Saturday, August 14, 2021

Solomon J. Solomon Paints a Young Violinist

Solomon J. Solomon, Mischa Elman Playing the Violin, 1911

Solomon Solomon painted the Mischa Elman (1891-1967) when the young violinist was just 20 years old. 

His hands are a blur, but his face painted with a solid understanding of the old masters.

 Elman was a child prodigy, but not everyone wants to perform with young prodigies:
"Elman was still only a boy when [musician Leopold] Auer arranged for him to play with the famous Colonne Orchestra during their visit to Pavlovsk. Knowing Édouard Colonne's hatred of child prodigies, Auer did not tell him Elman's age when making the arrangements, and not until the famous conductor saw young Mischa waiting to go on the platform did he realize that he had engaged a child. He was furious, and flatly refused to continue with the programme. Frantic attempts were made to assure him that Elman had the recommendation of Auer himself and was well capable of doing justice to the music, but Colonne was adamant, "I have never yet played with a child, and I refuse to start now," he retorted. So Elman had to play with piano accompaniment while conductor and orchestra sat listening." According to Elman ."I was eleven at the time. When Colonne saw me, violin in hand, ready to step on the stage, he drew himself up and said with emphasis: 'I play with a prodigy! Never!' Nothing could move him, and I had to play to a piano accompaniment. After he had heard me play, though, he came over to me and said: 'The best apology I can make for what I said is to ask you to do me the honor of playing with the Orchestre Colonne in Paris.' He was as good as his word. Four months later I went to Paris and played the Mendelssohn concerto for him with great success."
Book by Solomon:  
The Practice of Oil Painting and Drawing (Dover Art Instruction)

1 comment:

Roberto Quintana said...

Wow! Now THATS Impressive!
Even though the lighting isn’t dramatic, just barely casting a slight, somewhat diffuse shadow on the side of the nose and along the edge of the face, yet EVERYTHING about that head reads ‘Volume-in-Space’.
And those eyes!! Definitely two round little glistening orbs, wrapped in moist, fleshy meat, tucked away into large sockets under his brow… and not a line in sight! Just subtle little shifts in value and color.
The sclera is darker than any of the skin highlights, and you can even sense where the lids wrap over and around the corneas! (corneii?). And the highlights aren’t just dabs of white paint poked into the eyes like frosting on a cake…He even has two highlights in the eye closest to the light. One on the top of the cornea and one where the cornea meets the sclera, and THAT highlight is reflected back into the iris!!
Absolutely Masterful in its simplicity and charm.
Thanks for sharing this James. -RQ