Saturday, April 25, 2015

Hanna Pauli, Breakfast Time

Hanna Pauli, Breakfast Time, 1887
36 x 34 in.

Hanna Hirsch-Pauli (1864-1940) was a Swedish painter who played a major role in the Scandinavian art scene of the late 1800s.  She was born in Stockholm and attended the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts there.  Like many Scandinavian artists at the time, her work combines elements of Impressionism and Realism.  Among her best known works is her portrait of sculptor Venny Soldan.  The piece shows a realistic style and sensibility and and extremely nuanced rendering of Soldan.  The portrait was accepted to the Paris Salon in 1887.  That same year Hirsch married Georg Pauli.  The home they made together became a gathering place for the leading Swedish cultural figures of the day.  Breakfast Time is probably Pauli's most famous painting.  It features soft, layered brushwork and warm, rich textures.  The painting features an unusual composition, where the well-appointed table becomes the focus of the piece and the single figure recedes into the background.  The painting skillfully combines still-life, portrait, and landscape to create a very complex painting.  Another interesting element is the use of light; the sun shines through the trees to create a dappled effect that instills the viewer with the feeling of shade on a warm day.  The light glints on the tea kettle and other features of the spread, while again casts the woman into shadow.  Pauli is demonstrating the way in which this woman, apparently a server, becomes a feature of the breakfast herself.  Meanwhile the finely rendered landscape is brightly lit, creating an effect of the wide and beautiful landscape that lies just beyond the picture space.

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