I started Atelier Juno in large part because I love exploring designs and styles from ages past. Sourcing vintage and vintage-inspired artwork is a real delight for me. And portraits are my favorite vintage genre. The clothes, hairstyles, expressions, poses, backdrops – they all tell us so much about the artwork’s particular time and place. Most of all, though, I’m enamored with the fact that these were real people. They had names, parents, friends, enemies, loves, passions, fears. Petty rivalries. Grand plans.
I was musing on Instagram that vintage portraits would make fabulous short story writing prompts, wouldn’t they? I’d love to read stories about the people depicted in the latest vintage portrait prints I’ve added to the shop.
When I source vintage artwork, I look to capture a range of color palettes, subjects, and styles so there’s something for every decor style. And as ever, our vintage portraits are printed on archival-quality paper and inks and have been digitally enhanced from high-resolution files for maximum quality, and are priced affordably so you can start building your dream art collection.
‘Yellow Sofa’ | 8×10, 9×12, 16×20
An elegant woman languidly reclines on a sofa in this 1910 oil painting by Spanish artist Joaquín Sorolla. She is perfectly beguiling, and she happens to be the artist’s wife, Clotilde, a frequent portrait sitter. Here she’s seen a little older: confident, self-assured, and utterly bourgeoisie. Comparisons have been made between this portrait and John Singer Sargent’s portraits of high society, and I can certainly see why. Similar periods, brushstrokes, and composition. This one is potentially my favorite of the new bunch of portraits, although it’s also somewhat impossible to choose!
‘French Girl’ | 8×10, 9×12
I chose this 1888 painting by Van Gogh because I love the color palette. This particular combination of brick red, cobalt blue, fiery orange, and spearmint is so inspiring to me; I want to design an entire room around these colors. The subject is also delightful. This little girl from Provence sits so primly in her chair, with her tailored striped jacket, red hair ribbon, and bunch of freshly-picked oleanders. Van Gogh wrote that this painting was one of a group of portrait studies that were “the only thing in painting that excites me to the depths of my soul, and which makes me feel the infinite more than anything else.” For French country style decor, it’s hard to imagine a more charming piece of art.
‘Bordeaux Sergeant’ | 5×7, 8×10, 11×14
Similar to ‘French Girl,’ this portrait features the color scheme indelibly tied with France in my mind: cobalt blue, brick red accents, and splashes of golden yellow. These primary colors always uplift my spirits; they’re the visual equivalent of the Marseillaise’s bright and triumphal tune. How appropriate, then, that this portrait depicts a French military sergeant. It was painted in the early 1900s by Albert Marquet, who is generally known for his landscapes and panorama paintings (like our ‘French Seaside’ print). I think this portrait would look very cool decorating a cafe or coffee shop, or in an eclectic gallery wall.
‘Spanish Child’ | 5×7, 8×10
Another portrait by Sorolla, I was drawn to this one because the child is about the same age as my own child, and the childlike expression is captured so well. I can hear this little boy pointing at objects all around the painter’s studio asking, “que es eso?” In fact this is the painter’s own son, and the child of the woman in ‘Yellow Sofa.’ This portrait, ‘Spanish Child’, would make a magnificent addition to a gallery wall of “adopted” family members, perhaps adorning a staircase or a dining room. Or you could spin a story about how the portrait was left behind with the house, uncovered in the attic.
‘Dressing Gown II’ | 8×10, 11×14
This c. 1915 portrait is the shop’s second to feature this model, Edna Smith. Both were painted by Robert Henri. In ‘Dressing Gown I‘, the green backdrop is highly saturated; this version is muted and feels more intimate. As usual, I was drawn to this artwork because of the colors; orange and green are a lovely combination when done well. I’m also intrigued by the relationship between the painter and the subject. Edna is so beautiful, and her attire and pose are so intimate. I’d love to know the story behind this stunning artwork. This warm portrait would look lovely in a bedroom, bathroom, or dressing room.
‘Frederick Douglass’ | 8×10, 9×12, 16×20
This portrait of Frederick Douglass is wonderfully composed. The brown and black color palette lends seriousness; the sitter’s demeanor is stately and serious. It was painted around 1845 and the artist, unfortunately, is unknown. Douglass was born into slavery in 1818 and escaped in 1838, and this would have been painted just seven years after he made his perilous journey toward freedom. He clearly made an enormous impact on the public in that short time, as evidenced by even the existence of this portrait; his writings contributed invaluable first-hand accounts of slavery that raised broader awareness and activism. In addition to its historical significance, this is a visually pleasing and uplifting work of art. It would look wonderful in a dining room, entry way, or study.
‘At University’ | 8×10, 11×14
‘At University’ uses a similar muted palette of browns and earth tones to convey seriousness of subject. Here, a young man is painted in profile. A classical bust in the background connotes academia and scholarship. True to life, this painting shows Van Wyck Brooks, an American literary critic, just a year after his graduation from Harvard. The white flower in the sitter’s label lends a debonair touch, and overall it’s a wonderful example of 1909 sensibilities, a period called the Gilded Age in the United States and the Edwardian era in Britain. It would look wonderful in a library, study, office, or retro bachelor pad.