Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Charles Keene's cartoons about artists

Charles Keene (1823-1891) was a cartoonist for the British humor magazine Punch. His incisive characterization was admired by Edgar Degas and Adolph Menzel.

Many of his cartoons poke fun at problems faced by artists. Some are universal problems, and some are peculiar to Victorian society.
A tourist tries to help an artist by posing in the foreground of his scene, hoping to be painted into it.


The fellow on the left paints ships and the other paints pictures of ships. When the low-class chap presents himself as a brother brush, the other takes a dislike to the whole place.

After a long look, the farmer's wife doubts that the artist is painting "any place hereabouts."
The artist brings his friend to a favorite sketching spot, but the non-artist doesn't see the beauty in it.

Two bystanders, a village schoolmaster and an intelligent farmer, observe the artist's fumbling efforts and conclude that he's an amateur.

A buyer asks for "a little more picture and a little less mount."

An Irish model objects to wearing a dilapidated costume.

And here's a peek behind the curtain at the man himself, Charles Keene, as seen by Félix Bracquemond
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6 comments:

Richard said...

I find the equipment for plein air painting, in pictures of artists in the field, interesting. In this case use a stool, the easels are made of long sticks, there's one where the sticks attach independently to the canvas, the umbrellas are on top where the sticks meet, and (what I have always wondered about) the artists are depicted in fairly fancy street clothes including spats in one case. I don't know if that's simple a convention in this type of painting or whether they did not use overalls or something like that. If so, how did they keep the paint off their clothes? Richard

Dex Banner said...

Charles Samuel Keene (10 August 1823–4 January 1891) was an English artist and illustrator, who worked in black and white. Charles Keene was born in Hornsey in 1823. After trying law and architecture he was apprenticed as a wood engraver. This led to employment on the Illustrated ...

Marta said...

Haha these are awesome! Love Punch - just goes to show how little some things change...

Andy said...

I've experienced the opposite of number 4 several times.

"Oh you really should go and check out the view from such-and-such place. You'll get some amazing paintings there."

So I go, I wander around for an hour, and I leave with not even a thumbnail sketch or a photo.

erc said...

The first one where the guy tries to get in the painting is funny. I've seen that a bit.

Leif said...

"A little more picture, a little less mount" - Hahhah, thanks, this made me break into a laugh, a happy moment while waiting up all night for my gas service to be restored in the bitter cold!