Category Archives: Art Education

Adoration of the Christ Child by Carl Marr


The story goes that this magnificent work by Carl Marr was deteriorating in damp storage at the University of Berkeley, California before it was recently given the light of day and beautifully restored.  Now on permanent display at the Wisconsin Museum of Art, this painting (just guessing, roughly 8′ x 14′), is an excellent example of Mr. Marr’s incredible ability to capture light.  The artist’s lyrical arrangement of the heads of the numerous angels has also captivated me as I have studied the work.  The positive and negative interplay of shapes is exquisite as well as the warm and cool dance that was employed to turn the forms.  Notice the cooling of tone at the top and back of the heads which creates greater dimension by rounding the head with temperature.  This is truly a great work of Carl’s and will always be a favorite of mine.  However, his magnum opus, ” The Flagellants”, is an even greater achievement of design and scale, which I hope to share with you when I can photograph it upon re-installation in the new museum… until then, I am glad you are enjoying his work as much as I have.



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Spoon fed by Carl Von Marr…

As I promised a few posts back, I would like to share with you the work of Carl Von Marr (1858-1936), American artist born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who studied and spent most of his professional life in Munich, Germany.  Growing up 10 miles from the museum that had a grand collection of a hundred or so Marr’s had a significant impact on my sensibilities as an artist.  I have greatly admired his amazing draftsmanship as he displayed his talents in so many different styles from the highly realistic, academic approach to the more impressionistic works of late in his career.  Perhaps his greatest strength, in my opinion, was his ability to capture a convincing effect of light, whether it be the mysterious quality of twilight light,  the blazing sun, or the soft natural effect of descending, cool studio light.  In my formative years as all of this was new, I would spend hours in front Carl’s works, absorbing all I could of his dramatic compositions of multiple figures intertwined with sensitive tonal transitions.  I would copy them, draw them, or study them to see how he might handle an area in a painting that I was currently struggling with.  The Wisconsin Museum of Art, located in West Bend, Wisconsin, which houses this great collection is currently poised to rebuild its museum to display his works on an even grander scale.  If you are ever in the Midwest on travels, this museum is a “must see” for art lovers.

The following works are a few examples of Carl’s diverse group of works that spans several decades.  More works will follow in the weeks to come…Stay tuned.


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