A look at the design, market and legacy of Victorian pottery

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Art of Majolica: Janet Fish

I was scanning one of our reader's Facebook pages earlier today and was so excited to see a painting by my favorite contemporary representational painter on there featuring majolica.
The Facebook page belonged to dealer Black-eyed Susan and the painting is by Janet Fish.

I have loved Janet Fish's work since seeing a large show of it in the late 1970's. Back then she was considered one of a new wave of young, brave photo realists, trying to reclaim figural art for the representationalist painters. The abstractionists who had dominated the form for most of the Twentieth Century. In retrospect they weren't terribly successful. As fabulous as the work of Fish, Close and other photo realists can be, art since then has become more abstract and even more conceptual in nature.
That shouldn't stop us however from enjoying the glorious work of this fabulous artist.

Fish was always most famous for her handling of transparent forms like the one below. In the painting with majolica she does not disappoint.

A pale aqua depression era glass dessert stand sits alone on a brightly colored tablecloth. To the side is a Fielding insect and fern pitcher.  Like in all of Fish's work, you can practically feel the warmth of the sun on the objects.

It seems that Fish had a yellow or brown example of this pitcher and toned down the bright colors to better match the surrounding tonality of the pastel tablecloth because I have never seen that pitcher so pale before. Still it's nice to see a recognizable form handled in such a beautiful way.

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