Tag Archives: Robert Thelonious Panda

Episode 4: The Case of the Picturesque Panda

Yes, we are back with episode 4 of The Case of the Picturesque Panda. If you’ve missed the first three episodes, you can see Episode 1: here, Episode 2: here, and Episode 3: here. And for a little bit of Art Historical (or is that art hysterical?)  background on pandas that modeled for the impressionists, see last Friday’s post.

And now for today’s feature presentation:

Why DOES Mr Wu have a piece of tape on his right ear?

Why DOES Mr Wu have a piece of tape on his right ear?

By the way, pandas are still rampaging around the interwebs, most recently Pandamorphosis was reviewed by Henry Nicholls, author of The Way of the Panda, on his Animal Magic blog at The  Guardian.

More pandas around the block:
Kirby Larson’s Kirby’s Lane: Friday June 13, 2014
June 9th on Cordelia Calls it Quits, and
June 11th on Cordelia’s Mom, Still

Stay tuned for more from Inspector Panda next week as he asks searching questions, such as, “Why do you have a piece of tape on your ear?” Also coming up, more from princess Pinky in her new role as leader of the panda kindergarten!

An Art Historical Interlude

Inspector Panda’s mysterious client, Babette de Panda, is weaving a tale about an alleged inheritance from her great-great-great-great-great-great grandmama. The Art Historical Division at The Institute for Contemporary Panda Satire has recently uncovered documents that support her claim that pandas emigrated to France in the late 1880’s, and posed for many of the artists of that period.

Portait of the mysterious "Madame 'P' "

Portait of the mysterious “Madame ‘P’ “

Portrait of Madame ‘P’

By John Singer Sargent

In the late 19th century, Japanese prints were not the only novelty from the Far East to create a stir in the London and Paris Art scenes. The recent discovery of pandas by westerners had artists scrambling to find pandas to model for paintings.

James McNeill Whistler employed one very popular model for his painting, Arrangement in Black, White, and Gray, as did several other artists, including John Singer Sargent.

Sargent did a number of preliminary studies for his famous portrait of Madame Pierre Gautreau, also known as Madame X. One of these less well-known minor studies portrayed one of Sargent’s favorite models, known only as Madame ‘P’. 

November 8th, 1883:
Madame Gautreau has taken leave of Paris for a month, so I am not able to continue working on her portrait. I have completed several studies, but I need her presence in order to work on the final commission. I am most vexed.

 November 10th, 1883:
Great fortune! One of my favorite models has just finished sitting for that horse’s ass, Jimmy W. I am exceedingly fond of Madame ‘P’, as she likes to be known. She has only recently come to Paris and I have done my best to make her “most welcome.”

 November 12th, 1883:
My study of Madame ‘P’ is going well. I hope to be able to complete a life size portrait of her for the next Salon Exhibition. There is a slight problem, in that she requires many naps throughout the day and has a prodigious appetite. She is the most amazing woman, able to crack large stalks of bamboo with only her teeth!

 November 26th, 1883:
That rascal Jimmy W. has unveiled his portrait of Madame ‘P’, calling it Arrangement in Black, White, and Gray, and has done so before I have been able to finish my portrait. I am most vexed. Madame ‘P’ came round the studio and was extremely apologetic, so what could I do but forgive her? 


"Arrangement in Black, White, and Gray" by James A. McNeil Whistler

“Arrangement in Black, White, and Gray” by James A. McNeil Whistler

December 18th, 1883:
Madame Gautreau has returned at last, but we had a terrible row over the state of her dress, which I had allowed Madame ‘P’ to wear during her sittings. I thought she looked quite the Parisian sophisticate in it. I had no idea Madame ‘P’s “personal habits” left so much to be desired.

The fragment of the diary ends here, but I believe that this does lend some credence to Babette’s claim that her great-great…um, whatever, grandmama did model for a number of the impressionists.

Hope you have a Fabulous Furry Friday, and the rest of the weekend as well.

Be the Bear,
Bob T. Panda

Episode 3:The Case of the Picturesque Panda

Yes, yes, I have been promising the next installment of The Inspector Panda mystery, The Case of the Picturesque Panda, and so here it is! Yes, yes.

This is, perhaps, the bones of a story I have been wanting to write, that has been canoodling around in my head for a while, that of a young panda that emigrates to France in the late 1800’s, and becomes a favorite model of the Impressionist painters. I’m hoping that her story will shape itself within the Inspector Panda story, so that I can write it, and illustrate it with paintings done in the style of various late 19th century painters.

Meanwhile, Inspector Panda has a mystery to solve…

...and so the story begins...

…and so the story begins…

...of a young panda's arrival in France, and all that followed...

…of a young panda’s arrival in France, and all that followed…

And just to pique your curiosity, here is the painting that Babette is searching for:

Portait of the mysterious "Madame 'P' "

Portait of the mysterious “Madame ‘P’ “

Stay tuned for the next exciting chapter!

Meanwhile, pandas are playing around the interwebs, in celebration of Pandamorphosis!
Kirby’s Lane
Cordelia Calls it Quits
Cordelia’s Mom Still
and more to come (um…as soon as I write them!)

So keep being the Bear, and Panda ON!
Bob T. Panda