Posted by: cboulay | February 8, 2009

still life take 2

Here are some very different still life paintings, these by American artist Wayne Thiebaud. How do you think they differ or are similar to the Dutch? What would Doty think?







  1. I want to say that they’re different from the Dutch works we’ve seen. These backgrounds are white and Doty preferred those endless dark backgrounds. The pies look like they could be stacked on any lunch counter–there is something vibrant and commercial and new about the images. Doty would have said maybe they represent our bright American dream and preservation of matter–I’m sure those pies could outlast a piece of fruit any day. Whereas the Dutch painted food at the moment before dissolution, the stapler and those bland pink watermelons and lipsticks suggest something unchanging.

    These items say so much about us–cheerful, organized, bright, modern. They are so homogeneous and artificial and photogenic. If the Dutch painters were painting death then Americans dream of immortality.

  2. Yes Thiebaud presents different emotions with his modern works. I think that in many ways still life work portrays common themes whether Dutch, American, older or modern. This collection is expressed with much more vibrant colors than Oysters and Lemons, or other DUtch paintings. Also these focus on repetition of a single object.
    Like Doty’s message of Still Life, all object that have been painted or drawn, have been captured for a reason; they are significant to the artist.
    Through the still object of lipsticks or watermelons, the artist wants to present emotions and wonder using the object that has been caught in time.
    Although the Dutch paintings are older than Thiebaud’s work, at one time the objects were fresh like the watermelon and pies painted here.

  3. I find these still life’s to be much different from the Dutch. Most obviously the colors in all four of these paintings convey a much happier and vibrant tone. The light even casts colorful shadows upon all of the objects that are strategically placed along empty but white colored backgrounds.

    I mostly enjoy the staple gun, as odd as that sounds. It is such a stereotypically manly object, made out of pure steel, strong, used for handy work but the artist illuminates it with colorful light, and shadows, and reflections, that make the object a much more interesting and accessible tool.

    All four of the paintings are spunky and vivacious, they have life seeping from them, as if at any moment a human hand may swoop in and grab one of the objects from its perfect position.

  4. Along the lines of Corey’s response, I don’t think these particular still life’s have much in common with the still life Doty was talking about in “Still Life With Oysters and Lemons.” Personally a still life is not the type of art that appeals to me. Maybe if i had spent as much time as Doty did analyzing and going into depth about the picture then maybe i would find it a bit more interesting.

    Doty would take these pictures and find ways to connect it back to his life, something interesting, or history. Doty would find the beauty of these paintings and if it makes an impact on him, he would probably write a short book about it.

    In all these paintings, Thiebaud seem to use really uplifting colors and tries to make a statement about what he finds beautiful or emotionally moving.

  5. I think the main difference between these still lifes and the Dutch ones is the use of color. Like everyone else has noticed, the colors in the Dutch paintings are dark and gloomy, conveying a very depressing atmosphere. The colors in these still lifes are very bright and lively. Another difference between the two styles is that in the Dutch’s, there is a variety of different objects displayed. In these paintings, it is more of a repetition of the same object. Like Jennifer mentioned, the background colors are also vastly different. In these, they are white, while in Doty’s they are dark and dreary.

    Doty would probably be able to relate these paintings to an experience he had in his life. He would probably comment on the cheerful and uplifting nature that these paintings represent.

  6. Thiebaud’s still lifes are very different than the Dutch still lifes that Doty commented on. Oysters with Lemons appeared to be much more realistic than these Thiebaud’s pieces. Another notable difference between these two different styles are that the Dutch still lifes seem to focus more on a particular scene while Thiebaud’s pieces are full of repetition and change. The scenes are not portrayed as-is, rather in a more modern light. Colors or clearly altered and objects are repeated.
    I think Thiebaud’s pieces may be making a more clear cut comment about our society, whereas if the artists of the Dutch still lifes we were introduced to earlier were trying to make a commentary on something there messages may have gotten lost much easier. When something is portrayed in a way that is slightly different than how it actually is people expect to dissect what is different. In this sense i think people are more receptive to messages from pieces like Thiebaud’s rather than the Dutch still lifes that simply appear as they would in real life.

  7. Like many of my classmates have said, the most striking difference in the two types of paintings is the colors. The Dutch still life paintings used colors that were much more mundane while the American paintings use much more vivid and vibrant colors.

    I also noticed that the American still life paintings seem to be more abstract and less focused than the Dutch ones. I’m not sure why, but the Dutch paintings just seems to be more clear.

    In terms of Doty, I think that he would take a liking to the Dutch paintings for the reasons above. I think Doty likes the dark tone of the Dutch paintings.

  8. Besides the different artists’ uses of color, the objects they have painted vary greatly. In the above American paintings, there is one object either by itself or repeated. The Dutch paintings present more of a moment in time or a scene, as opposed to the American ones that portray objects on a white background. The American and Dutch paintings are equally as detailed in my opinion, the detail is just focused differently in each. In the Dutch paintings, the detail is focused more on the presentation of the scene, whereas the detail of the American paintings radiates from the objects themselves. The colors of the American paintings are also more vibrant and are not as precisely accurate to real life as those of the Dutch paintings that portray dimmer, more muted colors.

    Doty would still be able to make a good case for any of these American paintings. However, because there is not as much going on, Doty would not be able to reference as many of his memories as he did about the Dutch painting.

  9. What would Doty think- I think Doty would say there’s something missing about these American still life paintings. The Oysters and Lemon painting is a sort of dark celebration of elegant eatery whereas the Thiebaud pieces seem to be painted with optimism on a warm summer evening. There is something medieval and romantic about “Oysters” that is absent in the fruit. If each were to be a woman, I’d say “Oysters” is the mysterious madamoiselle of midnight and Thiebaud’s are four teenage girls from the 90’s.
    Conceptually, I think Doty is attracted to the complex – the strange – the dark. He would appreciate the works above but eat them up in a short amount of time. “Oysters” comes off as a perfect, delicious sip of aristocratic wine while Thiebaud’s seem to be more contemporary eye candy.
    I think Doty is attracted to dark elegancy.

  10. Thiebaud’s use of vibrant colors on a white background differ greatly from the dark tones of the Dutch still life paintings. Wayne Thiebaud is an American pop artist, who is famous for his use of repetition. While the Dutch still life paintings portray a whole scene, Thiebaud focuses on a lone object. The Dutch still life paintings showcase idealized versions of ordinary objects, whereas Thiebaud paints his subjects with a raw feeling, showing the objects rough edges and imperfections.

    As far as Doty goes, I agree with about everyone else who has posted a response saying that he would have related the paintings back to his own life. I think that Doty would also focus on the fact that Thiebaud did not try to create a perfect image, but rather let the impurities shine through.

  11. I believe the main difference between these still lives and the still lives of Dutch painters is repetition and the importance of the images in relation to ones culture. In Dutch work, each item is valued and honored; they are made special from the intricate representations they are given. In Theibaud’s still lives, each item is repeated and simplified making them seem less valuable and more generic. These appeal more to the masses and resemble the works of many pop artists such as Andy Warhol.

    I believe Doty would not have been as enthralled with these pieces because the items are not as special to the American culture as oysters, lemon, porcelain among other things were/are to the Dutch. Rather, these items are normal, everyday things repeated.

  12. These 3 pieces are distinctively different from the works that we have been presented with previously. They can be describes are more repetitive and less refined in comparison. They are definetly shown in more pristine state than that of the previous works.

    As Doty mentioned he found the art of the Dutch to put forth beauty found through use and damage rather than things that can easily be massed produced.

    Also another significant difference is that these seem to have a lighter personality to them than those previously studied. This can be derived from the lighter backgrounds. Finally I felt that these pieces put forth a theme of consumerism and mass production. They are objects found in the ordinary life but unlike the Dutch pieces they have no fundamental meaning attached to them–they do not change the way in which we see this objects in the future, past or present.

  13. I definitely think that these paintings differ from the Dutch paintings. Thiebaud’s paintings are much brighter in both background and in the colors used to create the objects. The vibrancy of the colors Thiebaud uses gives a lightness to the paintings that the painting “Oysters and Lemon” lacked. “Oysters and Lemon” seemed to have a much ‘heavier’ sense to it as if layers of paint were plastered on one over the other. Further, Thiebaud’s paintings seem simpler in general, perhaps due to the fact that the backgrounds are so blank as I stated before. Doty might find that these paintings lack a certain ‘deepness’ because the colors aren’t nearly as rich and dark as the Dutch. However, that’s not to say that he wouldn’t be able to relate each and every one of them back to his life in some way. I feel that the insights he would have concerning these paintings would be much more uplifting than focusing on the permanence of death and the preservation of that moment before death.

  14. While I agree that these paintings are different from the dutch paintings, I think they are the samein some ways from the paintings that Doty’s painting. The techniques are different. While it is true that these paintings are “lighter” then Doty– the lighter with the color that is chosen to make the painting the image that it has– it is still about objects that are common within daily life. These paintings depicts items that are in this moment. It captures the present moment that a pie is cooling down or the moment that a watermelon is on display. Doty’s painting captures those “right now” moments dealing with daily items that are so common in our life.

  15. These works lack the photo-realistic depth or technical prowess of their Dutch predecessors. They evoke critique, perhaps making fun of consumer culture at the same time that it indulges it. It reminds me of commercial art, which also then prompts me to ask about the difference between “low” and “high” art.

    The items he depicts are clearly commodity, meant for consumption, but they are also as common as the items in a Dutch still life were to a noble Dutchman in his day. In a contemporary context, however, the ordinary is a statement in itself, prompting one to ask whether or not there is an underlying message.

    Since much of Doty’s writing concerned the technical abilities of Dutch painters and their ability to bring alive seemingly ordinary objects with vibrant aesthetic vigor, Doty would likely be unimpressed with these works.

  16. Compared to the Dutch, Thiebaud’s paintings are light, quirky, but still part of the everyday life we live. The lines of lipsticks, twisted up, ready to be picked an applied. The watermelon, cut, plated, and waiting to be devoured. The pies, cut, arranged, and also waiting for someone to ingest them. The stapler, loaded, springs aligned, waiting to secure papers together. These objects all anticipate a moment where a person will come by, pick them up, and use them.
    The same feeling is captured in the Duth paintings described in Doty’s book. The still lifes had food laid out, waiting to be eaten. Or some already had a bite taken out of them, and they are waiting for the person to take another bite.

    My two favorites are the lipsticks and the watermelon…I guess because it’s refreshing to see a new medium in use for our discussion: color pencil and marker.

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