Tag Archives: 1877

Modern Art Monday Presents: Gillian Wearing, Me In History — A Conversation with the Work of Fantin-LaTour

gillian wearing painting photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail Worley

In this oil painting from 2021, Gillian Wearing expands on her Lockdown self-portraits by inserting herself into a 1877 painting by the French artist, Henri Fantin-Latour (1836 to 1904) entitled La Lecture (The Reading). The original painting depicts two women in a domestic setting, one of whom reads aloud from a book, while the other sits beside her listening. In her version, Wearing takes the place of the listener, but crops the image, shifting the focus from the act of reading to the relationship between the two figures. As in her Spiritual Family photographic series, Wearing assumes the identity of a historical figure, but here she plays the role of a subject rather than an artist. Carefully studying her female companion, she imagines herself in a time and place that limited women’s social lives to private spaces – not unlike those featured in Lockdown.

Photographed in the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Claude Monet, Arrival of the Normandy Train, Gare Saint-Lazare

arrival of the normandy train photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

The Gare Saint-Lazare was the largest and busiest train station in Paris. Early in 1877, with help from his friend Gustave Caillebotte, Claude Monet rented an apartment in the nearby rue Moncey and began painting the first of twelve canvases showing this icon of modernity. Monet displayed seven of them, including this one, at the third Impressionist exhibition, in April of that year. Legend has it that he arranged to have the standing locomotives stoked with extra coal, so that he could observe and paint the effects of belching steam — dull grey when trapped inside the station, but white and cloudlike when seen against the sky.

Arrival of the Normandy Train, Gare Saint-Lazare (1877) was Photographed at  the Institute, Chicago.