Arthur B. Carles, Woman with Red Hair

Arthur B. Carles: Woman with Red Hair (c. 1922) Oil on canvas
Woman with Red Hair
c. 1922
Oil on canvas
Credit Line
Gift of Linda and James Ries in memory of Rose Ries, 2011
29 3/4 x 27 in.

Arthur B. Carles was born in Philadelphia, PA, and had a great influence on the development of modernism and abstract painting in America. He is best known for his daring use of color and the verve of his personality. A documentary about Carles and his accomplishments can be seen here.

Woman with Red Hair, believed to have been painted in Paris in 1922, is an example of Carles' interest in color play and his fascination with the French movement of Fauvism. He was particularly drawn to the art of Henri Matisse; he may have even been influenced by the colorful skin tones of Matisse's notorious portrait of his wife, Woman with a Hat (1905).  His use of green and purple in his model's skin tone becomes striking against the dominating vibrant red palette. "Woman with Red Hair is the most sensual, sensuously painted, and fully developed portrait Carles painted of his French red-headed model Angele,” says art historian Barbara Wolanin. "Rather than flattening the figure into an abstract composition, Carles artfully caught his model's features in near-profile, showing her drape sliding suggestively off her shoulder."  


(Angele, Carles' model in his studio, shown above)

Carles was an influential instructor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) who embraced the modern age and introduced his students to the work and ideas of the European avant-garde. Of his students, those whose artwork is featured at Woodmere Art Museum include Quita Brodhead, Jane Piper, Faye Swengel Badura, Bernard Badura, Jessie Drew-Bear, Elizabeth Godshalk BurgerMorris Blackburn, and Leon Kelly.

Arthur B. Carles: Philadelphia Artist from Jonnyres on Vimeo.

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