Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Saint Malo, beached !

Beached in St.Malo.

On the beach in St. Malo in before posting it was inevitable meeting some more foreign artists who stayed and painted the walled city and its fashionable beaches. I suppose James Wilson Morrice (1865-1924) actually had to be included in before posting. Being a greater God of Modern painting he is considered one of the great Canadian painters. 
Friend of American Maurice Brazil Prendergast (1858-1924) at the Académie Julian where they arrived and met as students around 1890 discovering Brittany's coast and St. Malo shortly after. Morrice' paintings were created from around that time but Prendergasts career as an impressionist (which he wasn't) wasn't very successful in the beginning. His very characteristic style for which he today is much loved had yet to be developed and mature. He returned in 1907 to paint his St.Malo (before posting).   
And friend of Australian Charles Conder (1868-1909) who like Morrice choose for a long stay in France, lived and painted in England and was already a celebrated painter in Australia before leaving for Europe.

Originally the Académie Julian, started as a private entreprise in 1868 preparing male students for the Ecole des Beaux Arts located in the bustling Rue de Montmartre. But eventually it drew thousands of students from all over the world working in many locations all over Paris paying for services and courses and who were taught by the best French artists. It also accommodated women students completing a study in the art of painting and sculpture while the official “Ecole des beaux Arts” was still refusing them.

In the Académie they met the Nabis (“Prophets”) painters. It was probably Morrice, who had arrived first, inviting Prendergast to St.Malo. From Morrice he also learned painting “pochades”, the small (pocketsize) studies on panel which Prendergast eventually back in the US lead to the recognizable style he is most known and famous for: mundanely dressed people and beach scenery in strong coloured and flat (Nabis) strokes of paint. He was a true watercolor artist painting later also in oil.
Morrice also painted in the seaside village of Dieppe and created some strong and colorful work here like this study and the actual painting below. I'ld settle for the study. Dieppe was made famous and immortal by Monet, Boudin and Whistler.

In St. Malo (and at the Académie) we also meet Emanuel Phillip Fox (1865-1915) and his artist wife Ethel Carrick Fox (1872-1952). They returned and became very famous in Australia. Read here* about this interesting artistic couple. 

Above Emanuel and Ethel Fox.
Maurice Prendergast's (unfinished) sketch. Same place, same tide ! But I think Ethel Fox stretched and bended the perspective a little to the advantage of the composition.

Writing this posting I noticed a peculiar fact about Prendergast and Morrice. Both artists, learning, experimenting, painting, working and growing into fame and glory, influenced by and meeting all these creative artists and writers of the time, Matisse, Degas, Somerset Maugham, Marquet, Boudin, Whistler and many more, left this world in the same last week of January 1924. 
Prendergast (65) in New York and Morrice (59) in Tunis. Prendergast was in frail health, Morrice died of alcohol abuse, Fox (50) of chain-smoking and Conder (41) of syphilis contracted from his landlady not being able to pay the rent with money or paintings. 
Enough considerations to end my ambitions to be a famous painter and stick to blogwriting and collecting prints. For the moment. Ethel Fox lived to be 80.
All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only. 
Selecting pictures for this posting from the many great examples available has been an extremely difficult and debatable task. All pictures are mouse-clickable to embiggen. 

Next, even some more surprising painters of St. Malo.

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