Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Saint Malo and some great painters (I)

St. Malo:
  Maurice Brazil Prendergast,  Sir Willam Russel Flint, Paul Lecomte and N. Kerber

Yes, I know, this is not a woodblock print. It's a drawing in ink. But one cannot live by prints alone. I can't, so I asked the publisher, writer and editor of this Blog to bother you today with this recent fleemarket find. It's signed N.(I think)  Kerber, 1954. I have no idea and or any clue to who he (or she) might be. This posting one day maybe helping to identify this artist. This is how St.Malo looked liked in 1954 (right in the middle of it's reconstruction 1948-1960) being the year my mother dropped me on our planet and having walked about the city in the 80's. I just couldn't leave it and had to bag it. 

Visiting St.Malo was rewarded with discovering delicious "Far Breton", one of Brittany's specialities and it's stunningly simple receipe  you'll find here* 

Saint Malo on Brittany’s NW-coast, I discovered excavating the Internet, attracted some great painters. Some famous, some less, but all trying to capture the combination of the unique walled medieval port and city, the sea and the Atlantic light.  Above around 1905, below today.
Shy American (post) impressionist Maurice Brazil Prendergast (1858-1924) was here. He visited and stayed around 1907. He met Vuillard and Bonnard and studied at the Acadamie Julian in Paris. He did many paintings of the great city and most of all of the beach and beach life in his happy, colorful and mosiac way. Many of them are described as sketches, but in fact are so good I doubt these expert qualifications. His works in oil were created later in life being    by heart a watercolor artist. 

Above: Studying these works I was amazed to discover how the artist changed his view (and witnessed the changes of the tide) from the same spot in these paintings. (High tide, Low tide, in between) A 100 years later and from my desktop ! 

And touring the Internet I discovered yet another of my favorite artists was here, William Russel Flint (1880-1964), a Scott and later knighted Sir Flint. He was definitely one of the finest masters of watercolor painting the world ever saw and he was here a few years before British and allied bombing in august 1944, freeing the French from German occupation destroyed the city almost completely in three nights of bombing.

Here Sir Flint could combine his skill's and love for the landscape with his amazing talent creating many Eves from Eden, most of them bathing with just a few hairs on brush, a dash of water and some dried pigments. He must have known St. Malo and its surrounding beaches well. Because he obviously had another great talent of being in the right place in the right time witnessing all these beached objects. And carrying a painting box around at the same time. He must have loved St.Malo because like Prendergast he made dozens of paintings of the place. His creating of water is just incredible: like Turner created skies and God created Eve. 

Paul Lecomte (1842-1920) is last in this posting on the greater gods (but who am I to judge) of (post)-impressionist painting seeing St.Malo. A contemporary of Claude Monet (1840-1926) Lecomte is considered the last painter of the Barbizon school of painting (1830-1870) freeing landscape painting from romanticism and leading it into Impressionism. Monet considered the greatest of Impressionists. Lecomte viewed St.Malo from opposite the Rance estuary  sister city Dinard (try googling: Dinard + Google Earth)  

Next: St.Malo seen by some lesser gods (but who am I to judge) of (post)-impressionist painting. 

All pictures (mouse clickable to embiggen) borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.

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