Artwork at the Happy Living House

A Tribute to the Masters

The textile artist Anni Albers once said, “Art is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness!” Here at the Happy Living House, we take that idea to heart. The house is a gallery of happiness. Adorning its walls, you will find our ‘Tribute to the Masters,’ featuring works from six of the greatest artists the world has ever known: Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Henri De Toulouse-lautrec, Rembrandt Van Rijn, Albrecht Durer, and Francisco Goya. Each masterpiece is as unique as it is beautiful; meant to stir the soul, the spirit, and help our guests find their “Happy.”

Each of the pieces has been authenticated as to authorship and date of publication, ranging from as early as 1508 (Goya) and as late as 1950 (Matisse).

We’re delighted to share these wonderful pieces of art history with you to celebrate the pursuit of mastery, to honor these artists, and out of respect for the great body of work each has given to the world.

We ask only that you enjoy them, discuss them, respect them, and take great care to protect them—as if they were your own—during your vacation.

If you’d like to learn more about the six masterpieces on display in the Happy Living House, please continue reading.

‘Meet the Masters’ at Happy Living House

Picasso, Pablo

Vieux Sculpteur au Travail

From The Suite Vollard

1933

153; Ba. 305

10 5/8” x 7 3/4”

Etching on Montval laid paper with Vollard watermark. Signed in pencil, lower right. From the edition of 260 examples (an edition of 50 examples on paper with large margins and 3 examples on parchment vellum also exist). Published by Ambroise Vollard, Paris 1939.

With a folded upper margin.

Picasso’s Suite Vollard ranks among the greatest graphic achievements of the 20th century and is considered Picasso’s masterpiece of etching in suite form.

Ambroise Vollard was one of the greatest art dealers and publishers of the 20th century. Vollard’s early support of legendary masters of modern art such as Cezanne, Renoir, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Rouault, and, of course, Pablo Picasso demonstrates his astute artistic instincts.

Picasso met Vollard in 1901, the same year that he arranged an exhibition of works by the twenty-year-old artist, and in 1902, Vollard showed Picasso’s first “Blue Period” works. Picasso respected Vollard and knew that he had access to many of the wealthy patrons he needed to advance his career. In 1934, when Picasso asked to buy a Renoir and a Cezanne painting from Vollard’s private collection, the dealer instead offered to swap the paintings for a group of one hundred plates – the future Suite Vollard. The set included 97 plates along with three portraits of Vollard.

Yet, the term “suite” is something of a misnomer. La Suite Vollard is more of a compilation assembled by Picasso from seven years’ work that he considered important and which he also thought would appeal to Vollard. The majority of the plates are line etchings (occasionally with drypoint), a technique in which Picasso was especially expert. On several of the plates, Picasso used “sugar-lift” or “lift-ground” aquatint, a variation of etching that allowed him to paint his design directly onto the plate.

The five major themes – The Battle of Love, The Sculptor’s Studio, Rembrandt, The Minotaur, and the portraits of Vollard at first seem disconnected but upon viewing the suite in its entirety one senses a tone throughout. Stylistically most of the images reveal the neo-classical phase of Picasso’s work since Picasso had come into contact with ancient art a year earlier in Rome. This influence was to appear as a dominant theme in his etchings and drawings throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s.

Picasso’s young mistress and muse, Marie-Therese Walter, is at the center of the suite. She is found throughout with her wide, oval face centered by a Roman nose bridging straight from the forehead and crowned with short, cropped hair.

Examples of etchings from La Suite Vollard can be found in important museum collections throughout the world and discussed in nearly every published book or article that deals with Picasso’s graphic oeuvre.

Matisse, Henri

Portrait of a Nude

from ‘Charles D’Orleans Poemes Portfolio’

1950

D. 28

16 3/16” x 10 9/16”

Lithograph in color on Arches paper. From the Charles D’Orleans Poemes Portfolio. Edited by Teriade in 1950, it included 54 lithographic sheets with text on the back. From the total edition of 1200 examples, signed and numbered on the justification page (30 Roman numbered examples also exist).

Charles D’Orleans was born in 1391(?) and died in 1465. A French nobleman and poet, his uncle was Charles the 6th and his son was Louis the 12th. He was captured at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, one of the many campaigns during the Hundred Years War where English bowman under Henry V defeated the French forces under Charles D’Albert. He spent twenty-five years in captivity, spending most of his life in an English prison “or under house arrest”.

He lived during the time of Joan of Arc and Chaucer, and the Battle of Agincourt is immortalized in Shakespeare’s play Henry V.

Matisse, with this suite, paid homage to the man who redefined “elegiac” or mournful, melancholy poetry. (Ovid, the Roman poet, did it 1400 years earlier.) His poems are marked by his taste for personal reflection and introspection. He composed short poems, ballads and rondeaux. It is the rondeau of 12 or 15 verses that he is known for – very close by the shape and the subject to the sonnet which will triumph in the following century. . . by none other than William Shakespeare.

Legend has it that Charles D’Orleans was the first to give a Valentine’s card.

Toulouse-lautrec, Henri De

Jane Hading

1898

Delteil 162; Wittrock 255; Adhemar 168

9 1/4” x 8 3/4”

Crayon lithograph on china paper. Monogram in the stone. From the album, “Treize Lithographies”, comprising thirteen portraits of Parisian actresses and actors. From the first edition before 1906 of about 400 (there was also an edition of 40 published by Les XX, circa 1913).

Published posthumously in 1906.

According to Wittrock, the portfolio, “Portaits d’Acteurs et d’ Actrices: Treize Lithographies” was initially conceived by the English publisher W.H.B. Sands as a book of lithographic portraits and biographical sketches of Parisian actresses and actors.  Although the correspondence between Sands and Toulouse-Lautrec mentions the project as early as 1896, the execution of the project did not begin until 1898.

The resulting product, an album of thirteen images (instead of the thirty originally planned) was not published by Sands, and the details concerning the publisher and publication date and printing remains unclear; although, Adhemar mentions that the album was offered in 1906 with this information coming from the Sagot archives.

Jane Hading (1859-1933) was a French actress whose real name was Jeanne Alfredine Trefouret. She was born in Marseille where her father was an actor in the Gymnase.

She was locally trained at the Conservatoire and began working in 1873 for the theater at Algiers and afterwards for the Khedivial Theatre in Cairo where she played the coquette, soubrette and ingenue.

She had a beautiful voice, and she returned to Marseille where she sang operetta and acted with Ruy Blas, a leading actor of the day.

Her debut in Paris was in “La Chaste Suzanne” at the Palais Royal, and in 1883 she has great success a the Gymnase in “Le Maitre de Forges” with Jacque Damala.

In 1888 she toured the United States with “Coquelin” and on her return to the Vaudeville in Paris, she starred in Lavedan’s “Prince d’Aurec”.

Her reputation as one of the leading actresses of the day was firmly established in France, America and England with a repertoire that included Capus’, “La Chatelaine”, Donnay’s, “Retour de Jerusalem”, Dumas’, “La Princesse Georges” and Bergerat’s, “Plus que Reine”.

Rembrandt Van Rijn

Christ and the Woman of Samaria: Among Ruins (Millennium)

1634

4 11/16″ x 4 3/16″

Etching on Ingres d’Arches off-white laid paper (watermark) with large margins. Signed and dated in the plate (upper right). The second state according to Bjorklund, the fourth state according to Nowell-Usticke. A 20th/21st Century impression printed by Marjorie Van Dyke. From the ‘Millennium’ edition limited to 2500 examples.

This superbly printed etching with strong contrasts, selective wiping and velvety tone, was pulled from the original plate as created by Rembrandt in 1634. The plate, formerly in the collection of Dr. Robert Lee Humber (along with 77 other original Rembrandt etching plates) had been on loan to the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, N.C. since the early 1960’s.

Upon Dr. Humber’s death in 1970, his heirs sold the collection of plates to museums throughout the world, and a select group of private collectors in 1993. The late master printer, Emiliano Sorini spent two years proofing the plate for this etching and along with Marjorie Van Dyke carefully studied various states and proofs of the etchings created from the plate of “Christ and the Woman of Samaria Among Ruins.” This experience provided Ms. Van Dyke, who eventually took over the project, the knowledge and insight to create impressions from the copper plate and gave her direct observation of the dry-point and burin lines, burrs and subtle nuances of the copper plates that Rembrandt had etched.

In creating this impression, Ms. Van Dyke commented, “Because of Rembrandt’s mastery of the chiaroscuro technique imparted to him by the work of Caravaggio, careful attention has been paid to the lights and darks of the copper plates to avoid any over-wiping which may render the images more stark than Rembrandt intended. . ..  I feel as though we have been granted an opportunity to conduct a dialog with Rembrandt, and have adhered faithfully to Rembrandt’s intent, vision and printing technique.”

Consequently, as a result of the expertise and delicate and painstaking work of Ms. Van Dyke and Emiliano Sorini, this impression surpasses in richness, quality and subtlety the impressions pulled from the plate in the last two centuries by the previous owners.

In this dramatic Biblical scene created with strong shadows and contrast, Rembrandt depicts the moment that Jesus revealed himself as the Messiah to the Woman of Samaria. According to the Gospel of John, Christ and his Apostles stopped in Samaria on their way from Judea to Galilee and rested by Jacob’s well near the town of Sychar. While Jesus was resting alone, a Samarian woman came to the well to fetch water and Jesus asked the woman to give Him a drink. Jesus revealed that He was the Messiah, and told the woman that “whosover drinketh of the water I shall give them shall never thirst and have everlasting life.”

This story is also the subject of another etching by Rembrandt, a drawing, and three paintings.

Rembrandt’s Biblical subjects comprise a substantial portion of his etching oeuvre. They have traditionally been some of the most desirable among collectors for centuries and were innovative for their time in the manner in which they reveal Christ’s interaction with the people of His time.

Durer, Albrecht

Betrayal of Christ

(The Kiss of Judas)

from ‘The Small Passion’

circa 1508-1510

B.27; M. 136

5 1/8” x 4”

Woodcut on laid paper with full margins. Signed in the plate with the monogram of the artist lower right. An impression from the Latin text edition of 1511, with text by Benedict Schwalbe.

One of thirty-six woodcuts from ‘The Small Passion.’

Originally, Durer illustrated the cycle with the text by Benedict Schwalbe (Benedict Chelidonius) who died in 1521. Benedict was also a friend of Willibald Pirckheimer (who was Durer’s life-long friend) and a Benedictine theologian from a nearby monastery.

‘The Small Passion’ cycle is Durer’s longest series of woodcuts and the best known of his series during the sixteenth century.

The woodcuts were designed with a simpler, more direct treatment of subjects and they were executed in a more uniform style.

Thirty-five of the wood blocks of ‘The Small Passion’ cycle were acquired by the British Museum in 1839. The frontispiece, The Man of Sorrows (B.16, M.125) is the only wood block that is not in existence.

Goya, Francisco

El Mismo Vuelca un Toro en la Plaza de Madrid

(The Same Man Throws a Bull in the Ring at Madrid)

La Tauromaquia Plate 16

1816

D. 239; H. 219

9 7/8” x 13 7/8”

Etching, burnished aquatint and burin on fine laid paper with “Fortuna” watermark by van Gelder Zonen. From the fourth edition, printed in 1905.

La Tauromaquia was originally comprised of 33 prints and illustrates the art of bullfighting in Spain. The third edition, however, included seven previously “rejected plates,” making the set comprise of 40 prints.

La Tauromaquia is believed to have been executed between 1814 and 1816. The first 13 prints depict the evolution of bullfighting under the Arab rule of Spain, from the 8th to the 15th centuries. They also include important Spanish Christian knights, heroes and kings such as El Cid and Emperor Charles V, showing their courage and ability in the bullring.

In the remaining 20 prints of the series, Goya moves away from the interpretation of historical events to focus on the present. He illustrates different parts of the bullfight and features famous contemporary bullfighters, bandelleros and picadores. These prints are more lively, dynamic, and detailed—reflecting the artist’s preference for recording contemporary Spanish society rather than historical events.

According to Harris, there are, “Seven additional plates prepared for the Tauromaquia Series and first published by Loizelet in 1876 under the letters A-G”.

Literature cited:

“Goya Engravings and Lithographs” by Tomas Harris Volume II Catalogue Raisonne

396267

Renoir, Pierre-auguste

Femme nue

(also known as ‘Baigneuse Assise’)

1919

D., S. 11

8 3/4” x 5 1/2”

Softground etching on velin d’Arches paper. Signed in the plate lower right and upper left. From the book, “La Vie et l’Oeuvre de Pierre Auguste Renoir (The Life and Work of Pierre Auguste Renoir),” by Ambroise Vollard. From the edition of 375 examples on velin d’Arches paper (100 examples on Japon Imperial and 525 examples on tinted paper also exist).

“La Vie et l’Oeuvre de Pierre Auguste Renoir” was published by Ambroise Vollard in 1919 and included 264 pages with a table of contents and a glossary index, along with 51 heliogravure reproductions, a lithograph and an etching.