Tag Archives: Carl Marr

Carl Marr… Far from Home

At the young age of 16, Carl Marr left his home and family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to study art abroad in Munich, Germany.  The story goes that this homesick lad had shared his feelings of  sadness with his maid when he left go visit friends for a Christmas eve gathering.  Upon his return, Carl had been beautifully moved by the kind gesture of his maid friend who had set up this tree in hopes to lift the boy’s spirits.  In fact he was so inspired, he set up his easel and recorded the scene for generations to enjoy.  This work of Carl’s has always been one that I have been taken by and when visiting the museum, I make it a point to soak in its ambiance.

Apart from its general beauty, I have noticed several technical things that may be of interest…. Notice that every square inch of the canvas has an influence of red and green in it to balance the harmony.  As he did this from life, it makes seeing all of the color and attaining that  harmony much easier.  In terms of value, notice how much darker the tablecloth is compared to the candle flames.  This is necessary in order for the light effect to read.  In terms of edge, I have taken note of how Carl has softened the “architecture” of the furniture so as to keep the interest on the focal point.

Lastly, included below is a work that I  completed that features a stable or creche that my great-grandfather built for his family many, many years ago.  Enjoy… and Merry Christmas!

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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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