Friday 24 May 2013

St.Malo: Summer !

Before returning soon to the world of printmaking here's a last selection of some great impressions by painters staying in St.Malo around 1900-1930 that I feel have to include. Finishing in an ordely way this survey. Many of these names also surface in Paris’ Academie Julian.
Besides a great printmaker Czech Frantisek Tavik Simon (1877-1942) was also a fine painter discovering the charm and colours of St. Malo’s Victorian holiday life.

Surprisingly many later famous Canadian artist visited St.Malo in the beginning of the XXth century: Albert Henri Robinson (1881-1965) who painted with a similar to F.T Simon's pallet of wonderful blue-greens (emerald) and lila the sea and lighthouse of St.Malo. And after returning in Canada the ships and port of Montreal.

His friend A.Y. (Alexander Young) Jackson (1882-1874) who was with him in St.Malo later reported with paint and brushes as an appointed  War Artist in WWI after being wounded as a soldier.

Clarence Gagnon (1881-1942) saw the special light and colors of Brittany as he did the decorative and characteristic striped beach tents and parasols. A classic and iconic design and in use and popular to this day.   

and Helen Galloway McNicoll (1879-1915), also a student at the Slade School in London, best known and loved for the charming children and women acting in many of her impressionist paintings. She died, aged 36, of diabetes.

British Gabriël Thomson (1861-1935) although unknown and obscured and of whom I could only find 3 further examples shows best why this part of Brittany’s coast is named Côte d’Emeraude. The painting hangs on the other side of the Channel in the National Museum of Wales.

Also British: George G. Palmer (1913-1972): finding his 1939 view of the beach of St.Malo just before WWII was also a surprise. I will award him a separate posting soonest after discovering his interesting career, paintings, and family.

My apologies to all artists I should have but could not not include in the confined space of a Blogposting: Paul Signac, Victor Gilsoul, Edward Daniël, Leon Lhermitte, Louis Isabey and so many many other great painters. Enough to write a book on painting and painters in St.Malo, wich I'm not. Hope you've enjoyed reading as much as I did researching and composing

All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.   

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.

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.

Monday 13 May 2013

Susanna and the Elders and some Nabis painters

Susanna and the Elders and the Nabis painters

Waiting for my request to Paris sending me a colour picture of this archived painting of Susanna and the Elders by Roland Marie Gérardin (1907-1935) shown in recent posting I today decided sharing some thematically related great paintings I’ve recently found and I really came to like. 
Susanna by Paul Ranson (1864-1909) and Paul Sérusier (1864-1927)

Just picture-Google Paul Ranson and enter a wonder world of color almost like entering into a dream or hallucination.
Ultimately these paintings all leading back to Paul Sérusier’s famous little painting “Talisman”. This little work, below, was to change the course of the world of painting and is said to have been painted on the back of a cigar box.

Colleague, friend and also Nabis convert ("prophet") Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) did his best capturing the bright light in "Mimosa" according to the new theories.
After bringing "Talisman" back from Brittany, where Sérusier had met and worked with Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), to Paris and the Académie Julian this little marvel would upset the artistic world far beyond the mere 27 x 21 = 57 square cm. it measures. It is now in the Musee D'Orsay in Paris.
Paul Gauguin and Paul Serusier
Painting without depth (perspective) and simplifying the composition to arrangements and areas of colour it was a sensation and a true revolution. Many of these compositions could well have been designed as prints. 
Paul Ranson (1864-1909)

The group of followers naming themselves the Nabis, decided painting after Gauguins ideas of composition and colour while he later decided to continue his exotic life in the South seas. Among the groupmembers were also Maurice Denis (1870-1943) and  painter sculptor Aristide Maillol (1861-1944). 
Brittany according to Gauguin and Maurice Denis.

Painting like printmakers only Felix Valloton (1865-1925) actually produced many woodblock prints. Revolution started in Pont Aven, Brittany, France.  

His landscape paintings (above) could easily have been designed by a British or Scottish woodblock printmaker like Ian Cheyne (1895-1955) (right) and although all his prints are in black and white, Valloton basically is regarded as one of the pioneers and pivotal figures in Modern Printmaking.

Closing this Susanna posting with three more selected and more or less contemporary paintings: Susanna by influential German painter and Berlin professor Lovis Corinth (1858-1925) who, it was said, could paint a Saint just as well as a Whore and by symbolist painter Franz (von) Stuck (1863-1928). 

The last one (of this choice and selection) is by American Thomas Hart Benton (1884-1978)

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