Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Nicolai Fechin Painting - "Reading the Newspaper, the Artist's Father"

During our museum hopping in Washington D.C., Kimberly and I were lucky enough to find this small yet dramatic painting by Nicolai Fechin on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery.

It’s currently in their visible storage collection, meaning that all of the paintings are crowded together in glass cases, but there are some real gems to be found there.

What strikes me most about this painting is the consistency of paint texture throughout the piece. There is no deviation in the approach to painting the face vs. the body or even the background. 

"The artist must never forget that he is dealing with the entire canvas and not with any one section of it. Regardless of what he sets out to paint, the problem remains one and the same: with his own creative originality, he must fill in the canvas and make of it an organic whole." - Nicolai Fechin

Painting photos by Saunders Fine Arts.

"Reading the Newspaper, the Artist’s Father"
• Nicolai Fechin 
• 1916 
• Oil on Canvas 
• 17"5/8x14"

Fechin makes no attempt to smooth out or stylize the face. He paints exactly what is before him in terms of lights, darks and colors.

The same applies to the hand. No over rendering is needed, as this would simply draw too much attention to it, and yet it reads perfectly as it grips the newspaper. Even with this lack of detail, we still get a sense of the years Ivan Fechin's hands have worked as a master wood craftsman.

© Patrick and Kimberly Saunders, Patrick Saunders Fine Arts, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s authors/owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Patrick Saunders for painted works, or to Kimberly Saunders for photographs and/or videos, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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