Summertime is just beginning here in New Orleans. It’s not too steamy yet, but we’re on our way. Surprisingly enough, I am looking forward to it.
With the heat of summer comes a fun-loving attitude, which is why I would like to introduce you to my new favorite painting. It’s an arresting portrait that is full of a vibrancy and instantly commands the attention of everyone in the room. Crafted with the technical precision and observational prowess that made the works of Émile Friant some of the most desirable of the early 20th century, The Familiar Birds is absolutely breath-taking. Despite the obvious qualities that would assumedly draw attention, it is the sitter’s warm smile and bright eyes that truly captivate one’s focus. Featuring a semi-nude girl surrounded by exotic birds, the artist captures perfectly the mirthful expression on his subject’s face. The young girl’s pose--with arms akimbo and sparkling eyes--lends personality to the painting and fills the canvas with a carefree, joyous air. Also, please note the thieving bird who has stolen her shoe and attempts to quickly hightail it out of the frame.
A native of Nancy in northeastern France, Friant displayed a talent for art from a young age. He debuted at only fifteen years old at the the Nancéienne Salon des Amis des Arts exhibition, an event which both proved his talent and earned him great notoriety. Within a few years, Friant was one of the most sought-after portraitists, fulfilling commissions for patrons such as artist Georges Jeanniot and sculptor Ernest Bussière. His talents as a portrait artist, and the increasing influence of the Dutch Masters on his art, are evident in viewing The Familiar Birds. Hallmarks of Dutch portraiture, concentration upon everyday subjects and a special attention to the treatment of light and perspective, elevate this painting to new levels as a knockout stunning work by a great artist.
Émile Friant’s renown as a gifted portrait artist make this offering an exciting opportunity for any lover of art. Between the vibrant colors, light-hearted composition, beautiful woman and fantastic artist, it would truly be a wonderful addition to anyone’s collection that would lift your spirit for many years to come. After all, life is to enjoy!