Archive for November 6, 2012

Artist of the moment….Edward Potthast….


The artist was best known for his marine paintings of people at leisure mainly taking place at the coastal areas of the eastern United States. He was a great Impressionist painter. Potthast was born in Cincinatti, Ohio in 1857.

In the gallery all paintings by Potthast except the last one painted by C.W. Mundy.

For his artistic education the artist was a student of many. His first mentor was Thomas Noble. Noble hated slavery, yet because he grew up in the south ended up fighting for the Confederate Army. Noble was best known for painting emotion and romance in his works. He lived on a large plantation in the south growing hemp and cotton, Noble saw firsthand the emotions and pitfalls of slavery.


One such painting depicted a fugitive slave mother who had just murdered her offspring rather than send them back to slavery. This painting was inspiration for Toni Morrison to pen the book “Beloved” which was the movie made famous by Oprah Winfrey being the producer and also a lead role.


In this clip, gallery owner Ira Spanierman talks about a work titled “The Shade,” painted by the artist Potthast.

Potthast was known for painting very bright sunny days at the beach with people enjoying themselves. In this clip take notice of his fantastic handling of painting water. The people sure seem happy and appear to be enjoying themselves immensely. Notice the wonderful lighting and the handling of complimentary colors in his coastal paintings.

Potthast worked in oils, ink, crayons, pastels, watercolor, pencil, and chalk.  His highest output was in oils and they range from $1,000 to $1.161 million dollars. Watercolors range from $1,000 to $20,000. Pencils also range from $1,000 to $5,000.  Works in crayon range from $10,000 to $30,000.

The artist reminds me of contemporary artist C.W. Mundy. Mundy has some DVDs out which are very helpful for the plein air painter. For his beach paintings Mundy tends to paint children that are at sea playing with small wooden boats. I would call them the “matchbox” cars or Cabbage Patch kids  of their time. Below is a great example of one of Mundy’s beach paintings.

Potthast  studied with an American expatriate living in Germany named Carl Von Marr. Marr lived in Europe most of his professional life and painted poorer people working the land.

Finally the artist studied with Fernand Cormon. Cormon was highly saught after in France for his paintings as a teacher.  As he was well received for his paintings in his school he helped artist to design and paint works that would be accepted into the Salon. Cormon’s most oustanding talent was painting the female figure.

From all of these great teachers who all achieved a great deal of success professionally, the artist was able to learn to paint a variety of subjects.  The artist was also well schooled in the art of printmaking. Until nearly forty years of age he earned his living as a lithographer.

Potthast passed away in 1927 at the age of seventy.

How about trying to place some figures in your next beach or harbor scene!

Keep painting!