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Things to do in the Languedoc:   Cultural Activities:   Art and Artists:   Historic Artists

 

 

Well known historic Languedoc artists: click on any of the names below for more information and samples of their work. (Click here for Contemporay Artists and Art Festivals)

Prehistoric cave painters
Greek, Etruscan and Roman artists
The Master of Cabestany - a medieval sculptor
Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665)
Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc (1814 - 1879)
Jean-Paul Laurens (1838 - 1921)
Jean Frédéric Bazille (1841 - 1870)
Paul Gauguin (1848 - 1903)
Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890)
Marie Petiet (1854 - 1893) & Etienne Dujardin-Beaumetz
Edouard Bernard Debat-Ponsan (1847-1913)
Achille Laugé (1861 - 1944)
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec (1864 - 1901)
Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868 – 1928)
Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954), Fauvist painter
André Derain (1880 – 1954), Fauvist painter
Juan Gris (1887 – 1927), Cubist painter
Sir William Russell Flint (1880 - 1969)
Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973), Cubist painter
Georges Braque (1882-1963), Fauvist painter
Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
René Magritte (1898 - 1967)
Salvador Dali (1904 – 1989)>
Yves Brayer (1907-1990)

 

Contemporay Artists

Pierre Soulages (1919 - )
Vincent Bioulès (1938 - )
Manolo Valdés (1942 - )
Vanilla Beer (1950 - )
Catherine Mascrès (1954 - )
Anthony Murphy (1956 - )
Hervé Di Rosa (1959 - )
Ellie Clemens
Paul Davison
Simon Fletcher
Deev Vanorbeek
Danielle Eubank
Allison Carmichael

 


Prehistoric Art in the Languedoc-Roussillon

Art has long been practiced in what is now the South of France. There are some 200 cave paintings currently known that date from prehistoric times.

 

 

 
Cave paintings at Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc in the Ardèche to the north of the Languedoc date from (30,000 - 25,000 years ago


Ancient Art in the Languedoc-Roussillon

Greek, Etruscan and Roman art flourished here and can still be seen in ancient Languedoc cities such as Nîmes.

 

 


Medieval Art in the Languedoc-Roussillon

In the medieval period this was home to a sculptor known to art historians as "The Master of Cabestany". It was also home to the troubadours - and thus the cradle of modern western culture.

 

 
Detail of the tympanum at Cabestany, from which town the Master of Cabestany takes his epithet.

 


Nicolas Poussin

Nicolas Poussin (15 June 1594 – 19 November 1665) was a French painter in the classical style. His work predominantly features clarity and order, and favouring line over colour. He was the dominant inspiration for classically oriented artists such as Jacques-Louis David and Paul Cézanne.

He worked in Rome (for the Medici’s and Barberini) and France. Louis XIII conferred on him the title of First Painter in Ordinary. Among his works are The Arcadian Shepherds (Et in Arcadia Ego) around 1638. (shown right). This painting plays a part in the famous Rennes-le-Château mystery.

In 1643, Poussin went back to Rome. He suffered from declining health after 1650, and was troubled by a tremor in his hand, evidence of which is visible in his late drawings. He died in Rome on November 19, 1665 and was buried in the church of San Lorenzo in Lucina.

Poussin was a prolific artist. Initially, his genius was recognized by only by small circles of collectors (including Louis XIV.) He contributed a new theme of "classical severity" to French art. Modern art critics have suggested that the "analytic Cubist" experiments of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque were founded upon Poussin's example. Poussin's paintings at the Louvre now reside in a gallery dedicated to him.

 

 
Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665)
Et in Arcadia Ego: c. 1637 ?
Oil on canvas, 34 x 48 cm
Currently in the Louvre, Paris


Viollet-le-Duc

Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879) was a French architect and restorer. He produced numerous spectacular architectural drawings including many of Carcassonne in the Aude département for the restoration of which he was largely responsible.

Voyages pittoresques et romantiques dans l'ancienne France is a multi-volume series on French architecture, published 1820-1878, by the French novelist and poet Charles Nodier, French author Alphonse de Cailleux, and Belgian-born author and theater administrator Isidore-Justin-Séverin Taylor. Viollet-le-Duc executed 15 drawings; the remaining are by Pharamond Blanchard, Claude Aimé Chenevard, Emile Desmaisons, Joseph Marie Foussereau, Alexandrew Evariste Fragonard, Emil Signol, and Antoine-Jean Weber.

You can find some of Viollet-le-Duc's drawings at www.medieval warfare.info

 

 
Charles Nodier, J. Taylor, and Alphonse de Cailleux,
Château de Carcassonne, (c 1830, from Voyages pittoresques et romantiques dans l'ancienne France, Languedoc, Paris 1835)
Lithograph


Jean-Paul Laurens

Jean-Paul Laurens (1838 – 1921), was a French painter and sculptor, and one of the last major exponents of the French Academic style.

Born in Fourquevaux, he was a pupil of Léon Cogniet and Alexandre Bida. A Republican, his work was often on historical and religious themes, through which he sought to convey a message of opposition to monarchical and clerical oppression. His erudition and technical mastery were much admired in his time, but in later years his hyper-realistic technique and his theatrical mise-en-scène, were criticised.

His famous portrayal of "L'Excommunication de Robert le Pieux" (Excommunication of Robert the Pious) (1875) presents a dramatised version of the sanction imposed on the king of France, guilty of having married his distant cousin, Berthe. "L'Interdit" (The Interdict) - painted in the same year - shows abandoned corpses cut off from the grace of God outside a boarded up chapel door where the sacraments are no longer delivered - a warning about the ensuing disaster for France.

Repression of the Cathars in the Languedoc was Laurens' second favourite theme. It was through the character Bernard Délicieux, a Franciscan friar and pretty much the only Catholic Churchmen to have emerged from the persecution of the Cathars with any honour, that Laurens resurrected this part of French history. His inspiration came from the Latin manuscript of the inquisition trials.

In "La Délivrance des emmurés de Carcassonne" (Freeing of the imprisoned of Carcassonne) (1879, Carcassonne town hall), Laurens illustrated the riots caused by the sermons of Délicieux, the Franciscan friar who stood against the excesses of the religious courts in the 1300s.

In a confrontation in "L'Agitateur du Languedoc" (The Agitator of Languedoc) (1887) he is shown boldly facing his judges.

The series is concluded with the painting "Après la Question" (After the question) (1882), which soberly portrays the mortal remains of the monk being taken back to the dungeon after the torture.

The Inquisition is a theme that occurs in other works by Laurens. Depicting the dangers of religious intolerance and fanaticism, Laurens multiplied his variations on this theme with, for example, Les Murailles du Saint-Office (The walls of the Holy Office) (1883) depicting the role of the pope's hidden advisor; Le Pape et l'Inquisiteur (The Pope and the Inquisitor) (1882) showing Sixtus IV with Torquemada who is examining the Papal Bull making him Inquisitor General of Castilla and Aragon in 1483; Le Grand Inquisiteur chez les Rois catholiques (The Great Inquisitor in the time of the Catholic kings) (1886) depicting the decision to persecute Jews in the Spanish kingdom; Les Hommes du Saint-Office (Men of the Holy Office) (1889) showing the effectiveness of an entire institution at the service of repression in this portrayal of Inquisitors examining the files of those whose lives were in the balance.

Laurens was commissioned to paint numerous public works by the French Third Republic, including the hall of distinguished citizens at the Capitol in Toulouse. Laurens was a professor at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, He died in Paris in 1921.

 

 
Jean-Paul Laurens (1838-1921)
La Délivrance des emmurés de Carcassonne, 1879
oil on canvas ( 115 cm c 150 cm)
Musée des Beaux Arts, Carcassonne, France

Jean-Paul Laurens (1838-1921)
The Agitator of Languedoc, 1882
oil on canvas ( 115 cm c 150 cm)
Musée des Augustins, Toulouse, France


Jean Frédéric Bazille

Jean Frédéric Bazille (December 6, 1841 – November 28, 1870) was a French Impressionist painter. He was born in Montpellier (in the Hérault département) into a wealthy Protestant family. He became interested in painting after seeing some works of Eugène Delacroix. His family agreed to let him study painting, but on condition that he also study medicine.

Bazille began studying medicine in 1859, and moved to Paris in 1862 to continue his studies. There he met Pierre-Auguste Renoir, was drawn to Impressionist painting, and began taking classes in Charles Gleyre's studio. After failing his medical examination in 1864, he began painting full-time. Close friends included Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, and Édouard Manet. Bazille was generous with his wealth, and helped support his less fortunate associates by giving them space in his studio and materials to use. His best known painting is Family Reunion of 1867–1868 (in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris).

The painting shown on the right depicts part of the city wall of Aigues Mortes in the Gard département of the Languedoc-Roussillon.

Frédéric Bazille joined a Zouave regiment in August 1870, after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. On November 28 of that year he was with his unit at the Battle of Beaune-la-Rolande when he led an assault on an enemy position. He was hit twice and died on the battlefield at the age of twenty nine. His father took his body back for burial at Montpellier in the Hérault département.

 

 
Frédéric Bazille.
Porte d'Aigues-Mortes, dite Porte de la Reine. 1867
Oil on Canvas 31.7 x 39.4 in. (80.5 x 100 cm).


Paul Gauguin

Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (7 June 1848 – 8 May 1903) was a leading Post-Impressionist painter. His experimentation with colouring led directly to the Synthetist style of modern art while his work under the influence of the cloisonnist style paved the way to Primitivism and the return to the pastoral. He was also an influential practitioner of wood engraving and woodcuts as art forms.

Paul Gauguin was born in Paris to journalist Clovis Gauguin and half-Peruvian Aline Maria Chazal, daughter of socialist leader Flora Tristan. In 1851 the family left Paris for Peru, motivated by the political climate of the period. At the age of seven, he and his family returned to France, but imagery of Peru would later influence his art.

Gauguin was interested in art since childhood. He began painting at an early age. He would also visit galleries and purchase work by emerging artists. Gauguin formed a friendship with artist Camille Pissarro, who introduced him to other artists. Gauguin rented a studio and showed paintings in Impressionist exhibitions held in 1881 and 1882. Over two summer vacations, he painted with Pissarro and occasionally with Paul Cézanne.

Like his friend Vincent van Goghh, with whom he spent nine weeks painting in Arles in 1888, Gauguin experienced depression and at one time attempted suicide. He felt that traditional European painting had become too imitative and lacked symbolic depth. By contrast, the art of Africa and Asia seemed to him to be full of mystic symbolism and vigour. There was a vogue in Europe at the time for the art of other cultures, especially that of Japan. He was invited to participate in the 1889 exhibition organized by Les XX.

Under the influence of folk art and Japanese prints, Gauguin evolved towards Cloisonnism. Gauguin paid little attention to classical perspective and eliminated subtle gradations of colour, thereby dispensing with the two most characteristic principles of post-Renaissance art. His painting later evolved towards "Synthetism" in which neither form nor colour predominate each having an equal role.

In 1891, frustrated by lack of recognition at home and financially destitute, Gauguin sailed to the tropics to escape European civilisation and "everything that is artificial and conventional.". Living in Mataiea Village in Tahiti, he painted depictions of Tahitian life. He moved to Punaauia in 1897, where he created "Where Do We Come From" and then lived the rest of his life in the Marquesas Islands, returning to France only once, when he painted at Pont-Aven.

His works of that period are full of quasi-religious symbolism and an exotic view of the inhabitants of Polynesia. In Polynesia he sided with the native peoples, clashing often with colonial authorities and with the Catholic Church. During this period he also wrote the book Avant et après (before and after), a collection of observations about life in Polynesia, memories from his life and comments on literature and paintings.

In 1903, following further problems with the church and the government, he was sentenced to three months in prison, and charged a fine. He died of syphilis in 1903 before he could start the prison sentence. He was 54 years old. Gauguin is buried in Calvary Cemetery (Cimetière Calvaire), Atuona, Hiva ‘Oa, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia.

Gauguin is also considered a Post-Impressionist painter. His bold, colourful paintings influenced Modern art. Gauguin's influence on artists and artistic movements include Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, André Derain, Fauvism, Cubism, and Orphism among others.

The vogue for Gauguin's work started soon after his death. A substantial part of his collection is displayed in the Pushkin Museum and the Hermitage. For reasons that are not immediately obvious, Gauguin has been canonised by the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, a modern Gnostic Church.

 

 
Paul Gauguin.
Women from Arles in the Public Garden, the Mistral. 1888.
Oil on canvas.
Currently in the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, US A..


Paul Gauguin.
Night Café at Arles. 1888.
Oil on canvas.
The Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, Moscow, Russia.


Paul Gauguin.
Harvesting of Grapes at Arles (Misères humaines). 1888.
Oil on canvas.
Art Museum Ordrupgard, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Vincent van Gogh

Vincent Willem van Gogh (30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890) was a Dutch Post-Impressionist artist. His paintings and drawings include some of the world's best known, most popular and most expensive art.

Van Gogh spent his early adult life working for a firm of art dealers. After a spell as a teacher, he became a missionary worker in a poor mining region. He embarked on a career as an artist at the age of 37 in 1880.

Van Gogh worked only with sombre colours until he encountered Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism in Paris. He incorporated brighter colours and their style of painting into a unique style, which was fully developed during the time he spent at Arles. He produced more than 2,000 works, including around 900 paintings and 1,100 drawings and sketches, during the last ten years of his life. Most of his best-known works were produced in Languedoc and Provence during the final two years of his life:

Arles (February 1888 – May 1889)

Van Gogh arrived in Arles on the River Rhône on 21 February 1888 and took quarters and found lodgings at the Hôtel-Restaurant Carrel, 30 Rue Cavalerie. He had ideas of founding a Utopian art colony. His companion for two months was the Danish artist, Christian Mourier-Petersen. In March, he painted local landscapes, using a gridded "perspective frame." Three of his pictures were shown at the annual exhibition of the Société des Artistes Indépendants. In April he was visited by the American painter, Dodge MacKnight, who was resident in Fontvieille nearby.

On 1 May he signed a lease for four rooms in the right hand side of the "Yellow House" at No. 2 Place Lamartine. The house was unfurnished and had been uninhabited for some time so he was not able to move in straight away. On 7 May he moved out of the Hôtel Carrel, and into the Café de la Gare where he became friends with the proprietors, Joseph and Marie Ginoux. Although the Yellow House had to be furnished before he could move in, Van Gogh was able to use it as a studio. His major project at this time was a series of paintings intended to form the décoration for the Yellow House.

In June he visited Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in the Camargue. He gave drawing lessons to Paul-Eugène Milliet, who also became a companion. MacKnight introduced him to Eugène Boch, a Belgian painter, who stayed at times in Fontvieille (they exchanged visits in July). Gauguin agreed to join him in Arles. In August he painted sunflowers; Boch visited again. He finally spent his first night in the Yellow House on 17 September.

On 23 October his friend Paul Gauguin arived in in Arles. During November they painted together. Van Gogh painted some pictures from memory, deferring to Gauguin as this was not his usual practice. Their first joint outdoor painting exercise was conducted at the picturesque Alyscamps. In November van Gogh painted The Red Vineyard.

In December the two artists visited Montpellier (in the Hérault département) and viewed works by Courbet and Delacroix in the Museé Fabre. However, their relationship was deteriorating. They quarreled about art. Van Gogh felt an increasing fear that Gauguin was going to desert him, and their relationship reached crisis point on 23 December 1888, when Van Gogh stalked Gauguin with a razor and then cut off the lower part of his own left ear lobe, which he wrapped in newspaper and gave to a prostitute named Rachel in the local brothel. Gauguin left Arles and did not see Van Gogh again.

Van Gogh was hospitalised, apparently in a critical state for a few days. In January 1889 Van Gogh returned to the "Yellow House", but spent the following month between hospital and home, suffering from hallucinations and paranoia that he was being poisoned. In March the police closed his house, after a petition by thirty townspeople, who called him le fou roux ("the redheaded madman"). Signac visited him in hospital and Van Gogh was allowed home in his company.

Saint-Rémy (May 1889 – May 1890)

On 8 May 1889 Van Gogh, accompanied by a carer, the Reverend Salles, committed himself to the mental hospital of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole in a former monastery in Saint Rémy de Provence, a little less than 20 miles (32 km) from Arles. The monastery was a mile and a half out of the town in an area of cornfields, vineyards, and olive trees. The hospital was run by a former naval doctor, Dr. Théophile Peyron. Theo van Gogh, Vincent's brother, arranged for Vincent to have two small rooms, one for use as a studio, although in reality they were adjoining cells with barred windows.

During his stay there, the clinic and its garden became his main subject. At this time some of his work was characterised by swirls, as in one of his best-known paintings, The Starry Night. He took short supervised walks, which gave rise to images of cypresses and olive trees, but because of the shortage of subject matter due to his limited access to the outside world, he painted interpretations of Millet's paintings, as well as his own earlier work. In September 1889 he painted two new versions of the Bedroom in Arles, and in February 1890 he painted four portraits of L'Arlésienne (Madame Ginoux), based directly on a charcoal sketch Paul Gauguin had produced when Madame Ginoux had sat for both artists at the beginning of November 1888.

In January 1890, his work was praised by Albert Aurier in the Mercure de France, and he was called a genius. In February, invited by Les XX, a society of avant-garde painters in Brussels, he participated in their annual exhibition. When, at the opening dinner, Henry de Groux, a member of Les XX, insulted Van Gogh's works, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec demanded satisfaction. Signac indicated that he was also prepared to defend Van Gogh's honour, if Toulouse-Lautrec should lose.

de Groux was in a minority. When Van Gogh's exhibit was put on display with the Artistes Indépendants in Paris, Monet said that his work was the best in the show.

Van Gogh is a pioneer of what came to be known as Expressionism. He had an enormous influence on 20th century art, especially on the Fauvists and German Expressionists.

 

 
Vincent van Gogh.
The Café Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night, September 1888. Oil on Canvass, 81 × 65,5 cm


Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890).
La nuit étoilée sur le Rhône (September 1888) at Arles.
Oil-on-canvas. 72.5 x 92 cm (28.54 x 36.22 inches).
Currently displayed at the Musée d'Orsay, Paris.

Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890).
Bridge at Arles, (1888)

Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890).
Cornfield with Cypresses,


Marie Petiet & Etienne Dujardin-Beaumetz

Marie Petiet (1854-1893) was an artist from Limoux in the Aude département of the Languedoc-Roussillon

Her work may be found in the Petiet Museum, on the Promenade du Tivoli, Limoux. Phone: +33 (0)4 68 31 85 03 - just next to the Tourist Office. The Petiet Museum was once the workshop of the Petiet family and has been preserved in such a way as to keep its 19th Century charm. The collection is a large one and draws paintings from across Europe. There are pieces representing almost all of the major European schools including France, Italy and Holland.

Etienne Dujardin-Beaumetz, Marie Petiet's husbandThe Petiet artist siblings donated their collection of paintings and the building that houses them to the town of Limoux in 1880 .Private donations and gifts to the State make up the rest of the collection, the most recent dating back to 1962. Canvases on display illustrate the art of the second half of the 19th century. Firstly those of the Limoux painters: intimate and sensitive works by Marie Petiet who drew her inspiration from everyday town life alongside battle scenes from 1870 war paintings by her husband Etienne Dujardin-Beaumetz. Painters from the Academy portrayed society as it appeared at the end of the 19th century. They also represented the landscapes of that period. Achille Laugé, another local Aude artist, depicted typical scenes with splashes of colour and striking natural light.

Decorative artefacts, furniture and sculptures have been added to the museum recreate the atmosphere of the Belle Epoque
 
Marie Petiet (1854-1893)
Les Blanchisseuses 1882.
oil on canvas. 1 m 70x 1 m 13


Etienne Dujardin-Beaumetz (1852 1913),
Surrounded


Edouard Debat-Ponsan

Edouard Bernard Debat-Ponsan (1847-1913) was a late nineteenth century artist treating diverse themes including Orientalism, landscape, history, religion, and portrait painting.  Trained in the academic manner, his themes also chronicled changing styles and preoccupations of his era.  

Born on April 25th, 1847 in Toulouse.; he began his artistic studies at the age of fourteen, attending the École des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse.   Aware that public artistic careers began at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris he moved there and began studying under Alexandre Cabanel. 

Debat-Ponsan first showed at the Salon of 1870, the year that the Franco-Prussian war broke out, throwing France into turmoil.  At this early period in his career, Debat-Ponsan treated mythological, historical, and religious themes, showing his reliance on Ecole des Beaux-Arts traditions, as did his execution. Tradition was then being challenged by progressive artists such as the Impressionists who held their first show in 1874.  

Debat-Ponsan worked on establishing himself through the traditional Salon system, exhibiting under the name “Ponsan” early in his career, and then “Debat-Ponsan”, presumably after another artist by the name of “Ponsan” entered the scene.  Debat-Ponsan was already beginning to make his mark on the Parisian art world and to be recognized by those in power. 

Debat-Ponsan’s images introduced an element of personal leisure into bucolic compositions. He focused on a human presence in his animal paintings and was interested in depicting peasant life in the tradition of Jean-François Millet.

In 1882 Debat-Ponsan traveled to Turkey, following in the footsteps of many other French artists who left Paris to seek out the exotic Orient as described by writers and other artists of previous decades. “Orientalism,” as the tradition of painting Middle Eastern themes was known, produced many recognizable images at the Salons. Debat-Ponsan was also an accomplished portrait painter.

In 1898 he took the liberal stance of supporting Emile Zola’s position on the Dreyfus affair, recognizing the validity of Zola’s ideas in his article, “J’Accuse!”.   Debat-Ponsan found himself on the side of the revolutionaries.   While his individual commissions may have been affected by his political stances, he continued to receive official commissions such as those for the capitol in Toulouse. and the theater in Nîmes, from governmental officials of the Third Republic.  

After this he retreated to the countryside; working on compositions based on his journeys in the Languedoc region in which he was born, executing many landscapes such as those previously discussed.  He continued to exhibit at the Salon becoming the President of the Société des Artistes Français during his career. He died January 29th, 1913 in Paris.

His work can be found in many of the Musées des Beaux-Arts in France including those in Carcassonne (Aude), Dijon, La Rochelle, Nantes, Nîmes, Pau, Rouen, Toulouse., in addition to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

 

 
Edouard Bernard Debat-Ponsan (1847-1913)
Gathering Grapes: Languedoc 1886,
O il on canvas


Edouard Bernard Debat-Ponsan (1847-1913)
The Shepherdess, circa 1890
Oil on canvas
h: 22 x w: 18 in / h: 55.9 x w: 45.7 cm


Achille Laugé

Achille Laugé (1861 Arzens (Aude département) - 1944 Cailhau (Aude département) was the son of prosperous farmers who moved to Cailhau near Carcassonne (Aude), where he spent most of his life. Laugé began his studies in Toulouse in 1878 and went to Paris in 1881. At the Ecole des Beaux-Arts he studied with Alexandre Cabanel and Jean-Paul Laurens. There, Antoine Bourdelle, whom Laugé had known in Toulouse, introduced him to Aristide Maillol and the three maintained a long and fruitful friendship.

Laugé’s time in Paris spanned the years from 1886 to1888 during which he was influenced by Neo-Impressionism. In 1894 he exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants, as well as at a Toulouse exhibition with i Toulouse-Lautrec and others. He held several one-man shows in Paris from 1907 to 1930.

In 1888, after seven years in Paris, including a term of military service, Laugé returned to the south and established himself at Carcassonne. Here Laugé developed his divisionist technique, following the lead of Seurat and the Pointillists. Although Laugé never adopted Seurat’s scientific attitude, his interest in the primacy and division of colour resulted in work with a vivid, translucent palette. From 1888 until about 1896, Laugé composed his pictures with small points of colour. In 1895, he returned to Cailhau where he spent the rest of his life. At the end of the century he abandoned the dots and dabs and painted his landscapes, portraits, and still-lifes with thin, systematic strokes resembling crosshatching. After 1905 he applied his pigments more freely, with enlarged strokes and thick impasto that brought him closer to a traditional impressionist technique while maintaining his ability to paint the translucence of southern light that appealed to him as to so many other artists.

 
Achille Laugé (1861–1944)
La route de campagne près de Cailhau, 1908
Oil on canvas
19 ½ x 28 ½ inches


Achille Laugé (1861–1944)
The Road To Cailhau Under The Sun, 1910
Oil/canvas
50x70 cm (19.7x27.6 in)


Henri Toulouse-Lautrec

Henri-Marie-Raymond de Toulouse Lautrec Monfade (1864-1901) was a native of Albi. His full name was Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec Monfa. He was born on 24th November, 1864, the first child of Comte Alphonse and Comtesse Adèle de Toulouse-Lautrec. The Count and Countess were first cousins, and Henri suffered from congenital health conditions attributed to this and other family inbreeding. A younger brother was born on August 28, 1867, but died the following year.

At the age of 13 Henri fractured his left thigh bone, and a year later his right one. The breaks did not heal properly and his legs stopped growing. As an adult he stood 1.52 m or 5 ft tall, having developed an adult-sized torso but retaining child-sized legs. Unable to participate in most of the activities enjoyed by his peers, Toulouse-Lautrec immersed himself in art.

His mother took him to Paris where he entered professional teaching studios in 1882. He settled in Montmartre in 1884. His immersion in the decadent and theatrical life of fin de siècle Paris yielded an oeuvre of provocative images of modern life. His wit attracted a artists and intellectuals, including Oscar Wilde and Vincent van Gogh whom he drew - see right. He studied with French academic painters L. J. F. Bonnat and Fernand Cormon. He became an important post-Impressionist painter, art nouveau illustrator, and lithographer and recorded in his works many details of the late-19th century bohemian lifestyle in Paris.

Lautrec met Edgar Degas who provided encouragement and some of Lautrec’s lithographs reveal his debt to the older artist. His oeuvre includes paintings, drawings, etchings, lithographs, and posters, as well as illustrations for various contemporary newspapers. He incorporated into his own individual method elements of the styles of other contemporary artists, especially Degas and Paul Gauguin. Japanese art influenced his use of oblique angles, sharp delineation and flat areas of colour. His work inspired Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, and Georges Rouault.

Outstanding examples of his work are La Goulou Entering the Moulin Rouge (1892, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, Albi), Jane Avril Entering the Moulin Rouge (1892, Courtauld Gallery, London), and Au salon de la rue des Moulins (1894, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, Albi).

He was acclaimed as "The soul of Montmartre", the Parisian quarter where he made his home, frequenting the circus, the theater, and local brothels. He portrayed life at the Moulin Rouge and other Montmartre and Parisian nightspots. He lived in a brothel for long periods. He painted singer Yvette Guilbert, Louise Weber (La Goulue) a dancer who created the "French Can-Can", and the dancer Jane Avril. Toulouse-Lautrec gave painting lessons to Suzanne Valadon, one of his models. By the 1890s he had become a leading figure in the Parisian art world. The largest exhibition of his work during his lifetime was held at London’s Goupil Gallery in 1898.

An alcoholic for most of his adult life, in the 1890s he began to drink even more heavily and was placed in a sanatorium. He died from complications due to alcoholism and syphilis on 9th September 1901 aged 36, at the family estate in Malromé. He is buried in Verdelais, in the Gironde, a few kilometres from his birthplace. He predeceased his father and so never inherited the family title, derived from that of the ancient Counts of Toulouse. (Lautrec is a town not far from Toulouse)

After his death, his mother, the Comtesse Adèle Toulouse-Lautrec, and his art dealer, Maurice Joyant, promoted his art. His mother contributed funds for a museum to be built in Albi to house his works.

Today he one of the most famous artist in the world.

 

 
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec
(Henri-Marie-Raymond de Toulouse Lautrec Monfa) (1864-1901):
Vincent van Gogh. (1887)
pastel drawing. 54 × 45 cm .
Currently in the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

 

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec
(Henri-Marie-Raymond de Toulouse Lautrec Monfa) (1864-1901):
Jane Avril

 

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec
(Henri-Marie-Raymond de Toulouse Lautrec Monfa) (1864-1901):
Divan Japonaise


Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born in Glasgow on June 7, 1868. At the age of 16 he was apprenticed to an architect named John Hutchison, where he worked from 1884 until 1889. Also during that time he became a draughtsman with a new architectural practice, eventually becoming a partner in 1901.

He lived most of his life in Glasgow. He admired Japanese style because of how it valued restraint and economy of means rather than ostentatious accumulation, simple forms and natural materials rather than elaboration and artifice, the use of texture and light and shadow rather than pattern and ornament. In the old western style furniture was seen as ornament that displayed the wealth of its owner and the value of the piece was established according to the length of time spent creating it. While in the Japanese arts furniture and design was concerned with the quality of the space which was meant to evoke a calming and organic feeling to the interior.

At the same time a new philosophy concerned with creating functional and practical design was emerging throughout Europe: the so-called "modernist ideas." The main concept of the Modernist movement was to develop innovative ideas and new technology: design concerned with present and future, rather than history and tradition. Even though Mackintosh became known as the ‘pioneer’ of the movement, his designs are far removed from the bleak and utilitarianism of modernism… His concern was to build around the needs of people, people seen not as masses but as individuals who needed not a machine for living in but a work of art.

All along he attended evening classes in art at the Glasgow School of Art. It was at these classes that he first met Margaret MacDonald (whom he later married), her sister Frances MacDonald, and Herbert MacNair who was also a fellow apprentice with Mackintosh at Honeyman and Keppie. The group of artists, known as "The Four," exhibited in Glasgow, London and Vienna, and these exhibitions helped establish Mackintosh's reputation. The so-called " Glasgow" style was exhibited in Europe and influenced the Viennese Art Nouveau movement known as Sezessionstil (in English, The Secession) around 1900.

Mackintosh’s career was a relatively short one, but of significant quality and impact. All his major commissions were between 1896 and 1906, where he designed private homes, commercial buildings, interior renovations, church, and furniture. He died on December 10, 1928 of throat cancer.

Mackintosh also worked in interior design, furniture, textiles and, metalwork. Much of this work combines Mackintosh's own designs with those of his wife, whose flowing, floral style complemented his more formal, rectilinear work. Like his contemporary Frank Lloyd Wright, Mackintosh's architectural designs often included extensive specifications for the detailing, decoration, and furnishing of his buildings. His work was shown at the Vienna Secession Exhibition in 1900.

Later in life, disillusioned with architecture, Mackintosh worked largely as a watercolourist, painting numerous landscapes and flower studies (often in collaboration with Margaret, with whose style Mackintosh's own gradually converged) in the Suffolk village of Walberswick (to which the pair moved in 1914), and where he was arrested as a possible spy in 1915.

By 1923, he had entirely abandoned architecture and design and moved to the south of France with Margaret where he concentrated on watercolour painting. He was interested in the relationships between man-made and naturally occurring landscapes. Many of his paintings depict Port Vendres, a small port near the Spanish border, and the nearby landscapes.

Mackintosh's designs gained in popularity in the decades following his death.

 

 
Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1864 - 1933)
The Lighthouse (at Port Vendres) 1927
Watercolour
Private collection, London


Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1864 - 1933)
Bouleternére (1925)
Watercolour (17.6 x 17.6 in. 44.7 x 44.7 cm)
Private colection, New York

Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1864 - 1933)
The Fort, c. 1925-1926.( Fort Mailly, a ruined 16th-century fortification on the outskirts of Port Vendres).


Henri Matisse.

Henri Matisse (December 31, 1869 – November 3, 1954) was a French artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid, brilliant and original draughtsmanship. As a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but principally as a painter, Matisse is one of the best-known artists of the twentieth century. Although he was initially labeled as a Fauve (wild beast), by the 1920s, he was increasingly hailed as an upholder of the classical tradition in French painting. His mastery of the expressive language of colour and drawing, displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art.

Born Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, he grew up in Bohain-en-Vermandois in Northeastern France, where his parents owned a seed business. He was their first son. In 1887 he went to Paris to study law, working as a court administrator in Le Cateau-Cambrésis after gaining his qualification. He first started to paint in 1889, when his mother had brought him art supplies during a period of convalescence following an attack of appendicitis. He discovered "a kind of paradise" as he later described it, and decided to become an artist, deeply disappointing his father. In 1891 he returned to Paris to study art at the Académie Julian and became a student of William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Gustave Moreau. Initially he painted still-lifes and landscapes in the traditional Flemish style, at which he achieved reasonable proficiency. Chardin was one of Matisse's most admired painters; as an art student he made copies of four Chardin paintings in the Louvre. In 1896 he exhibited 5 paintings in the salon of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, and the state bought two of his paintings. In 1897 and 1898, he visited the painter John Peter Russell on the island Belle Île off the coast of Brittany. Russell introduced him to Impressionism and to the work of Vincent van Gogh (who had been a good friend of Russell but was completely unknown at the time).

Influenced by the works of the post-Impressionists Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Signac, and also by Japanese art, he made colour a crucial element of his paintings. Many of his paintings from 1899 to 1905 make use of a pointillist technique adopted from Signac. In 1898, he went to London to study the paintings of J. M. W. Turner.

His first solo exhibition was in 1904, without much success. His fondness for bright and expressive colour became more pronounced after he moved southwards in 1905 to work with André Derain. The paintings of this period are characterized by flat shapes and controlled lines, with expression dominant over detail.

In 1905, Matisse and a group of artists now known as "Fauves" exhibited work together in a room at the Salon d'Automne. Critic Louis Vauxcelles described the work with the phrase "Donatello au milieu des fauves!" (Donatello among the wild beasts), referring to a Renaissance-type sculpture that shared the room with them. His comment was printed on 17 October 1905 in Gil Blas, a daily newspaper, and passed into popular usage. The pictures gained considerable condemnation, but also some favourable attention. The painting that was singled out for attacks was Matisse's Woman with a Hat, which was bought by Gertrude and Leo Stein

Matisse was recognized as a leader of the group, along with André Derain; the two were friendly rivals, each with his own followers. Other members were Georges Braque, Raoul Dufy and Maurice Vlaminck. The Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau was the movement's inspirational teacher, and he did much for the era; a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, he pushed his students to follow their visions.

His controversial 1907 painting Nu bleu was burned in effigy at the Armory Show in Chicago in 1913. The decline of the Fauvist movement, after 1906, did nothing to affect the rise of Matisse; many of his finest works were created between 1906 and 1917, when he was an active part of the great gathering of artistic talent in Montparnasse, even though he did not quite fit in, with his conservative appearance and strict bourgeois work habits.

Like other fauvists Matisse worked in Collioure.

Around 1904 he met Pablo Picasso, who was 12 years younger than him. The two became life-long friends as well as rivals and are often compared; one key difference between them is that Matisse drew and painted from nature, while Picasso was much more inclined to work from imagination. The subjects painted most frequently by both artists were women and still lifes, with Matisse more likely to place his figures in fully realized interiors.

Matisse and Picasso were first brought together at the Paris salon of Gertrude Stein and her companion Alice B. Toklas.

In 1917 Matisse relocated to Cimiez on the French Riviera, a suburb of the city of Nice. His work of the decade or so following this relocation shows a relaxation and a softening of his approach. This "return to order" is characteristic of much art of the post-World War I period, and can be compared with the neoclassicism of Pablo Picasso and Stravinsky, and the return to traditionalism of André Derain. His orientalist odalisque paintings are characteristic of the period; while popular, some contemporary critics found this work shallow and decorative.

After 1930 a new vigour and bolder simplification appear in his work.

In 1941 he was diagnosed with cancer and, following surgery, he started using a wheelchair. With the aid of assistants he set about creating cut paper collages, often on a large scale, called gouaches découpés. His Blue Nudes series feature prime examples of this technique he called "painting with scissors".

Matisse died of a heart attack at the age of 84 in 1954. He is interred in the cemetery of the Monastère Notre Dame de Cimiez and a Matisse Museum was opened in the area.

 

 
Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954).
Les toits de Collioure (1905)
Oil on Canvass. 59.5 x 73 cm
Currently in The Ermitage (State Museum at Saint-Petersbourg)


Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954).
Sea at Collioure. 1906.
Oil on canvas.
Barnes Foundation, Lincoln University, Merion, PA, USA.


Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954).
Landscape at Collioure. (Collioure, summer 1905).
Oil on canvas.
15 1/4 x 18 3/8" (38.8 x 46.6 cm).
MOMA



Andre Derain

Derain worked in Collioure. Fauvism was developed in the Languedoc-Roussillon, Painters having been attracted to the unique light and scenery

André Derain (June 10, 1880 – September 8, 1954) was a French painter and co-founder of Fauvism with Henri Matisse. He was born in 1880 in Chatou, Yvelines, Île-de-France, just outside Paris.

In 1898, while studying to be an engineer at the Académie Camillo, he attended painting classes under Eugène Carrière, where he met Matisse. In 1900, he met and shared a studio with Maurice de Vlaminck and began to paint his first landscapes. His studies were interrupted from 1901 to 1904 when he was conscripted into the French army. Following his release from service, Matisse persuaded Derain's parents to allow him to abandon his engineering career and devote himself solely to painting; subsequently Derain attended the Académie Julian.

Derain and Matisse worked together through the summer of 1905 in the Mediterranean village of Collioure, attracted by the light over the Mediterranean Sea. Later that year they displayed their innovative paintings at the Salon d'Automne. The vivid, unnatural colours led the critic Louis Vauxcelles to derisively dub their works as les Fauves, or "the wild beasts". The term was seized upon and provided a name for the Fauvist movement. In March 1906, the noted art dealer Ambroise Vollard sent Derain to London to compose a series of paintings with the city as subject. These London paintings remain among his most popular work.

Derain experimented with stone sculpture and moved to Montmartre to be near his friend Pablo Picasso and other noted artists. At Montmartre, Derain began to shift from the brilliant Fauvist palette to more muted tones, showing the influence of Cubism and Paul Cézanne.

At about this time Derain's work began overtly reflecting his study of the old masters. The role of colour was reduced and forms became austere; the years 1911-1914 are sometimes referred to as his gothic period. In 1914 he was mobilized for military service in World War I and until his release in 1919 had little time for painting. After the war, Derain won new acclaim as a leader of the renewed classicism then ascendant. With the wildness of his Fauve years far behind, he was admired as an upholder of tradition. In 1919 he designed the ballet La Boutique fantasque for Diaghilev, leader of the Ballets Russes. A major success, it would lead to his creating many ballet designs.

Nazi propaganda made much of Derain's presence in Germany during the second World War, and after the Liberation he was branded a collaborator and ostracized by many former supporters. A year before his death, he contracted an eye infection from which he never fully recovered. He died in Garches, Hauts-de-Seine, Île-de-France, France in 1954 when he was struck by a vehicle.

 

 
Andre Derain (1880 – 1954).
Bateaux de Collioure (1905)


Andre Derain (1880 – 1954).
Collioure (1905)
Oil on canvas
60.20 x 73.50 cm


Juan Gris

Juan Gris (originally José Victoriano González-Pérez) (March 23, 1887 – May 11, 1927) was a Spanish painter and sculptor who lived and worked in France most of his life. His works are closely connected to the emergence of Cubism.

Born in Madrid, Gris studied mechanical drawing at the Escuela de Artes y Manufacturas in Madrid from 1902 to 1904, during which time he contributed drawings to local periodicals. From 1904 to 1905 he studied painting with the academic artist José Maria Carbonero.

In 1906 he moved to Paris and became friends with Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Fernand Léger, and in 1915 was painted by his friend, Amedeo Modigliani. In Paris, Gris followed the lead of another friend and fellow countryman, Pablo Picasso. His portrait of Picasso (below) in 1912 is a significant early Cubist painting done by a painter other than Picasso or Braque. Like Picasso and Braque, he also painted in Céret.

Gris began to paint seriously in 1910. By 1912 he had developed a personal Cubist style. After 1913 he began his conversion to synthetic Cubism, of which he became a steadfast interpreter, with extensive use of papier collé. Unlike Picasso and Braque, Gris painted with bright harmonious colors in daring, novel combinations in the manner of Matisse.

He died in Boulogne-sur-Seine ( Paris) in the spring of 1927 at the age of forty.

 

 

 

Juan Gris (1887 - 1927)
Landscape at Ceret, 1913;
Oil on canvas,
92 x 60 cm (36 1/4 x 23 5/8 in);
Moderna Museet, Stockholm


Sir William Russell Flint (1880 - 1969)

Born in Edinburgh, 4th April 1880, Flint's talent was discovered at an early age.  Having been a student at the Royal Institution School of Art in Edinburgh, and serving a six year apprenticeship at a large printing works, he moved to London to become a medical illustrator at the age of 20.

In 1903 he joined the Illustrated London News which sent him to the far reaches of the British Empire. He became a freelance artist in 1907 which lead him to illustrate a number of classical limited editions such as Mallory's 'Morte D'Arthur', Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales' and Homer's 'Odyssey'.

He served in the First World War and became Admiralty Assistant Overseer - Airships. This took him back to his native Scotland, where in 1919 he painted a tiny watercolour called "Hilda's Bonnet" on the linen of a fragment of HM Airship 24 which he had previously commanded.

After the Great War, William Russell Flint's artistic career began to flourish. He painted in the Languedoc-Roussillon and Spain (until the Civil War), where he produced wonderful paintings reflecting the local scenery and culture.

He was elected Associate of the Royal Academy in 1924, full member in 1933 and in 1936 became President of the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour. After living in Devon during the Second World War, he and his wife moved back to London where the post war period became Russell Flint's greatest.

His talent with both the watercolour medium and his skill in depicting the female form created a hallmark style.

In 1947 William Russell Flint was knighted. In 1962 his work was acknowledged by a retrospective exhibition in the Diploma Gallery of the Royal Academy. In December 1969, Sir William Russell Flint died, aged 89.

 

 
Sir William Russell Flint (1880 - 1969)
Gypsies And Goats Languedoc
Watercolour


Sir William Russell Flint (1880 - 1969)
The Farmyard At Argilliers Languedoc
Watercolour


Pablo Picasso

Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Clito, was named after various saints and relatives along with Ruiz and Picasso, after his father and mother, according to Spanish custom. He was born in the city of Málaga in the Andalusian region of Spain. His family was middle-class, his father being a painter whose specialised in naturalistic depictions of birds and other game.

Picasso showed a passion and a skill for drawing from an early age. From the age of seven, Picasso received formal artistic training from his father in figure drawing and oil painting. Ruiz was a traditional, academic artist and instructor who believed that proper training required disciplined copying of the masters, and drawing the human body from plaster casts and live models. His son became preoccupied with art to the detriment of his classwork.

The family moved to La Coruña in 1891 so his father could become a professor at the School of Fine Arts. They stayed almost four years. On one occasion the father found his son painting over his unfinished sketch of a pigeon. Observing the precision of his son’s technique, Ruiz felt that the thirteen-year-old Picasso had surpassed him, and vowed to give up painting.

After the death of his sister in 1895, the family moved to Barcelona, with Ruiz transferring to its School of Fine Arts. Picasso thrived in the city, regarding it in times of sadness or nostalgia as his home. Ruiz persuaded the officials at the academy to allow his son to take an entrance exam for the advanced class. This process often took students a month, but Picasso completed it in a week, and the impressed jury admitted Picasso, who was still 13.

Picasso’s father and uncle decided to send the young artist to Madrid’s Royal Academy of San Fernando, the foremost art school in the country. In 1897, Picasso, age 16, set off for the first time on his own. Yet his difficulties accepting formal instruction led him to stop attending class soon after enrolment. Madrid, however, held many other attractions: the Prado housed paintings by the venerable Diego Velázquez, Francisco Goya, and Francisco Zurbarán. Picasso especially admired the works of El Greco; their elements, like elongated limbs, arresting colours, and mystical visages, are echoed in Picasso’s œuvre.

Picasso remained neutral during World War I, the Spanish Civil War, and World War II, refusing to fight for any side or country. Some of his contemporaries felt that his pacifism had more to do with cowardice than principle. As a Spanish citizen living in France, Picasso was under no compulsion to fight against the invading Germans in either World War. In the Spanish Civil War, service for Spaniards living abroad was optional and would have involved a voluntary return to the country to join either side. While Picasso expressed anger and condemnation of Francisco Franco and fascists through his art, he did not take up arms against them. He also remained aloof from the Catalan independence movement during his youth despite expressing general support and being friendly with activists within it.

Picasso had constructed a huge gothic structure and could afford large villas in the south of France, at Notre-dame-de-vie on the outskirts of Mougins, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.

Picasso’s work is often categorized into periods. While the names of many of his later periods are debated, the most commonly accepted periods in his work are the Blue Period (1901–1904), the Rose Period (1905–1907), the African-influenced Period (1908–1909), Analytic Cubism (1909–1912), and Synthetic Cubism (1912–1919).

Picasso’s training under his father began before 1890. His progress can be traced in the collection of early works now held by the Museu Picasso in Barcelona, which provides one of the most comprehensive records extant of any major artist’s beginnings. During 1893 the juvenile quality of his earliest work falls away, and by 1894 his career as a painter can be said to have begun. The academic realism apparent in the works of the mid-1890s is well displayed in The First Communion (1896), a large composition that depicts his sister, Lola. In the same year, at the age of 14, he painted Portrait of Aunt Pepa, a vigorous and dramatic portrait that Juan-Eduardo Cirlot has called “without a doubt one of the greatest in the whole history of Spanish painting.”

In 1897 his realism became tinged with Symbolist influence, in a series of landscape paintings rendered in non naturalistic violet and green tones. What some call his Modernist period (1899–1900) followed. His exposure to the work of Rossetti, Steinlen, Toulouse-Lautrec and Edvard Munch, combined with his admiration for favourite old masters such as El Greco, led Picasso to a personal version of modernism in his works of this period.

Picasso’s Blue Period (1901–1904) consists of sombre paintings rendered in shades of blue and blue-green, only occasionally warmed by other colours. This period’s starting point is uncertain; it may have begun in Spain in the spring of 1901, or in Paris in the second half of the year. Many paintings of gaunt mothers with children date from this period. In his austere use of colour and sometimes doleful subject matter—prostitutes and beggars are frequent subjects—Picasso was influenced by a trip through Spain and by the suicide of his friend Carlos Casagemas. Starting in autumn of 1901 he painted several posthumous portraits of Casagemas, culminating in the gloomy allegorical painting La Vie (1903), now in the Cleveland Museum of Art. Blindness is a recurrent theme in Picasso’s works of this period, also represented in The Blindman’s Meal (1903, the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and in the portrait of Celestina (1903).

The Rose Period (1904–1906) is characterized by a more cheery style with orange and pink colours, and featuring many acrobats and harlequins. The harlequin, a comedic character usually depicted in chequered patterned clothing, became a personal symbol for Picasso.

Picasso’s African-influenced Period (1907–1909) begins with the two figures on the right in his painting, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, which were inspired by African artefacts. Formal ideas developed during this period lead directly into the Cubist period that follows.

Analytic cubism (1909–1912) is a style of painting Picasso developed along with Georges Braque using monochrome brownish and neutral colours. Both artists took apart objects and “analyzed” them in terms of their shapes. Picasso and Braque’s paintings at this time have many similarities.

Cubism developed in the crucial years from 1907 to 1914 and is widely regarded as the most innovative and influential artistic style of the 20th century. During the summer of 1911, Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso painted side by side in Céret, in the Roussillon, each artist producing paintings that are difficult to distinguish from those of the other.

At its climax, Braque and Picasso brought Analytic Cubism almost to the point of complete abstraction. Among such works is Picasso’s Accordionist, a baffling composition that one of its former owners mistook for a landscape because of the inscription “Céret” on the reverse. With diligence, one can distinguish the general outlines of the seated accordionist, denoted by a series of shifting vertically aligned triangular planes, semicircular shapes, and right angles; the centrally located folds of the accordion and its keys; and, in the lower portion of the canvas, the volutes of an armchair.

In Landscape at Céret, another canvas painted that summer, patches of muted earthy colour, schematised stairways, and arched window configurations exist as visual clues that must be pieced together.

Man with Guitar was p ainted during Picasso’s third summer in Céret, the painting again has its foundation in the geometry, stemming from the Sardana’s rhythm. Picasso positioned rectangles to form the man’s body and the neck of the guitar. Crescents and ovals form the man’s face, hat brim, and the guitar’s body. As seen in his first Man with Guitar, Picasso built off this structure by disregarding boundaries for the objects, paralleling the continual improvisation in the Sardana The man and the guitar blend into each other, perhaps Picasso’s illustration of music’s ability to capture and influence a person – just as the Catalan music did to Picasso.

Synthetic cubism (1912–1919) was a further development of the genre, in which cut paper fragments—often wallpaper or portions of newspaper pages—were pasted into compositions, marking the first use of collage in fine art.

In the period following the upheaval of World War I, Picasso produced work in a neoclassical style. This “return to order” is evident in the work of many European artists in the 1920s, including André Derain, Giorgio de Chirico, and the artists of the New Objectivity movement. Picasso’s paintings and drawings from this period frequently recall the work of Ingres. During the 1930s, the minotaur replaced the harlequin as a common motif in his work. His use of the minotaur came partly from his contact with the surrealists, who often used it as their symbol, and it appears in Picasso’s Guernica.

Picasso was one of 250 sculptors who exhibited in the 3rd Sculpture International held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the summer of 1949. In the 1950s, Picasso’s style changed once again, as he took to producing reinterpretations of the art of the great masters. He made a series of works based on Velazquez’s painting of Las Meninas. He also based paintings on works by Goya, Poussin, Manet, Courbet and Delacroix.

He was commissioned to make a maquette for a huge 50-foot (15 m)-high public sculpture to be built in Chicago, known usually as the Chicago Picasso. He approached the project with a great deal of enthusiasm, designing a sculpture which was ambiguous and somewhat controversial. What the figure represents is not known; it could be a bird, a horse, a woman or a totally abstract shape. The sculpture, one of the most recognizable landmarks in downtown Chicago, was unveiled in 1967. Picasso refused to be paid $100,000 for it, donating it to the people of the city.

Picasso’s final works were a mixture of styles, his means of expression in constant flux until the end of his life. Devoting his full energies to his work, Picasso became more daring, his works more colourful and expressive, and from 1968 to 1971 he produced a torrent of paintings and hundreds of copperplate etchings. At the time these works were dismissed by most as pornographic fantasies of an impotent old man or the slapdash works of an artist who was past his prime. Only later, after Picasso’s death, when the rest of the art world had moved on from abstract expressionism, did the critical community come to see that Picasso had invented neo-expressionism.

Pablo Picasso died on April 8, 1973 in Mougins, France, while he and his wife Jacqueline entertained friends for dinner. His final words were “Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink any more.” He was interred at Castle Vauvenargues’ park, in Vauvenargues, Bouches-du-Rhône.

 

 
Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973).
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

 

 

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973).
Landscape at Céret (Paysage de Céret), Céret, Summer 1911.
Oil on canvas,
25 5/8 x 19 3/4 inches.
Guggenheim Museum

 

 

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973).
Man with Guitar 1913
MOMAt, NY

 

 

 


Georges Braque

Georges Braque (May 13, 1882 – August 31, 1963) was a major 20th century French painter and sculptor who, along with Pablo Picasso, developed the art movement known as cubism.

Georges Braque was born in Argenteuil-sur-Seine, France. He grew up in Le Havre and trained to be a house painter and decorator as his father and grandfather were, but he also studied painting in the evenings at the École des Beaux-Arts in Le Havre from about 1897 to 1899. He apprenticed in Paris under a decorator and was awarded his certificate in 1902. The following year he attended the Académie Humbert, also in Paris, and painted there until 1904.

His earliest works were impressionistic, but after seeing the work exhibited by the Fauves in 1905 Braque adopted a Fauvist style. The Fauves, a group that included Henri Matisse and André Derain among others, used brilliant colours and loose structures of forms to capture the most intense emotional response. Braque worked most closely with the artists Raoul Dufy and Othon Friesz, who shared Braque's hometown of Le Havre, to develop a somewhat more subdued Fauvist style. In 1906, Braque traveled with Friesz to L'Estaque, to Antwerp, and home to Le Havre to paint.

In May 1907, Braque successfully exhibited works in the Fauve style in the Salon des Indépendants. The same year, Braque's style began a slow evolution as he came under the strong influence of Paul Cézanne, who died in 1906, and whose works were exhibited in Paris for the first time in a large scale museum-like retrospective in September 1907. The 1907 Cezanne retrospective at the Salon d'Automne greatly impacted the direction that the avant-garde in Paris took, leading to the advent of Cubism.

Braque's paintings of 1908–1913 began to reflect his new interest in geometry and simultaneous perspective. He conducted an intense study of the effects of light and perspective and the technical means that painters use to represent these effects, appearing to question the most standard of artistic conventions. In his village scenes, for example, Braque frequently reduced an architectural structure to a geometric form approximating a cube, yet rendered its shading so that it looked both flat and three-dimensional. In this way Braque called attention to the very nature of visual illusion and artistic representation.

Beginning in 1909, Braque began to work closely with Pablo Picasso who had been developing a similar approach to painting. The invention of Cubism was a joint effort between Picasso and Braque, working in Montmartre, Paris and in Collioure in the Roussillon. These artists were the movement's main innovators. After meeting in 1907 Braque and Picasso in particular began working on the development of Cubism in 1908. Both artists produced paintings of neutralized colour and complex patterns of faceted form, now called Analytic Cubism. In 1912, they began to experiment with collage and papier collé.

Their productive collaboration continued and they worked closely together until the outbreak of World War I in 1914 when Braque enlisted in the French Army, leaving Paris to fight in the First World War.

French art critic Louis Vauxcelles first used the term Cubism, or "bizarre cubiques", in 1908 after seeing a picture by Braque. He described it as 'full of little cubes', after which the term quickly gained wide use although the two creators did not initially adopt it. Art historian Ernst Gombrich described cubism as "the most radical attempt to stamp out ambiguity and to enforce one reading of the picture - that of a man-made construction, a coloured canvas." The Cubist movement spread quickly throughout Paris and Europe.

Braque was severely wounded in the war, and when he resumed his artistic career in 1917 he moved away from the harsher abstraction of cubism. Working alone, he developed a more personal style, characterized by brilliant colour and textured surfaces and—following his move to the Normandy seacoast—the reappearance of the human figure. He painted many still life subjects during this time, maintaining his emphasis on structure. During his recovery he became a close friend of the cubist artist Juan Gris.

He continued to work throughout the remainder of his life, producing a considerable number of distinguished paintings, graphics, and sculptures, all imbued with a pervasive contemplative quality. He died August 31, 1963, in Paris.

 
Georges Braque. (1882-1963).
Man with a Guitar. Céret, summer 1911-early 1912.
Oil on canvas, 45 3/4 x 31 7/8" (116.2 x 80.9 cm).


Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall was a Belarusian-French painter of Belarusian-Jewish origin who was born in Belarus, at that time part of the Russian Empire. He is associated with the modern movements after impressionism.

Chagall took inspiration from Belarusian folk-life, and portrayed many Old Testament themes that reflected his Jewish heritage.

Chagall lived and worked in Céret in the Pyrénées-Orientales département of the Languedoc-Roussillon. Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque developed Cubism both here and on the other side of the Pyrennes.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Chagall engaged in a series of large-scale projects involving public spaces and important civic and religious buildings.

Chagall's artworks are difficult to categorize. Working in the pre-World War I Paris art world, he was involved with avant-garde currents, however, his work was consistently on the fringes of popular art movements and emerging trends, including Cubism and Fauvism, among others. He was closely associated with the Paris School and its exponents, including Amedeo Modigliani.

Abounding with references to his childhood, Chagall's work has also been criticized for slighting some of the turmoil which he experienced. He communicates happiness and optimism to those who view his work strictly in terms of his use of highly vivid colours. Chagall often posed himself, sometimes together with his wife, as an observer of a coloured world like that seen through a stained-glass window. Some see The White Crucifixion, which is rich with intriguing detail, as a denunciation of the Stalin regime, the Nazi Holocaust, and the oppression of Jews.

 

 
Marc Chagall.
La Baie Des Anges.
Lithograph 10.75 x 12.75 inches


René Magritte

René François Ghislain Magritte (November 21, 1898 – August 15, 1967) was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of witty and amusing images.

Magritte was born in Lessines, in the province of Hainaut, in 1898, the eldest son of Léopold Magritte, a tailor, and Adeline, a milliner. He began drawing lessons in 1910. In 1912, his mother committed suicide by drowning herself in the River Sambre. Magritte was present when her body was retrieved from the water. The image of his mother floating, her dress obscuring her face, may have influenced a 1927-1928 series of paintings of people with cloth obscuring their faces, including Les Amants, but Magritte disliked this explanation. He studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels for two years until 1918. In 1922 he married Georgette Berger, whom he had met in 1913.

Magritte worked in a wallpaper factory, and was a poster and advertisement designer until 1926 when a contract with Galerie la Centaure in Brussels made it possible for him to paint full-time. In 1926, Magritte produced his first surreal painting, The Lost Jockey (Le jockey perdu), and held his first exhibition in Brussels in 1927. Critics heaped abuse on the exhibition. Depressed by the failure, he moved to Paris where he became friends with André Breton, and became involved in the surrealist group. When Galerie la Centaure closed and the contract income ended, he returned to Brussels and worked in advertising. Then, with his brother, he formed an agency, which earned him a living wage.

Surrealist patron Edward James allowed Magritte, in the early stages of his career, to stay rent-free in his London home and paint. James features in two of Magritte’s pieces, The Principle Pleasure and La Reproduction Interdite. In 2005 he came ninth in the Walloon version of De Grootste Belg (The Greatest Belgian); in the Flemish version he was 18th.

A consummate technician, his work frequently displays a juxtaposition of ordinary objects in an unusual context, giving new meanings to familiar things. The representational use of objects as other than what they seem is typified in his painting, The Treachery of Images (La trahison des images), which shows a pipe that looks as though it is a model for a tobacco store advertisement. Magritte painted below the pipe, This is not a pipe (Ceci n'est pas une pipe), which seems a contradiction, but is actually true: the painting is not a pipe, it is an image of a pipe. (In his book, This Is Not a Pipe, French philosopher and critic Michel Foucault discusses the painting and its paradox.)

Magritte pulled the same stunt in a painting of an apple: he painted the fruit realistically and then used an internal caption or framing device to deny that the item was an apple. In these Ceci n'est pas works, Magritte points out that no matter how closely, through realism-art, we come to depicting an item accurately, we never do catch the item itself: we cannot smoke tobacco with a picture of a pipe.

His art shows a more representational style of surrealism compared to the "automatic" style seen in works by artists like Joan Miró. In addition to fantastic elements, his work is often witty and amusing. He also created a number of surrealist versions of other famous paintings.

 
Rene Magritte (1898 - 1967).
Le Château des Pyrénées (1959)


Salvador Dali

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, 1st Marquis of Púbol (May 11, 1904 – January 23, 1989), was a Spanish surrealist painter born in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain.

Dalí was a skilled draftsman, best known for the striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters.

Dalí insisted on his "Arab lineage", claiming that his ancestors were descended from the Moors who occupied Southern Spain for nearly 800 years (711-1492).

Widely considered to be greatly imaginative, Dalí had an affinity for doing unusual things to draw attention to himself. His eccentric manner sometimes drew more public attention than his artwork. The purposefully-sought notoriety led to broad public recognition.

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, was born on May 11, 1904, in the town of Figueres, in the Empordà region close to the French border in Catalonia, Spain.

When he was five, Dalí was taken to his brother's grave and told by his parents that he was his brother's reincarnation which he came to believe.

Dalí attended drawing school. In 1916 Dalí also discovered modern painting on a summer vacation to Cadaqués with the family of Ramon Pichot, a local artist who made regular trips to Paris. The next year, Dalí's father organized an exhibition of his charcoal drawings in their family home. He had his first public exhibition at the Municipal Theater in Figueres in 1919.

In Madrid he studied at the Academia de San Fernando ( School of Fine Arts). He experimented with Cubism, earning him attention from his fellow students. In these earliest Cubist works, he probably did not completely understand the movement, since his only information on Cubist art came from a few magazine articles and a catalogue given to him by Pichot, and there were no Cubist artists in Madrid at the time.

Dalí also experimented with Dada, which influenced his work throughout his life. At the Residencia, he became close friends with, among others, Pepín Bello, Luis Buñuel, and the poet Federico García Lorca.

Dalí was expelled from the Academia in 1926 shortly before his final exams when he stated that no one on the faculty was competent enough to examine him. In 1926 he made his first visit to Paris where he met Pablo Picasso. Picasso had already heard favourable things about Dalí from Joan Miró. Dalí did a number of works heavily influenced by Picasso and Miró over the next few years as he developed his own style.

Trends in Dalí's work that would continue throughout his life were already evident in the 1920s. Dalí devoured influences from many styles of art and then produced works ranging from the most academically classic, evidencing a familiarity with Raphael, Bronzino, Francisco de Zurbaran, Vermeer, and Velázquez, to the most cutting-edge avant-garde, sometimes in separate works and sometimes combined. Exhibitions of his works in Barcelona attracted much attention and mixtures of praise and puzzled debate from critics. Dalí grew a flamboyant moustache, influenced by that of seventeenth century Spanish master painter Diego Velázquez.

Dali, instead of condemning Hitler as his fellow surrealists, developed an obsessive interest in what he called "the Hitler phenomenon" which was frowned upon by his predominantly Marxist surrealist colleagues. Then, when Francisco Franco came to power in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, Dalí was one of the few Spanish intellectuals supportive of the new regime which eventually resulted in his official expulsion from the surrealist group. The surrealists henceforth spoke of Dalí in the past tense, as if he was dead.

In 1940, Dalí and Gala moved to the United States, where they lived for eight years. An Italian friar, Gabriele Maria Berardi, claimed to have performed an exorcism on Dalí while he was in France in 1947. The friar's estate contained a sculpture of Christ on the cross which Dalí had given his exorcist to thank him.

Starting in 1949, Dalí spent his remaining years back in his beloved Catalonia. The fact that he chose to live in Spain while it was ruled by Franco drew criticism from progressives and many other artists. As such, it is probable that at least some of the common dismissal of Dalí's later works had more to do with politics than the actual merits of the works themselves.

Dalí’s post-World War II period bore the hallmarks of technical virtuosity and an interest in optical illusions, science and religion. Increasingly Catholic, and inspired by the shock of Hiroshima, he labeled this period "Nuclear Mysticism". In paintings such as The Madonna of Port-Lligat (first version) of 1949 and Corpus Hypercubus, 1954, Dalí sought to synthesize Christian iconography with images of material disintegration inspired by nuclear physics. “Nuclear Mysticism” included such notable pieces as La Gare de Perpignan, 1965, Dali famously asserted that the Railway Station at Perpignan, capital of the Pyrénées-Orientales département was the centre of the universe.

In 1960, Dalí began work on the Dalí Theatre and Museum in his home town of Figueres; it was his largest single project and the main focus of his energy through 1974. He continued to make additions through the mid-1980s.

In 1980, Dalí's health took a catastrophic turn. His near-senile wife Gala was dosing him with a dangerous cocktail of non-prescribed medicine that damaged his nervous system, thus causing an untimely end to his artistic ability. At 76 years old, the 'ever-healthy' Dalí was a complete wreck, his right hand trembling terribly, Parkinson-like.

In 1982, King Juan Carlos of Spain bestowed on Dalí the title Marquis of Pubol, for which Dalí later paid him by giving him a drawing (Head of Europa, which would turn out to be Dalí's final drawing) after the king visited him on his deathbed.

Gala died on June 10, 1982. After Gala's death, Dalí lost much of his will to live. He deliberately dehydrated himself—possibly as a suicide attempt, possibly in an attempt to put himself into a state of suspended animation, as he had read that some microorganisms could do. He moved from Figueres to the castle in Púbol which he had bought for Gala and was the site of her death. In 1984, a fire broke out in his bedroom. In any case, Dalí was rescued and returned to Figueres where a group of his friends, patrons, and fellow artists saw to it that he was comfortable living in his Theater-Museum for his final years.

In November 1988 Dali entered the hospital with heart failure and on December 5, 1988 was visited by King Juan Carlos. On January 23, 1989 he died of heart failure at Figueres.

 

 
Salvador Dali (1904 – 1989)
Llaner Beach in Cadaques.
An early work c. 1921.
Oil on cardboard.
Private collection.


Salvador Dali (1904 – 1989)
Galatea of the Spheres (Galatee aux Spheres) 1952
Oil on canvas 65 x 54 cm
Fundacion Gala-Salvador-Dali, Figueras, Spain.

Salvador Dali (1904 – 1989)
Crucifixion or Corpus Hypercubicus (1954)
Oil on canvas.
194.5 x 124 cm.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA. .


Salvador Dali (1904 – 1989)
Self Portrait as Mona Lisa. 1954
Photographic elements by Philippe Halsman
from: Marcel Duchamp [the catalogue of an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art] 1973, p. 195.


Salvador Dali (1904 – 1989)
The Railway Station at Perpignan. 1965.
Oil on canvas.
295 x 406 cm.
Museum Ludwig, Cologne, USA.


 

 

 

 

 

 




Yves Brayer

Yves Brayer  (Versailles 1907 - Paris 1990) was a painter of genre scenes, animals, landscapes with figures, seascapes, mural compositions, settings and costumes for plays, gouaches, watercolours, etcher, engraver, lithographer, illustrator.

Yves Brayer was born in 1907 in Versailles, but was brought up in Bourges. Arriving in Paris in 1924, he attended art academies in Montparnasse and studied later at the Fine Arts School of Paris.

A scholarship granted by the French government enabled him in 1927 to travel to Spain; he studied old masters in the Prado Museum who were to have an influence on his future works. After a stay in Morocco, he was awarded the “Grand Prix de Rome” in 1930. Back in Paris in 1934, he showed his works at an important exhibition organised by the Gallery Charpentier.

He stayed in Paris and opened his own workshop in the “Quartier Latin”. In 1940, he moved to Cordes-sur-Ciel where later, in 1960, the city hall would open a museum in his honour. He returned to Paris in 1942 and created costumes and settings for a ballet in the Parisian Opera House. Being in Paris during the Occupation by the German Army, he was on hand to paint the liberation of the city.

The year 1945 showed a new development of his style: having discovered the landscapes of Provence, he became copnscious of untouched and savage nature; he became fascinated by the Alpilles Mountains near Le Destet and the flat countryside of the Camargue with its famous white Camargue horses and black Camargue bulls.

Yves Brayer was among those painters who, after World War II, rejected the pictorial movements of the last 19th and the beginning 20th centuries, feeling closer to Vuillard and Bonnard (the group “Réalité Poétique”) or admiring Courbet (movement “Forces Nouvelles”). Brayer was a friend of Francis Gruber who originated the “Nouveau Réalisme Français” during the fifties.

After the period in Spain dominated by dark colours, and the period in Italy when he preferred red and ochre, he now diversified introducing green, blue and yellow paints. Attracted by Mediterranean landscapes, he returned to Spain and Italy, but Provence and the Camargue were to remain his favourites. He also travelled to Mexico, Egypt, Iran, Greece, Russia, the United States and Japan where he created numerous sketches and watercolours.

He made copper engravings and lithographs and illustrated books written by Cendrars, de Montherlant, Baudelaire, Claudel, Giono, and Frederic Mistral. He also created mural decorations, sketches for tapestries and models for costumes and settings for theatres and Opera Houses in Paris, Amsterdam, Nice, Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Avignon. A “Museum Yves Brayer” opened in September 1991 in Les Baux de Provence.

He was a professor at the “Académie de la Grande Chaumière” for fifty years, President of the “Salon d’Automne” for five years, and being member of the “Académie des Beaux Arts”, he was head of the Marmottan Museum in Paris for more than twelve years.

Yves Brayer Website: http://www.yvesbrayer.com/

 

 

 
Yves Brayer  (1907 - 1990)
Amandiers en fleurs, oliviers et cyprès en Provence
Watercolor & gouache on paper
h: 20 x w: 26 in  (50.8 x 66 cm)


Yves Brayer  (1907 - 1990)
Manade de chevaux dans les marais,
Camargue, 1971

 

 

For a recommended site on art in the Aude département , with extensive links to many contemorary artists, click on the following external link to: Aude Culture Next.

 

 

 

In May each year an organisation called Artistes a Suivre…mounts a weekend exhibition spread over multiple locations in the Haute Vallée de l'Aude. Click here to vist their WebsiteNext.

 

 

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The Arcadian Shepherds  (Et in Arcadia Ego) by Poussin. Click here to see a larger version in a new window.
Art and Artists in the Languedoc