Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Seeing Red Again

[Image of Fredrix's unprimed raw linen canvas via Rebel Art Supplies. For an Atlanta source, visit Binders.]

[Photo my own]

[Vintage Swiss Army blanket recycled as a bag by Helveticus. BTW, Selvedge, issue 43, includes a story about these authentic wool blankets and companies, such as Helveticus, re-inventing them as pillows, bags, and more.] 

I think the universe wants me to consider some sort of red trim for my DIY trunk. Things with dashes of red keep crossing my path. 

[Stained wooden tags mentioned in the previous post. Photo my own]

Much as I love red, though, I've already gone way beyond Lady Juliet Duff's suggested touch of red in every room. So, I'll probably go with olive-green webbing or brown leather. But in the meantime, it's fun to look. 

[Henrietta De Beaulieu Dering Johnston, American (ca. 1674 - 1729), Henriette Charlotte Chastaigner (Mrs. Nathaniel Broughton), 1711, pastel on paper, 11 7/10 x 9 inches, gift of Victor A. Morawetz, Gibbes Museum of Art.]

Take, for example, Henrietta Johnston's 18th-century portrait of Henriette Charlotte Chastaigner. Done almost entirely in shades of dove, pearl, and silvery-brown, the small pastel is shot through with a bit of deep, rich red -- the curving ribbon in the sitter's hair. This portrait is currently on view in the Gibbes's major fall exhibition, Breaking Down Barriers: 300 Years of Women in Art.

Johnston is remarkable for many reasons, one being that she is known as the first professional female artist in the U.S. For her, portrait painting was more than a genteel pastime or means of creative expression; it was financial survival. As noted in the Gibbes's interactive micro-site, she was born to French parents but marriage led her to Ireland. Widowhood and re-marriage to a clergyman took her further away to South Carolina. As a wife, mother, and ultimately as a widow again, self-sufficient Johnston used her earnings from portrait painting to keep her family afloat.  Happily for modern Charleston, today the Gibbes owns the largest public collection of her work.

Also included in show are abstract expressionist Corrie Parker McCallum, photographer Margaret Bourke-White, MacArthur Fellow and fiber artist Mary Jackson, globe-trekking Charleston Renaissance printmaker Anna Heyward Taylor, contemporary artist Jill Hooper, and renown 18th-century painter Angelica Kauffman.

More of interest: Women at Work.


My Dog-Eared Pages said...

The universe has been giving me red signals as well, lately! I love the Henrietta Johnston pastel of HCC. The ribbon is wonderful. Wish I could see the exhibition at the Gibbes!

TSL said...

I am certain Johnston would be amazed at how many women rely on art sales today to pay their bills. Interesting to compare the delicate hatchings in the red ribbon to the heavier work in the skin. Lovely work, lovely post.

Style Court said...

Tina -- thanks and ...absolutely. She'd be blown away. I like how the softer pinkish hue of the cheeks and medium red of the mouth echos the ribbon.

Jeff said...

One of my yearly traditions, as winter approaches, is to turn up the red quotient in unexpected places in our home. Not so much in the spirit of Christmas, but to brighten a long, dark season here in the northeast. Great piece.

Style Court said...

Jeff, I love the warmth of red. Over the weekend I was re-reading one of Mary Randolph Carter's books -- she mentions the day her husband brought home red tapers. Previously she was strictly a white candle woman, but the warm shades ended up looking wonderful in her candelabra.

Style Court said...

Barbara -- you'd love this show!