New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut
New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut. Gift of the Estate of George Deem, 2013. Accession Number 2013.54.27
| Artist's Notes
Del Sarto, Canaletto, Titian, 1995 Del Sarto, Canaletto, Titian quotes three paintings in the collection of the National Gallery in London. Andreas del Sarto's Portrait of aYoung Man (1517) and Titian's Portrait of a Man (1512) are mirror images of each other. When I put the two figures back to back in an oil study on paper, I liked the resulting image -- the battle of the sleeves, the eyes following the viewer. But I preferred a vertical composition that would retain the format of a portrait. A third painting in the National Gallery's collection gave me my unifying image: Venice: PiazzaSan Marco (after 1756) by Canaletto. I also enjoyed the art-historical pleasantry of moving the Florentine painter Del Sarto to Venice for his meeting with the Venetian master Titian.
The sitter in Titian's Portrait of a Man rests his arm on a stone ledge, a parapet which defines the picture plane and locates the figure behind it. I have replaced Titian's stone ledge with a wood sill into which I have carved the names of the three painters whose works I have quoted: Del Sarto Canaletto Titian. (George Deem, How To Paint A Vermeer: A Painter's History of Art, Thames & Hudson, New York, 2004).
Del Sarto Canaletto Titian ... has started me on a new series of paintings. The first was The Studio of Jacques Louis David, a big 70 by 58 inch painting with figures from Corot to Degas sitting about in David's studio. The second painting is The National Gallery, Washington, with figures from paintings in the collection assembled around the fountain in the rotunda of the National Gallery and with a Fantin-Latour still life up front. I am now working on The Museé D'Orsay, Paris. It too will be a 70 by 58 inch canvas, the same size as the others, a suitable museum-size format. (George Deem, letter to Patricia Williams, November 29, 1996).