes of it. Will the buyer put it into his or her private collection, or will it become part of a museum exhibit in the style of the Salvator Mundi that sent the art world into a tizzy?

Only time will tell, but in the meantime, here’s the painting offered by Sotheby’s. The Portrait Study of Giacomo Orlandi di Subiaco (c 1843) has many Gerome-esque attributes.

Screenshot 2018-01-06 at 4.52.32 PM - Edited

For starters, this portrait features the dark background and “candlelit” lighting that Gerome favored. The subject himself, with his tanned skin, dark, curly hair, and expressive eyes, is captured in similar fashion as other Gerome subjects. The painting didn’t attempt to “perfect” the subject by putting him in fine regalia or making his nose more aquiline: Gerome’s affinity for realism is present in this photo. The painting looks like someone that you may run into on the streets of Rome, in the midst of running his daily errands.

I am eager to see what happens with this painting. I only have to wait a few more days until the auction: I can’t wait!