Charles Courtney Curran (1861–1942): Lotus Lilies, 1888

Charles Courtney Curran (1861–1942): Lotus Lilies, 1888

8/5/2021, 8:36:16 PM
Charles Courtney Curran (1861–1942): Lotus Lilies, 1888, oil on canvas, 45.7 x 81.3 cm (17.9 x 32 in), Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago Towards the end of the 19th century, at a time of unprecedented economic and industrial growth in the United States, artists increasingly turned to the subject of genteel leisure. Here, in Charles Courtney Curran’s Lotus Lilies, nestled among the lotuses, the two women are in harmony with the landscape. No sign of labor or exertion intrudes on the tranquil scene. Although Lotus Lilies predates Curran’s first trip to France in 1889, it demonstrates his awareness of the emerging aesthetic of impressionism. Like many Americans experimenting in the new mode, he tempered bold color and free brushwork with tight academic drawing and a balanced composition. The sky is bright with the heat of a summer day, but the women are protected from the glare by hats, diaphanous veils, and a large green parasol. The woman on the right leans out of its shade to pluck lotus blossoms, which are gathered in the lap of her companion sheltering under the parasol aglow with transmitted light. (Terra Museum of American Art)

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