Friday 22 June 2012

Artists at Étretat, France - part 1

I have visited Étretat more than once, and find it a magical place. You are instantly drawn to the beach and it's extraordinary topography. Étretat is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the Haute-Normandie region in northern France. It’s best known for its cliffs which have famous natural arches formed into them. These cliffs and the associated resort beach attracted artists including Eugène Delacroix (1798 – 1863), Gustave Courbet (1819 – 1877), Eugène Boudin (1824 – 1898) and Claude Monet (1840 – 1926), and were featured prominently in the 1909 Arsène Lupin novel The Hollow Needle by Maurice Leblanc.

Part 1 of this post will feature the Étretat works of Delacroix, Corbet, and Boudin. Part 2 will feature the Étretat works of Monet.

Two of the three famous arches seen from the town are the Porte d'Aval, and the Porte d'Amont. The Manneporte is the third which cannot be seen from the town.

Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix (1798 – 1863) was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school. Delacroix's use of expressive brushstrokes and his study of the optical effects of colour profoundly shaped the work of the Impressionists, while his passion for the exotic inspired the artists of the Symbolist movement. Some see him as the link between the classic style of the old masters and the modern movements that arose in the 19th century.

1838 The Pied du Cheval, Étretat

c1859 Cliff at Étretat

Falaises d'Étretat

The Porte d'Amont, Étretat 
pastel 15.7 x 20.6 cm


Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet (1819 – 1877) was a French painter who led the Realist movement in 19th-century French painting. The Realist movement bridged the Romantic movement (characterised by the paintings of Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix) with the Barbizon School and the Impressionists. Courbet occupies an important place in 19th century French painting as an innovator and as an artist willing to make bold social commentary in his work.

1866 The Cliffs at Étretat

1869 Boats on a Beach, Étretat

1869 The Cliff at Étretat, the Porte d'Aval 
oil on canvas

1869 The Sea-Arch at Étretat 
oil on canvas 79 x 128 cm

1869-70 The Cliff at Étretat after the Storm 
oil on canvas

c1869 Bay with Cliffs 
oil on canvas

1870 Cliffs at Étretat 
oil on canvas 66 x 82 cm

Cliff at Étretat

Eugène Boudin (1824 – 1898) was one of the first French landscape painters to paint outdoors. Boudin was a marine painter, and expert in the rendering of all that goes upon the sea and along its shores. His pastels, summary and economic, garnered the splendid eulogy of Baudelaire, and Corot who, gazing at his pictures, said to him, "You are the master of the sky."

1890 Étretat, La Falaise d'Aval 
oil on canvas

1890 Étretat, Le Falaise d'Aval 
oil on panel

1890 Étretat, The Amont Cliff in November 
oil on canvas 50 x 60 cm

1890 Étretat, The Falaise d'Aval at Sunset 
oil on canvas

1890 The Laundresses of Étretat 
oil on canvas

1890-94 Étretat, Boats Stranded on the Beach 
oil on panel

1890-94 Étretat, the Cliff of Aval 
oil on canvas

1890-94 Étretat, Beached Boats and Falaise d'Amont 
oil on canvas 46.4 x 65.4 cm

c1890-94 Étretat, Beached Boats and the Falaise d'Aval (study) 
oil on panel 37.7 x 55 cm

c1890-94 Étretat, Laundresses on the Beach, Low Tide 
oil on panel

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Photograph by Ian Nicholson ©
I thought I’d do a post to coincide with an exhibition opening today in London. Dulwich Picture Gallery in South London is showing a monumental installation in its grounds to coincide with Andy Warhol: The Portfolios, The Bank of America Collection. The Four Seasons, a set of four fifteen-foot fibreglass sculptures by American artist and film-maker Philip Haas, will be the first ever public display of all four works.

In a spectacular transformation that is typical of his work, Philip Haas has created a group of large-scale sculptures, inspired by Giuseppe Arcimboldo's renaissance paintings of the four seasons, comprising Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. The exhibition runs between 20 June – 16 September 2012.

Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527 – 1593) was born in Milan in the year 1527. He was part of a rich and important family, including some important archbishops. His career started in the glass workshops of the Milan Cathedral.

From 1562 on, Giuseppe Arcimboldo started working at the Hapsburg imperial court of Ferdinand I. It was here that he created the paintings that he is so well known for. Almost immediately his original fantasy was unleashed. He invented a portrait type consisting of painted animals, flowers, fruit, and objects composed to form a human resemblance. Some are satirical portraits of court personages, others are allegorical personifications.

Arcimboldo's style has been so often imitated over the centuries that it is sometimes difficult to make exact attributions. Some see him as the forerunner of Surrealism in the 20th century, but he should be seen in his own context at the end of the Renaissance. In this time people (collectors and scientists alike) were beginning to pay more attention to nature. Arcimboldo really created the fantastic image of the court in Prague, creating costumes, set designs, and decorations. Emperor Rudolf II gave him countless commissions for paintings and set him the task of researching and buying works of art and natural curiosities as well. In 1587 Arcimboldo returned to Milan but stayed in contact with the Emperor.

Arcimboldo died in 1593 in Milan. Although he was extremely famous during his lifetime, he was soon forgotten after his death. We do not know why people lost interest in his art. Perhaps he was misunderstood by the generations that followed. The interest to his abstruse and fantastic pictures, of which only a few survive today, did revive at the end of the 19th century.

1566 Air 
oil on canvas 75 x 56 cm

1566 Fire 
oil on panel 76 x 51 cm

1566 The Lawyer 
oil on canvas 64 x 51 cm

1566 Water 
oil on panel 67 x 52 cm

1570 Earth 
oil on panel 70 x 49 cm

1573 Spring 
oil on canvas 76 x 64 cm

1573 Summer 
oil on canvas 76 x 64 cm

1573 Autumn 
oil on canvas 93 x 72 cm

1573 Winter 
oil on canvas 76 x 64 cm

1573 Seated Figure of Summer 
oil on canvas 64 x 76 cm

1578 Portrait of Adam 
oil on canvas

1578 Portrait of Eve 
oil on canvas

1588 Flora 
oil on panel 73 x 56 cm
The Cook 
oil on canvas 52 x 41 cm

The Cook has a double illusion - the head (above) sits on a metal dish and wears another metal dish as a hat. When the painting is viewed upside-down the situation is reversed, and a different face appears:

The Gardener oil on panel 35 x 24 cm

The Librarian 
oil on canvas 97 x 71 cm

The Seasons 
oil on canvas 94 x 73 cm

1590-91 Vertumnus
A portrait depicting Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emporer as Vertumnus, the Roman God of the seasons

Monday 18 June 2012

Edward Bawden - part 4

1986 Self-Portrait 
watercolour and pencil 48.9 x 64.8 cm 
© National Portrait Gallery, London

This is part 4 of a 4-part post on the works of British Artist Edward Bawden, one of a group of artists associated with a community of artists that existed around Great Bardfield in Essex, England during the middle years of the 20th century.
For biographical notes on Bawden see part 1. For earlier works see parts 1, 2 and 3 also. 

In 1967 Bawden made a  series of six prints of London markets, commissioned by Curwen Prints. The markets were Billingsgate, Borough, Covent Garden (2), Leadenhall and Smithfield:

1967 Billingsgate Fish Market 

1967 Borough Market 
lithograph 46 x 61 cm

1967 Covent Garden Flower Market 
lithograph 46 x 61 cm

1967 Covent Garden Fruit Market 
lithograph 45.8 x 69.9 cm

1967 Leadenhall Market 
lithograph 46 x 61.5 cm

1967 Smithfield Meat Market 
lithograph 46 x 61.5 cm
In 1970 Bawden produced a series of eight linocuts from themes in Aesop's Fables, which he published himself in an edition of fifty:

1970 Aesop's Fables, A Frog and an Ox 
linocut 40.5 x 56 cm

1970 Aesop's Fables, Jackdaw in Borrowed Feathers 

1970 Aesop's Fables, Hares Foxes and Eagles 

1970 Aesop's Fables, Ant and Grasshopper 

1970 Aesop's Fables, Frog, Mouse and Kite 

1970 Aesop's Fables, Gnat and Lion 
linocut 40.5 x 56 cm

1970 Aesop's Fables, Hare and Tortoise 
linocut 40.5 x 56 cm

1970 Aesop's Fables, Peacock and Magpie 
linocut 40.5 x 56 cm

1970 Trinity College Chapel, Oxford 
lithograph 29.5 x 42.9 cm

1973 Audley End 
lithograph 50.5 x 63 cm

1978 Neyayah, Rasselas and Imlac 

1979 Wingfield Manor, Derbyshire - The Great Hall 

1981 Cat and Ball of Wool/Play with Me 

1982 Book Illustration 
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1986 Among the Marsh Arabs 
lithograph 36 x 58 cm

1986 Cat and Greenhouse, Park Lane, Saffron Walden 

The original watercolour of ‘Dunkirk’ (below), painted in 1940, is in the collection of the Imperial War Museum. This version (colour lithograph on plastic) was made in 1986 by Bawden for the Curwen Press in an edition of 75:

1986 Dunkirk 
lithograph 36 x 58 cm

1986 Self-Portrait 
watercolour and pencil 48.9 x 64.8 cm 
© National Portrait Gallery, London

1987 Hound of the Baskervilles 

An Old Crab and a Young 
linocut 37.7 x 24.5 cm

Corn Exchange, Saffron Walden 
linocut 56 x 76.6 cm

The Blue Plough, Saffron Walden 
linocut 56 x 78 cm