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Showing posts from January 15, 2017


I saw the painting across the room and was awe struck.  As I ventured closer, I thought perhaps it was by the famed artist Lester Johnson.  Johnson was noted as a figurative expressionist and a second generation of the New York School.  And like Johnson, Jeffrey Russell Ryerson in this painting, lent vigor and force to his human heads.  The painting is so crowded with stylized men in a frieze like arrangement that the figures expand to the edges and make the men appear to be compressed into a small space.  Unlike Johnson, Ryerson uses bright colors in this painting; pinks, reds, and white on a muted mauve blue background.  The painting consists of watercolor and thick gouache on paper.
The painting’s linear silhouettes of men come across in a turbulent fashion appearing in a confused mass.  The brush strokes used by Ryerson become a skein of lines that outline the interwoven faces.  Perhaps they are Jesus’ apostles gathered after the ascension or a crowded subway scene. We are not sure…

Rae Ferren (1929-2016) Impressionistic American Artist

AKA Rae Tonkel Ferren / Mrs. John Ferren

Rae Ferren was inspired by the impressionistic style that started in France.  It is most easy to compare her work with the likes of Claude Monet.  In the landscape below, entitled “Pondview” Springs, NY, she matches up with Monet’s “Morning on the Seine Near Giverny” which was painted in 1897 and currently hangs in the Metropolitan Museum. I encourage you to Google Monet’s painting to fully understand the comparisons as well as the contrasts.  

In Monet’s paintings of the river Seine in Paris, Argenteuil, and V├ętheuil where the river emptied into the English Channel, he uses a softness, with a pinkish mauve, cool lavenders, and greens, that Ferren knows how to match.  Again, Monet uses almost symmetrical reflections that requires us to examine the painting more closely.  Same with the Ferren painting.

Ferren found inspiration in Monet’s stippling and dabbing technique with the paint brush.  Additionally, the brilliant colors used raw from the pa…