Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Cubism’

“There is only one valuable thing in art: the thing you cannot explain.”

 — Georges Braque

*******************************

 

This is a quote from artist Georges Braque that I used on the first artist statement I ever wrote many years back. It still pops up in my mind on a regular basis, especially at times when I find myself looking at a just finished painting, wondering what is there that is triggering my emotional response to it.  These words from Braque reminds me that what I am trying to capture is not the subject matter, not a mere representation of reality.  I am trying to capture an indefinable feeling or spirit that is not calculable or even visible.

Definitely beyond the reach of my words.

It is the sum of color and light.

And texture and line.

And the spaces in between.

It is of the spirit and the life force.   When it is there, it is obvious and undeniable. And though I can’t explain it, I can see the purpose and value of that work.

And that is a good day…

***********

I have never really focused here on the work of George Braque (1882-1963) who is mainly known as one of the major artists, along with Picasso, of the Cubist movement. His work, through all the differing phases of his long career, is always impressive. I thought I’d share the video slideshow below of his work. It’s set to Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, better known as the Elvira Madigan concerto, which makes it a most pleasant and calming thing to spend a few minutes with on the first cool morning of November.

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

"Mr Wyndham Lewis as a Tyro"- Wyndham Lewis

“Mr Wyndham Lewis as a Tyro”- Wyndham Lewis

For many years now, one of my favorite books to just sit and flip through is my now very worn copy of  A Dictionary of Art Quotes by Ian Crofton.  It has great quotes by artists and critics about artists, schools of art and assorted other things that have to do with art.  The thing that I like most is that Crofton keeps it subjective, often having opposing points of view under each heading.  You might read one quote praising an artist while the very next might be one that portrays him as a hack. It’s interesting to see this contrast of perceptions, often by the artist’s contemporaries.

Some artists receive no negative words against their work or personality– Henri Rousseau, for instance, who was much beloved and respected by his contemporaries.  Most have positive quotes with an occasional barb thrown in their direction.  But the section concerning one artist, Percy Wyndham Lewis, really stuck out when I read it.  There is not anything that could be perceived as positive–Ernest Hemingway even said he had the “eyes of a rapist.”  Not knowing much about this artist, it prompted to find out a little more about Wyndham Lewis, as he preferred to be called.

It didn’t take much research to discover reasons behind the vitriol directed at him.

First, a little background.  Lewis was born in Nova Scotia in 1882, educated in England, lost his eyesight in the late 1940’s and died in 1957.  He was an extraordinarily talented painter and writer and the founder of the Vorticists, an art and literary movement derived from Cubism that flourished in the years before World War I but died out in the aftermath.   He painted and drew , wrote well received novels and published a ground-breaking art magazine, Blast.  No lack of talent, that is for sure

"T.S. Eliot"- Wyndham Lewis

“T.S. Eliot”- Wyndham Lewis

But from what I can deduct, he was a very contentious and very opinionated, always seeking an argument or looking to tweak those he viewed as his intellectual inferiors.  He ruffled more than his share of feathers.  As he said, “It is more comfortable for me, in the long run, to be rude than polite.”   But his biggest offense came in the early 1930’s when he wrote in favor of Hitler and the Fascists, believing them to be the keys to maintaining peace in Europe.  That was, to be sure, not well received and was for many unpardonable even though Lewis did reverse his views later after a 1937 trip to Berlin when it became obvious to him that he had gravely misjudged the intent of Hitler.  He wrote a number of items against Hitler and Fascism and in defense of the Jews of Europe but the damage was done: he was a persona non grata.
He basically disappeared from the art scene although he continued to write prolifically, even after the loss of his sight. There was a re-interest in his painting  and Vorticism in the mid-50’s , just a year or two before his death and in subsequent years his profile as an artist has regained some of its lost stature. He is consdiered among the finest of British portrait painters.  His painting of poet T.S.. Eliot, shown here, is considered one of his finest and one of the great examples of British portrait painting.

I picked up a book on his portraiture and find it very compelling.  The self portrait at the top of the page, Mr Wyndham Lewis as Tyro, really stood out for me as did the ominous Praxitella, below.  An interesting character.  I was glad to come across his work and will continue to explore it.

Wyndham Lewis -Praxitella

Praxitella– Wyndham Lewis

A Battery Shelled- Wyndham Lewis

A Battery Shelled- Wyndham Lewis

Wyndham Lewis- Seated Figure

Seated Figure- Wyndham Lewis

 

 

Read Full Post »

Maria Blanchard-Enfant aux pâtisseries1924I often highlight artists here whose work  has been little known or appreciated or those who have overcome great obstacles in finding their artistic voice.  Maria Blanchard is one who falls into both of these categories.  Born in Santander, Spain in 1881, Maria was dealt a harsh hand due to a damaging fall her mother took during her pregnancy.  She suffered from dwarfism, was hunchbacked and had great difficulty in walking due to a hip deformity.  Unfortunately, these disabilities made her the subject of much ridicule throughout her life.  But through it all, she had her art and made the absolute most of it.

In 1903, she went to Madrid to study painting and reveled in the expression it offered.  She learned much and worked hard, finally winning a grant in 1909 to continue her studies the Academy Vitti in Paris.  It was during this time in Paris that she broke free from her traditional training and was introduced to Cubism, the art movement then in its formative years.  Her work became very cubist at this point but evolved over time into a distinct style that incorporated elements of cubism and traditional sensibilities of form and composition.

Maria Blanchard-Still LifeIn 1914, she returned to Spain, taking the chair of drawing in Salamanca.  But her appearance brought her taunts from the students and in 1916 she returned to Paris where she still painted in a Cubist manner, producing work such as the still life shown here on the left.  Around 1920, she made the move to the incorporated style that she worked in for the remainder of her life.  With her work, Maria supported herself along with her sister and her children who had come to Paris to live with her.

Maria Blanchard -L'Enfant à la glace1925However, the economic bust of the late 20’s caused her sales to suffer and she struggled mightily, her already fragile health suffering from the added stress of trying to produce work that would create enough income for her family.  She continued to deteriorate and finally passed away in 1932 at the age of 51.

As I said, her name and her work is not well known to the casual observer.  She has remained collectible, however, with her work’s value continually rising.  For example, an early Cubist painting of hers from around 1917 sold at auction in 2012 for over $700,000 and her work regularly sells well at auction for hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Of course, this is small comfort for the harsh life she endured.  But this recognition by collectors of the enduring quality of her work is testimony to the strength of her vision and the way in which she expressed it.  Her legacy lives on.  Such is the beauty of art…

Maria Blanchard-MaterniteMaria Blanchard-L'Enfant au Bracelet (1922-23) Maria Blanchard-Jeune Fille à la Fenêtre Ouverte (1924)

Maria Blanchard-La Echadora de Cartas

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: