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French art

Culture: French cinema - French culture - French erotica - French exploitation - French literature - French music

Related: Academic art - fêtes galantes - Modern art - Salon des Réfusés

Flora (1716) - Antoine Watteau
; Gray-black and white chalks with red chalk on brown paper, 32.6 x 28.3 cm; Musée du Louvre, Cabinet des Dessins, Paris

People: A - B - François Boucher - Guy Bourdin - André Breton - C - Rupert Carabin - Pierre Cardin - Paul Chabas - Jean Cocteau - Gustave Courbet - D - Honoré Daumier - Louis Delluc - Gustave Doré - Marcel Duchamp - Germaine Dulac - E - Emmanuel Frémiet - F - Jean-Honore Fragonard - G - Jean Léon Gérome - I - Ingres - K - Yves Klein - L - René Laloux - Toulouse-Lautrec - Jean-Jacques Lequeu - Claude Lorrain - M - Édouard Manet - Pierre Molinier - N - O - Orlan - P - Francis Picabia - Georges Pichard - R - Paco Rabanne - Bettina Rheims - T - Clovis Trouille - Jacques Tardi - Roland Topor

French speaking Belgians: Martin Van Maële - Félicien Rops

Modern art [...]

Modern art was introduced to America during World War I when a number of the artists in the Montmartre and Montparnasse Quarters of Paris, France fled the War. Francis Picabia (1879–1953), was responsible for bringing Modern Art to New York City. It was only after World War II, though, that the USA became the focal point of new artistic movements. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_art [Aug 2004]

Le Ministère de la Marine (1865) - Charles Méryon

Le Ministère de la Marine (1865) - Charles Méryon

Charles Méryon (November 23, 1821-February 13, 1868), was a French etcher. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_M%C3%A9ryon [Jan 2006]

L'Absinthe (1876) - Edgar Degas

In search of the cult of ugliness.

L'Absinthe (1876) - Edgar Degas

L’Absinthe - also known as The Absinthe Drinker or Glass of Absinthe, is a painting by Edgar Degas. Originally titled "A sketch of a French Café" Later in 1893 it was changed to "L’Absinthe."

Painted in 1876, it depicts two figures, a woman and man, who sit in the center and right of this painting, respectively. The man, wearing a hat, looks right, off the canvas, while the woman, dressed formally and also wearing a hat, stares vacantly downward. A glass filled with the titular greenish liquid, absinthe, sits before her.

In its first showing in 1876 it was panned by critics, who called it ugly and disgusting. It was put into storage until an 1892 exhibit where it was booed off the easel.

It was shown again in 1893 in England, this time titled "L'Absinthe" where it sparked controversy. The persons represented in the painting were considered by English critics to be shockingly degraded and uncouth. Many regarded the painting as a blow to morality; this was the general view of such Victorians as Sir William Blake Richmond and Walter Crane when shown this painting in London. The reaction is an instance of the deep suspicion with which Victorian England had regarded art in France since the early days of the Barbizon School and the need to find a lesson at all costs that was typical of the age. Many English critics viewed it as a lesson against absinthe and the French in general. George Moore described the woman in the painting: "What a slut!" He added, "the tale is not a pleasant one, but it is a lesson." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%E2%80%99Absinthe [Jul 2006]

Edmond de Goncourt in his journal of 13 February 1874 said of Degas "Degas . . . est jusqu'à présent l'homme que j'ai vu le mieux attraper, dans la copie de la vie moderne, l'âme de cette vie."

Edgar Degas (July 19, 1834 – September 27, 1917) was a French artist famous for his work in painting, sculpting, and drawing. He is also regarded as one of the fathers of impressionism.

He was born on July 19, 1834, in Paris, to the de Gas family who was moderately wealthy.

Degas began to paint seriously early in life; by eighteen he had turned a room in his home into an artist's studio, but he was expected to go to law school as were most aristocratic young men. Degas, however, had other plans and dropped out of law school in 1854, at age 20.

He lived a mostly uneventful life until 1865 when some of his works were accepted in the Paris Salon. During the next five years, Degas had additional works accepted in the Salon, and gradually gained respect in the world of conventional art.

In 1874, Degas helped to organize an art show that became known as the First Impressionist Exhibition. The Impressionists held seven additional shows, the last in 1886, and Degas showed his work in all but one. Also showing works in these exhibitions was Degas's "friend and rival", Édouard Manet, who helped shaped the works of Degas.

Degas also had the opportunity, or perhaps curse, of living without monetary security. This occurred after the death of his father, when various debts forced him to sell his collection of art, live more modestly, and depend on his artwork for income. As the years passed, Degas became isolated due, in part, to his belief "that a painter could have no personal life.". As a result of this, he also never married and spent the last years of his life "aimlessly wandering the streets of Paris" before dying in 1917.

Degas is often identified as an Impressionists, an understandable, but erroneous belief. Degas was different from the impressionists in that he "never adopted the Impressionist color fleck" and "disapproved of their work".

By the late 1860s, he began to paint women at work, milliners, laundresses, opera performers, and dancers. Degas began to paint café life as well. He also asked other artists to paint about real life instead of traditional mythological or historical paintings

In the late years of his life, Degas began, controversially, to draw women drying themselves with towels, combing their hair, and bathing. At the same time, Degas began to use pastels rather than paint to create his works.

The works of Degas were received in varied ways throughout his life, from admiration to contempt. His career as that of a promising artist in the conventional school of art, and in the several years following 1860, Degas had a number of paintings accepted in the Salon. These works received praise from Pierre Puvis de Chavanes and Castagnary, a critic, demonstrating his success in conventional art. -- adapted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar Degas [Jul 2006]

Edgar Degas was a realist who despised the term "Impressionist" but is considered one due to his loyalty to the group.

Edgar Degas, the dandy male bourgeois, painted rehearsals of the ballet, horse races, and nude women in apartments (rather than studios). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berthe_Morisot [Jul 2006]

Upon seeing pastels by Edgar Degas in an art dealer's window, though, Mary Cassatt knew she was not alone in her rebellion against the Salon. "I used to go and flatten my nose against that window and absorb all I could of his art," she wrote to a friend. "It changed my life. I saw art then as I wanted to see it." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Cassatt [Jul 2006]

Edgar Degas was a collector of ukiyo-e, Japanese woodblock prints.

See also: realism in the visual arts - 1876 - French art

Pierre Bonnard (1867 - 1947)

Model in backlight (1907) - Pierre Bonnard

Pierre Bonnard (October 3, 1867 - January 23, 1947) was a French painter and printmaker.

He was born in Fontenay-aux-Roses. In his twenties he was a part of Les Nabis, a group of young artists committed to creating work of symbolic and spiritual nature. Other Nabis include: Édouard Vuillard and Maurice Denis.

Known for his intense use of color, he painted nudes of his wife Marthe, flowers and landscapes.

He died in Le Cannet, on the French Riviera. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Bonnard [May 2005]

The nude in art history
It's very difficult to find works that are able to materialize the fantastic conjunction of the Nude with Art. Only a few masters in the history of art were able to pass this test. The true essence of art is beauty, joined with the sensuality of the nude, often confused with vulgarity. Nudity is always disquieting, instigating and surprising. So the artist, both in painting and in sculpture, in dancing or in photography, discovers in the nude a profound link with the pureness of being. Sensuality stimulates creativity in every sense. Sensuality also evokes love, passion and the creation of man. This is why nudity moves us so profoundly. For all those who appreciate the artistic nude, OCAIW offers the most complete gallery, with representations by the principal masters and artists of art history. (Ariano Cavalcanti de Paula) --http://www.ocaiw.com/galleria_niah/index.php [May 2005]

"Art is never pure, we should keep it far away from the innocent ignorant. We should never let people approach. Yes, art is dangerous. If it is pure it is not art." (Pablo Picasso)

erotic art - nude - art - 1907

Henri Matisse (1869 - 1954)

Nude in Studio (1899) - Matisse

Henri Matisse (December 31, 1869 – November 3, 1954) was a French artist.

Influenced by the works of Edouard Manet, Impressionists Paul Signac and Paul Cézanne, and also by traditional Japanese art, Matisse painted in the Fauvist manner, and became known as a leader of that movement.

He painted with blaze of intense shades, flat shapes and controlled lines, with expression dominant over detail. He depicted mostly domestic scenes and figures.

Working in a number of modes, but principally as a painter, Matisse was one of the few artists to achieve widespread fame during his lifetime. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_Matisse [May 2005]

Rolla (1878) - Henri Gervex

Rolla considerait d'un oeil melancolique
La belle Marion dormant dans son grand lit;
Je ne sais quoi d'horrible et presque diabolique
Le faisait jusqu'aux os frissonner malgre lui
Marion coutait cher - Pour lui payer sa nuit,
Il avait depense sa derniere pistole.
Ses amis le savaient. Lui-meme, en arrivant,
Il s'etait pris la main et donne sa parole
Que personne, au grand jour, ne le verrait vivant.
Quand Rolla sur les toits vit le soleil paraitre
Il alla s'appuyer au bord de la fenetre,
Rolla se detourna pour regarder Marie.
Elle se trouvait lasse, et s'etait rendormie,
Ainsi tous deux fuyaient les cruautes du sort,
L'enfant dans le sommeil, et l'homme dans la mort !
With a melancholy eye Rolla gazed on
The beautiful Marion asleep in her wide bed;
In spite of himself, an unnameable and diabolical horror
Made him tremble to the bone.
Marion had cost dearly. - To pay for his night
He had spent his last coins.
His friends knew it. And he, on arriving,
Had taken their hand and given his word that
In the morning no one would see him alive.
When Rolla saw the sun appear on the roofs,
He went and leaned out the window.
Rolla turned to look at Marion.
She felt exhausted, and had fallen asleep.
And thus both fled the cruelties of fate,
The child in sleep, and the man in death! --Alfred de Musset, 1833

Rolla (1878) - Henri Gervex
Man about to jump out of the window, courtesan still sleeping, after a 1833 poem by Alfred de Musset.

Henri Gervex (10 December 1852 - 1929) was a French painter born in Paris, and studied painting under Cabanel, Brisset and Fromentin.

His early work belonged almost exclusively to the mythological genre, which served as an excuse for the painting of the nude not always in the best of taste; indeed, his Rolla of 1878 was rejected by the jury of the Salon pour immoralité. He afterwards devoted himself to representations of modern life and achieved signal success with his Dr Pan at the Salptrihre ("The Operation"), a modernized paraphrase, as it were, of Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_Gervex [Jan 2006]

See also: 1878 - erotic art - French art

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