The work of Gabriel von Max is currently on exhibition at the Frye Art Museum. I am shamed to admit my art degree let me down, because I didn't know of von Max's work until I went to see it at the Frye. I'm going to be a little punk and say that (pre-modernist) oil painting in general bores me. A whole lot of nude women appeasing the male gaze (Laura Mulvey what what!), sunlit vistas, biblical stuff, and rich people's horses/dogs. So, I went to the von Max show mostly because I wanted something to do that was somewhat enriching and the admission to the Frye is free. It was the best uneducated decision I've made in a while. I fell in love with his work. I've never seen skin tones on a canvas that glow like his do. The eyes of his subjects, oh the eyes!
take a look at some of his work after the jump
Von Max also studied Darwinism, Spirtism, parapsychology, and kept and studied capuchin monkeys. The influence of these varied fascinations can definitely be seen in his work. These influences combined with his incredible technical talent make for paintings that, even when they depict traditional oil painting subjects like saints (see Die ekstatische Jungfrau Katharina Emmerich below), are so compelling they changed my opinion about oil painting. If you ever have the chance to see one of his paintings in real life go do it! These internet reproductions in no way capture the amazing sensuality of paintings, but it's the best I could do. The show at the Frye runs through October.
Die ekstatische Jungfrau Katharina Emmerich 1885
Der Anatom (The Anatomist), 1869
Study for Ein Vaterunser (Our Father) 1887