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Posts Tagged ‘Les Nabis’

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All that is necessary to paint well is to be sincere.

–Maurice Denis

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In my opinion, sincerity is a huge part of how an artist’s work comes across, perhaps even more than the actual ability of the artist. Sincerity carries the emotion, the sensation, of the work of art.  It is the part of art that moves and speaks to you.

I guess that is why I was drawn this morning to the simple quote above from painter Maurice Denis (1870-1943). I’ve been an admirer of his work for some time and for some reason have yet to mention him here. He was not one of the bigger names of art in his time but was important in that era that encompassed the transition from traditional representation to impressionism then on to modern art. He was part of Les Nabis which translates from both Hebrew and Arabic as The Prophets. It was a group of young French artists who followed in the artistic footsteps of Paul Gauguin.

As Denis wrote about Gauguin’s influence:

We learned from Gauguin that every work of art is a transposition, a caricature, a passionate equivalent of a sensation which has been experienced. He freed us from all restraints which the idea of copying naturally placed on our painter’s instincts. All artists are now free to express their own personality.

That basically deals with the same sort of sincerity mentioned at the top f the page.

Denis had a long career that moved through a number of different phases, all done well and with sincerity. There is much in his work that speaks to me, things that I wish to carry into my own work. Things I have already used, in some cases. I urge you to check out his wiki bio or some other reference sites to find out more.

A parting line from Denis:  Don’t lose sight of the essential objectives of painting, which are expression, emotion, delectation; to understand the means, to paint decoratively, to exalt form and color. 


 

 

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The waves broke and spread their waters swiftly over the shore. One after another they massed themselves and fell; the spray tossed itself back with the energy of their fall. The waves were steeped deep-blue save for a pattern of diamond-pointed light on their backs which rippled as the backs of great horses ripple with muscles as they move. The waves fell; withdrew and fell again, like the thud of a great beast stamping.

― Virginia WoolfThe Waves

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I was planning on showing this painting, The Green Wave, at some point in the future. It’s from French painter Georges Lacombe  (1868-1916) who was part of Les Nabis, a painting group heavily influenced by the work of Paul Gauguin. I am a big admirer of many of the painters, including Lacombe,  associated with this group.

As I said, this was planned for sometime in the future but yesterday’s results in elections around the country prompted me to want to show it today. It was heartening, a big ray of light in the darkness, to have the people of Virginia show up in a big way and make a big statement against what has been happening this past year carrying the Dems to statewide victories. They rejected Ed Gillespie‘s attempt at copying 45*’s  playbook of divisive rhetoric, giving Ralph Northam a landslide victory in the race for governor and won the majority of the down ballot races.

And it wasn’t just Virginia. Across the country Dems, Independents and disillusioned Republicans made very much the same statement– what is happening is not who we are. Longtime GOP seats were flipped in places that were thought to be bulletproof. If the members of the GOP in the house and senate don’t take notice and begin to act responsibly and in the best interest of the country and their true constituents– not the fat cat donors who line their pockets– they most likely will be swept away by this same wave when it comes around next year.

I can’t think of much, if anything, to say positively about the person who some call our president. But I do thank him for waking people up, for making so many more people take an active interest in what has been taking place while we all allowed ourselves to be distracted. They have been energized and yesterday’s victories demonstrates that real results can occur with focused resistance.

And that will only serve to strengthen the resolve of those who are going to make up the coming wave. This wave cracked the seawall. That was shown yesterday but a bigger wave is out there, restlessly waiting to unleash its full fury.

Like a great beast stamping.

A year ago on this day, that election left many of us thinking that this country was beyond saving, that we had succumbed to our lowest qualities. Hatred. Greed. Selfishness. Fear.

But people have come together to take action and to make their voices heard. So be encouraged this morning  but do not relax, don’t think your responsibility has ended in one day or one small act. You snooze, you lose.

Instead, be even more involved. Double your efforts. Add your full force to the gathering wave and let everyone know what is coming.

Like a great beast stamping.

 

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