Monday, 25 February 2008

Charles Cottet (1863-1925)

Cottet studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, and under Puvis de Chavannes and Roll, while also attending the Académie Julian (where fellow students formed Les Nabis school of painting, with which he was later associated). He travelled and painted in Egypt, Italy, and on Lake Geneva, but he made his name with his sombre and gloomy, firmly designed, severe and impressive scenes of life on the Brittany coast.

Cottet exibited at the Salon of 1889, but on a trip to Brittany in 1886 he had found his true calling. For the next twenty years he painted scenes of rural and harbor life, portraying a culture Parisians still found exotic. He is especially noted for his dark seascapes of Breton harbors at dawn, and evocative scenes from the lives of Breton fishermen.

His masterpiece is undoubtedly "Douleur au pays de la mer
," shown below.

Charles Cottet - "Douleur au pays de la mer" 1908.

Cottet posing with the painting -

Three arresting images of War

Felix Vallotton (1865-1925) "Verdun." 1917.

Georges Paul Leroux (1877-1957) "Soldats enterrant leurs camarades au clair de lune." 1915.

Gerald White Victor (1891-1954) "American Field Service at Cappy-sur-Somme." 20thc.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Three works by the Belgian, Anto Carte

Antoine "Anto" Carte (1886-1954.)

"Le bon pasteur"

"Le charretier"


Thursday, 14 February 2008

Louis-Gustave Ricard (1823-1873)

Ricard is a highly underrated portrait painter. His sensitive and revealing portraits are worthy of attention and in some cases are of the absolute highest quality, as below. His best known works are his several paintings of other artists, works made famous by their sitter rather than Ricard.

"Maria Clara Jeanbernat" Oil on Canvas, 1823.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Orientalist Portraits by Gabriel Morcillo Raya (1887-1973)

"Portrait of a man with bird"

"Los Bacos"

"Oriental Musicians"

"Dama con abanico"


Saturday, 2 February 2008

Pascal Adolphe Jean Dagnan-Bouveret (1852-1929)

Later in life the French painter Pascal Adolphe Jean Dagnan-Bouveret became well respected for his formal portraiture and the occassional allegorical religious painting, but it is his earlier works, especially those depicting the humble and deeply religious way of life of the Breton people, that are his most effective. By some distance.

Dagnan-Bouveret's works look pretty old, and it's a shock to see he was born just half way through the 19th century, later dying in 1929. His paintings, part of the dated and strictly academic French "Naturalistic" movement look 100 years older. An exquisite draughtsman, equally and incredibly talented in both the mediums of oil painting and pastel, Dagnan-Bouveret was an avowed anti-modernist who railed against everything that was happening around him in the art world while sticking rigidly to his highly realistic naturalist compositions.

He was a meticulous worker and a photography enthusiast who was not afraid to use photographs as the basis for his work. Dagnan-Bouveret worked extensively on his compositions, tearing and joining drawings together, isolating sketched figures and pinning them on his wall, rearranging them until he felt he had found what he was looking for. Further preparatory sketches as well as oil paintings followed, before he set to work on the final canvas.

I don't have a lot of time for this type of realistic academic painting, in fact if I had been alive I would most certainly have sided with the modernist movements that Dagnan-Bouveret despised. There is more to Dagnan-Bouveret's work though. His paintings of Brittany and its people display his own meticulous personal vision as well as his deep and sincere respect for the people he painted. The parallels between the bygone way of life and resistance to change he found in Brittany and his own artistic views would not have been lost on him. Apart from anything else he was a technically masterful painter - his warm, washed out and muted palettes make his works very easy to recognise.

I will be posting more of his work in the future. For now here is "Les Bretonnes au Pardon," 1887 and as an insight into his methods some of the preparatory work for it including one of the photos he took in Ormoy, Brittany, that was the initial inspiration for the work.

"Les Bretonnes au Pardon" 1887 Oil on Canvas. 125 x 141cm

Photograph taken in Ormoy by Dagnan-Bouveret


"Preparatory sketch for Brettones au Pardon" Musee du Louvre, Paris