Celebrating Fathers Day

Here in Australia the first Sunday in September is dedicated to celebrating fathers. Different countries have different dates but today let's give a huge shout out to all the dads around the world.

I have chosen some paintings to commemorate fatherhood. The first is by one of my favourite artists Mary Cassatt (1844-1926).

Portrait of Alexander J. Cassatt and His Son, Robert Kelso Cassatt. 1884 by Mary Cassatt, oil on canvas. Credit: (1)

Mary Cassatt painted the portrait above of her brother Alexander and his
son Robert in 1884, when they came to visit her in Paris. Alexander
Cassatt was a prominent American businessman who became president of the Pennsylvania Railroad...2

Look how close together the father and son are sitting. Their heads
are right next to each other; Rob’s face overlaps his father’s. This
technique highlights how much they resemble each other. Their
reddish hair and wide, oval-shaped faces and their eyes, noses, and
mouths are almost identical. Have you noticed that father and son
face the same direction and that Rob has his left arm around his
father’s shoulder? Their dark clothes merge together to form one
large shape. Father and son were so comfortable with each other
that Cassatt painted them almost as if they were one person with
two heads!... Another technique that Cassatt used was cropping, a term familiar
to us today from photography. She placed the figures so close to us
that Rob’s feet and Aleck’s feet and legs are cropped—we can’t see
them because they are beyond the edges of the painting...

Next we have a delightful painting created in the art nouveau style by Swedish artist Carl Larsson (1853-1919) of his two year old daughter Brita - he had 8 children. Larsson is largely known for his watercolors of idyllic family life most likely because he had a very poor and unhappy childhood.

Brita and I, 1895 by Carl Larsson, Credit: (1)

I am sure all our father's took a few moments to read the daily newspaper - mine certainly did! And apparently so did the father of Paul Cezanne see below reading "L'Événement." in 1866.

The Artist's Father, Reading "L'Événement." 1866 by Paul Cezanne, oil on canvas. Credit: (1)

One of the most delightful images of a father's love of his child was done by two famous artists. In about 1858 Jean-François Millet (1814-1875) created First Steps in black crayon on paper shown below on the left. And then in 1890 Vincent van Gogh recreated the same scene while in Saint Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Saint-Rémy, France where he had admitted himself for treatment of his mental illness. Van Gogh was a great admirer of Jean-François Millet.

Let's conclude our celebration of fathers with a beautiful painting by Israeli artist Shai Yossef of an African father and his daughter. Shai is the father of three children and he has captured in this painting that very special connection that most fathers have with their children.

Father and daughter by Shai Yossef (3)

1. commons.wikimedia.org
2. philamuseum.org
3. shaiyossef.com