I’ve been trying very, very hard not to write about Covid on Nice and Easel. I’d like it to be a haven from the bummer that is coronavirus. But the day has come that I am doing a pandemic post… with a twist! I’d like to write about the silver lining lacing our corona cloud: the awesome art that will come from artists in quarantine. Because when school/work/life is canceled? Art is not. Did we learn nothing from Taylor Swift’s “Folklore” album? That’s just the tip of the iceberg. We are going to be swimming in amazing art. Below are a few examples of some art made during the Spanish flu era. 

Edvard Munch had the Spanish flu and lived to paint about it. This was right up his alley. He enjoyed (maybe not the right word?) painting scenes of illness, as seen in The Sick Child. I love that he did a self-portrait during his illness and one after. A pictorial diary of affliction. For more on Munch, check out this Nice and Easel post from 2018.
Self-Portrait With the Spanish Flu. Didn’t we see a similar expression elsewhere….?

Self-Portrait After the Spanish Flu. Like right after, I presume.

Meanwhile, in France, Renoir was laboring through the pandemic. (There is no record of him having the Spanish flu perse, though he was chronically ill.) In the midst of war and illness, he created The Bathers. Critics absolutely tore it apart at the time, not doing anything for his spirits, I’m sure, but we get the benefit of its beauty now, a hundred years later. Critics thought the women were too big (I’m throwing shade, critics. Gimme a break.) and too pink. As a rather “pink” person myself I’m tres offended, as they say in France. 
The Bathers. Pretty in pink, if  you ask me.

I am newly fascinated by the incredible Marc Chagall. His surrealism is just on the cusp of believable, his colors are vibrant and beautiful, and of course… he did some of his best work during the Spanish flu, which hit Russia (his home at the time) as hard as the U.S. His work cheers me, though it was made during universally low moral. Here are two paintings that I particularly love. 
Wedding. Cupid’s red, heart-shaped wings? LOVE!

Over the Town. I think we’ve all wanted this escape at one time or another in 2020.

Friends, we will see the other side of this pandemic! And when we do, we can look forward to a bumper crop of incredible art. History says so!

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