Tag: popular artists
Impressionism in painting, late-19th-century French school that was generally characterized by the attempt to depict transitory visual impressions, often painted directly from nature, and by the use of pure, broken color to achieve brilliance and luminosity. It was loosely structured in that many painters were associated with the movement for only brief periods in their careers. Their association often came about more for the purpose of exhibiting their works than from an approach to painting held in common.
The Birth of Impressionism
The movement began with the friendship of four students of the academic painter Marc Gleyre: Monet, Renoir, Sisley, and Bazille. These four met regularly at the Café Guerbois in Paris with Cézanne, Pissarro, and Morisot, and later with Degas, Manet, the critics Duret and Rivière, and the art dealer Durand-Ruel. The painters repudiated academic standards and reacted against the romantics’ emphasis on emotion as subject matter.
They forsook literary and anecdotal subjects and, indeed, rejected the role of imagination in the creation of works of art. Instead they observed nature closely, with a scientific interest in visual phenomena. Although they painted everyday subjects, they avoided the vulgar and ugly, seeking visual realism by extraordinary stylistic means.
Paul Cézanne was the boldest spirit in the circle of the Ecole de Batignolles that gathered round Manet. The essential principle among all of them was not color–this varied in every case–but flat painting as opposed to modelling in paint. In this Cézanne surpassed even the leader of the group. We may take it for granted that in periods of evolution the matter round which the efforts of all revolve will be fermenting at the same moment in individual minds, and that he who is most articulate will become the leader of the rest.
For this position Cézanne was in no sense fitted. He was a very reserved person; of the younger generation none ever saw him; artists who owe him everything never exchanged a word with him. His very existence has been doubted. Since his sojourn with Dr. Gachet he has never, as far as I know, left the South of France. He lives, I have heard, at Aix. Gachet describes him as the exact antithesis of Van Gogh, utterly incapable of formulating his purposes, absolutely unconscious, a bundle of instincts, which he was anxious not to dissipate.
The result with him was a purely sensuous form of art. He gave what he could and what he would, not a fraction more, and in external things not even so much as this. Occasionally he did not even trouble himself to cover over certain small blank spots on his pictures, and these are the despair of honest owners nowadays–others paint them over. But this superficial defect is really nothing more nor less than the frayed out corner of a splendid old tapestry. Sometimes, indeed, the whole tapestry is reduced to the warp. And even with this we cannot quarrel, for the fabric is always lovely, even when it shows but a few threads.
Cézanne’s whole character made for obscurity. It never occurred to him to sign his pictures, like Guys and Van Gogh; he never gave any sign of life beyond pictures, and these had to be taken from him almost by force. Small wonder, therefore, that he was an old man before it occurred to a few of his friends and compatriots to notice him. It is only for the last few years that he has begun to count at all in the art market.
Like Van Gogh, he owes this recognition to the little shop in the Rue Lafitte owned by Vollard, one of those remarkable dealers only produced by Paris, who are sometimes better connoisseurs, or, rather, have surer artistic instincts, than the connoisseurs themselves. The event that established his reputation was his friend Choquet’s sale at Petit’s in the summer of 1899. For three hot afternoons in the middle of the dead season, when there is not a soul in Paris, purchasers fought for his best things, collected by an oddity who had been laughed at as a madman a short time before.
Though born in Paris, Claude Oscar Monet — his parents called him Oscar — had passed his youth in Le Havre, where his father owned a grocery store together with a brother-in-law, Lecadre. Monet’s youth had been essentially that of a vagabond, as he himself later remarked; it had been spent more on the cliffs and in the water than in the classroom. He was undisciplined by nature, and school always seemed to him a prison. He diverted himself by decorating the blue paper of his copybook and using it for sketches of his teachers, done in a very irreverent manner.
He soon acquired a great deal of skill at this game. At fifteen he was known all over Le Havre as a caricaturist. His reputation was so well established that he was sought after to make caricature-portraits. The abundance of these orders, and the insufficiency of subsidies derived from maternal generosity, inspired him with a bold resolve that scandalized his family: he took money for the portraits… 20 francs.
Having gained a certain reputation by these means, Monet was soon “an important personage in the town.” In the shop window of the sole frame maker his caricatures were arrogantly displayed, five or six in a row, and when he saw the loungers crowding in admiration and heard them exclaiming: “That is so and so!” he “nearly choked with vanity and self-satisfaction.” Still, there was a shadow in all this glory. Often in the same shop window, hung above his own productions, he beheld marines, which he, like most of his fellow citizens, thought “disgusting.”
apparition of the face of aphrodite, collections, modern masters, popular artists, Salvador Dali, Spanish Art, Surrealism
The Persistence of Memory is a 1931 painting by artist Salvador Dalí, and is one of his most recognizable works.
First shown at the Julien Levy Gallery in 1932, since 1934 the painting has been in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, which received it from an anonymous donor. It is widely recognized and frequently referenced in popular culture, and sometimes referred to by more descriptive (though incorrect) titles, such as ‘The Soft Watches’ or ‘The Melting Watches’.
The well-known surrealist piece introduced the image of the soft melting pocket watch. It epitomizes Dalí’s theory of “softness” and “hardness”, which was central to his thinking at the time. As Dawn Ades wrote, “The soft watches are an unconscious symbol of the relativity of space and time, a Surrealist meditation on the collapse of our notions of a fixed cosmic order”. This interpretation suggests that Dalí was incorporating an understanding of the world introduced by Albert Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity. Asked by Ilya Prigogine whether this was in fact the case, Dalí replied that the soft watches were not inspired by the theory of relativity, but by the surrealist perception of a Camembert melting in the sun.
It is possible to recognize a human figure in the middle of the composition, in the strange “monster” that Dalí used in several contemporary pieces to represent himself – the abstract form becoming something of a self-portrait, reappearing frequently in his work. The figure can be read as a “fading” creature, one that often appears in dreams where the dreamer cannot pinpoint the creature’s exact form and composition.
One can observe that the creature has one closed eye with several eyelashes, suggesting that the creature is also in a dream state. The iconography may refer to a dream that Dalí himself had experienced, and the clocks may symbolize the passing of time as one experiences it in sleep or the persistence of time in the eyes of the dreamer.
The orange clock at the bottom left of the painting is covered in ants. Dalí often used ants in his paintings as a symbol of decay. The Persistence of Memory employs “the exactitude of realist painting techniques” to depict imagery more likely to be found in dreams than in waking consciousness.
None of the colourists of Manet’s generation made men forget the colourist Delacroix; everything, or nearly everything, that tends to their glory increases his fame; he was their god. Delacroix’ colour had come too early for the weakness of humanity.
When the trappings of Romanticism were cleared away, his palette was thrown aside as one of its accessories. After the strong and healthy recognition of reality by the great landscape school of 1830 and the realism of the school of Courbet, painters were impelled to get at a right distance from Nature; this was the logical way between the two manifestations that had come to an end.
As soon as it was consciously recognised, the method of Daumier and of Delacroix was necessarily decisive. Why this way is modern, and why it achieves results which respond to vital and weighty needs, I hope at least to indicate in due course. The consciousness of this is a piece of modern culture. It is rooted in the postulate that Manet and his circle gave us not Nature, but the natural, and that all naturalisation of our instincts, i.e., all sharpening, purification, and amelioration, is modern.
Every joy is progress, and so therefore was Manet’s achievement. That achievement and its results had never occurred even to the magician Rubens, and, going through the whole history of art, we may find something similar, but never quite the same decisive consciousness. There are other values, the perfection of which put us to the blush, but in spite of this we would not exchange for them our own, the resplendent symbol of our best aspirations, our happiness, our epoch.
Manet discovered, to the horrified amazement of the world, that a fine feminine skin is neither yellow nor brown, but luminously white in the light, especially in juxtaposition to dark colours, and that blood pulses, that nerves and senses throb beneath it.
Millet painted the repose of life, and found greatness therein; he transmitted to the simple action he represented a very great and very simple thought, which was expressed in like terms by all his washerwomen, mothers, housewives, and workmen of various kinds, and finally carried conviction by constant repetition of the one sound in so many different forms. It was a generalisation that became the more impressive, the more deliberately it was set forth. In comparison, the realists were clumsy folk, more modest than Millet, for they allowed Nature to think for herself, more presumptuous and more limited, for they expounded what seemed to them the thoughts of Nature in their own narrow fashion.
Surrealism is a literary and art movement influenced by Freudianism and dedicated to the expression of imagination as revealed in dreams, free of the conscious control of reason and free of convention. The movement was founded (1924) in Paris by André Breton, with his Manifeste du surréalisme, but its ancestry is traced to the French poets Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Apollinaire, and to the Italian painter, Giorgio de Chirico. Many of its adherents had belonged to the Dada movement. In literature, surrealism was confined almost exclusively to France.
Surrealist writers were interested in the associations and implications of words rather than their literal meanings; their works are thus extraordinarily difficult to read. Among the leading surrealist writers were Louis Aragon, Paul Éluard, Robert Desnos, and Jean Cocteau, the last noted particularly for his surreal films. In art the movement became dominant in the 1920s and 30s and was internationally practiced with many and varied forms of expression.
Salvador Dalí and Yves Tanguy used dreamlike perception of space and dream-inspired symbols such as melting watches and huge metronomes. Max Ernst and René Magritte constructed fantastic imagery from startling combinations of incongruous elements of reality painted with photographic attention to detail.
These artists have been labeled as verists because their paintings involve transformations of the real world. “Absolute” surrealism depends upon images derived from psychic automatism, the subconscious, or spontaneous thought. Works by Joan Miró and André Masson are in this vein. The movement survived but was greatly diminished after World War II.