American-born Anne Whitney was encouraged to work with watercolor as that was thought to better suite women but she preferred clay and sculpture. Roma is a bronze sculpture inspired by the high degree of poverty she witnessed while studying art in Rome, Italy.
Tiger in a Tropical Storm
Henri Rousseau loved exotic animals and built his artist reputation as a “portrait-landscape” painter since his animals shared equal importance with the landscape on the canvas. Tiger in a Tropical Storm is one of Rousseau’s most famous works.
Máh-to-tóh-pa, “Four Bears”
George Caitlin was raised to respect Native American Indians who cared for his mother during her childhood. The lawyer turned artist turned frontier explorer traveled with General William Clark and documented more than one hundred-forty tribes on canvas. Máh-to-tóh-pa or “Four Bears” posed with grace and dignity, according to Caitlin.
Sir William Pepperrell and His Family
From humble beginnings to wealth and back again to poverty, John Singleton Copley was considered to be among the elite of portrait and landscape painters in Boston as well as in London. Sir William Pepperrell and His Family is almost a life-size scale of a prominent Boston family which captures the degree of the family’s wealth.
The Banjo Lesson
As a teenager on a walk, Henry Ossawa Tanner observed a landscape painter and decided then and there to be an artist – despite his color blindness. He was the first full-time black student to enroll in the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. The Banjo Lesson is among Tanner’s most recognizable paintings.
The Stone Breakers
Somewhat of a rebel, French-born Gustave Courbet quickly shifted his law studies to painting where he focused on capturing ordinary people doing everyday tasks. The large scale The Stone Breakers highlights Courbet’s ability using the impasto technique of applying thick paint to the canvas with a knife.
Jean Francois Millet was raised by peasant farmers in Normandy, France, where he enjoyed the beautiful landscape and working on the farm. The Gleaners features three peasant women searching the ground for grain leftover from the recent harvest, hoping to find enough grain for a loaf of bread to feed their family.
The Starry Night
Thanks to his brother, Theo, Vincent van Gogh received financial and emotional support throughout his life. The Starry Night is painted from the vantage point of sitting on the hillside with somewhat an abstracted perspective where three-quarters of the canvas is devoted to the swirling and spiraling stars.
The Water Lily Pond
Claude Monet worked among early Impressionists who painted the same subject matter but varied the light in every rendering. For Monet, air and light were more important than the subject matter. The garden in The Water Lily Pond was planted by Monet on his own property.
Cockroaches and Flowering Pineapple Moth, Larva, Pupa and Beetle on Citron
Maria Sibylla Merian’s passion for research and documentation of insects and their habitats won her the respect of natural scientists. Cockroaches and Flowering Pineapple Moth, Larva, Pupa and Beetle on Citron was one of two paintings reproduced as United States postage stamps.