johnrowebyrobertfeke

Portrait of John Rowe by Robert Feke

A 20th century introduction to colonial art in New England, The Birth of the American Tradition in Art by Oskar Hagen, 1940, was bought and read by me lately. This portrait was the first attractive one online I saw by the pioneer Robert Feke, who is a major figure treated in this book, held up for excellence in his era by the author. Most enlightening was to learn that colonial art was entirely portraiture.

Also their particular art method focused on expressing an encounter with an individual in a particular moment. Heavy outlines and flat color without much shading or attention to color harmony–these made up the commonest style. No artists had formal art training during that era. This history helped me understand how focus on technique and finish can be less important than expressiveness for a portrait artwork.

I struggle with this in my work. How about you?

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