Title of Paper : fricke collectionGrade Received on Report : BThe Fricke CollectionLady Meux v. Frances DuncombeDonated by the Fricke family is a collection housed on fifth avenue, ranging from sculptures and paintings, to furniture of renowned artists. Paintings in particular, such as, Whistler’s, Lady Meux and Gainsborough’s, Frances Duncombe, are classic examples of subtle yet provocative feminist portrayals. The initial impact of these illustrations is a combination of the surface imagery and the abstract artistic message conveying politics, religion or personal bias.Artist’s attention to detail on these portrait’s surface, captures likeness but focusessetting through richness of color and poise into character personality.When contrasting and comparing two paintings of distinct styles of select eras, conflicting perceptions are created.
Whistler’s, Lady Meux and Gainsborough’s Frances Duncombe both exhibit similar themes however were dissimilar in character composure, panoramic setting, and mood representation. In contrasting the portraits, confrontational and vulnerable personalities are clearly visible.These separate presentations are outlined through Whistler’s Lady Meux’s determined expression and Gainsborough’s Frances Duncombes subtle sidelong distracted look.Lady Meux exhibits simple confidence and independence in her concrete and firm stance, as opposed to Duncombe’s fragile andelegant unsteady footing.Gainsborough captures a complacent vulnerabilityperhaps suggesting innocence.Whistler on the other hand, illustrates a more dramatic impact through the direct gaze of Lady Meux’s expressive eyes which both dare and humble the viewer.Both artists, conveniently shape the central figures by positioning them in creative scenery. In each instance, the artist chooses a particular backdrop to heighten or diminish the central figure.
The scenery casts certain illusionistic differences that create the sensation of depth and solidarity.Lady Meux commands attention as her profile encourages the viewer to step closer and absorb the scene intimately.This portrait uses opaque colors of greys and pinks to bring out the subject’s features, however the scope casts a dreariness about the piece.In Frances Duncombe, Gainsborough is careful in surrounding her in an arboreal landscape, due to the size of the natural scene, the central figure is amplified.The shadows in the piece engulf the regal subject, perhaps alluding to her place in society, as a solitary figure in an ambiguous or precarious state.The obscured details of the trees, sunset, and faded classical architecture seem to melt against Duncombe.The shadowed effect forces the viewer to step backa sufficient distance to view the painting in it’!s entirety.The artist purposely decreases Frances Duncombe’s features as if he intended to enhance the details of her ornate costume instead of the subject herself.
In addition to the backdrop, the artist draws focus thru light and darkness to impress a mood.Both pieces shroud each figure in obscure shadowy scenes but draw light from the model itself. Whistler, chose colors such as grey, pink, and flat white, that downplays the heightened glow of her outfit.Gainsborough’s piece illustrates ashen browns, olives, creams and azure blues in earthy tones to create a sense of mystery.
This portrait, unlike Whistler’s Lady Meux, uses light tones to capture Frances Duncombe’s milky white flesh.This central figure is ghostly in complection as opposed to Whistler’s painting.Lady Meux appears healthy in comparison, andshifts the mood by adding a slight pouty expression.
In short, these artists transcend our response into intense contrasting manipulations.Each piece shares like and contrastingelements, either in Lady Meux’s well endowed form to Duncombes delicate figure or the satin pink tresses to the satin teal folds of Duncombe’s costume.Both artists incorporate the abstract as well as shadow and light that either enhances or detracts the femme fatale.On close examination, each work exhibits calculated strokes that deliver a balanced arrangement of color variations. The significance of the subject’s status quo, is hinted by each artist, however the possibilities for interpretations are endless, be it the representation of female appreciation or contrasting inferior bias.In all instances, the viewer takes with him a primal effect that will continue to last.