Everett Shinn - Nightclub Scene (1934)
Henricus Antonius "Han" van Meegeren - The Actress Clara Vischer-Blaaser in a Tea Room (1927-1932)
My selections for today's December Double are an intriging pair. In both 'Nightclub Scene' by American painter Everett Shinn and 'The Actress Clara Vischer-Blaaser in a Tea Room' by Dutch painter Henricus Antonius "Han" van Meegeren, our attention is immediately drawn to a woman seated alone at a table, presumably waiting for her company to return, if they haven't arrived already. Although Shinn's painting was executed as an environmental scene and Van Meegeren's painting as a more traditional portrait, they each resonate the same with me, as the two women exhibit a strikingly familiar body language and also appear comfortable with their position alone in these busy, social environments.
That said, these two scenes are rendered drastically different from one another, with 'Nightclub' presenting a much darker palette, creating an alluring, dramatic appeal. Van Meegeren's portrait supplies less information within its background, effectively maintaining our attention on the subject, and I like the luminescence of the table lights, which charge the scene with a ghostly quality.
Between these two works, I prefer 'Nightclub' for its artistry. After all, Shinn was a member of the Ashcan School, and his style owes much to realism, so it's only natural that I side with his work. That said, when I selected Van Meegeren's portrait I was unaware of the artist's significance, as he's remembered as the infamous 20th forger who specialized in coping works from the Dutch Golden Age. His portrait I selected for today's December Double was apparently an original by him. Not bad, considering.