Sunday, October 6, 2013

Post Impressionism influence on Modern Art Part III--Final in Series

To continue my discussion on the post-Impressionists influence on modern art, I’d like to review how Paul Gauguin touched the lives of so many future artists. Interestingly, he started early, even before he headed off to Tahiti. In 1886, Gauguin spent some time in the lovely village of Pont-Aven in France. This Brittany village had been a lure for artists since 1866 when some American art students “discovered” it and began to capture the gorgeous landscapes and charming people. In time, more artists came to do the same. A group of artists calling themselves, Les Nabis (prophets in Hebrew), gathered in Pont-Aven and befriended Gauguin while he was there. In his eyes, art was totally an expression of the artist. Instead of reproducing what is in front of you, why not try to draw and/or paint from memory, forget perspective and let color dazzle, dance with shade or shadow.

His The Yellow Christ became the inspiration for Nabis’ Maurice Denis’ The Offertory at Calvary.
Paul Gauguin's The Yellow Christ 1889
Maurice Denis’ The Offertory at Calvary 1890*

Paul Sérusier, another member of Les Nabis, painted The Talisman through direct encouragement from Gauguin. This painting (oil on wood) was definitely a turning point. 

The Talisman by Paul Sérusier 1888

Recognizable form was gone and in its place was the artist’s reflection. According to Maurice Denis, Gauguin had told Séruzier :
 "How do you see these trees? They are yellow. So, put in yellow; this shadow, rather blue, paint it with pure ultramarine; these red leaves? Put in vermilion".
 The Talisman that has been in the Musee D’Orsay (Paris) collection since 1985. Here’s what they have to say:
“A close observation of the painting allows one to recognize certain elements of the landscape represented: the wood, at the top on the left, the transversal path, the row of beech trees on the river bank, and the mill, at the back, on the right. Each of these elements is a stain of colour.”

Beyond Les Nabis, Gauguin’s influence continued to run deep. Take for instance, the work of Henri Matisse. Gauguin is known for his bold colors and lines as well as his primitive style as you can see below in Nevermore. Matisse crested his own nude, Blue Nude (Souvenir of Biskra) in 1907, using the same technique. It is said, that he painted this piece after he broke a similar sculpture. Of course, the painting caused an international upset.
Nevermore by Gauguin 1897
Blue Nude by Matisse 1907

Another leading example of Gauguin's influence is demonstrated by  Pablo Picaso. Although there is direct correlation to Paul Cezanne in Picasso's cubist paintings--as related to the fact that Cezanne emphasized geometrics in painting, one can also see a Gauguin influence if one considers his primitive art, bold line and color. Below are two paintings by Picasso--the first created in 1902 called the Blue Nude, his second is done in 1969 with a highly cubist take. There is a touch of Gauguin in both of them.

Blue Nude by Picasso 1902

Reclining Nude by Picasso, 1969
Without Gauguin's fresh approach,would these artists have arrived at the same conclusion?Would free expression be as openly accepted as it is today? Would even pop art have arrived when it did?

Marilyn by Andy Warhol 1962
Or are we all putting so much into these post-Impressionists that if they came back today, would they even agree or would they tell us that this is all a natural progression toward the true essence of art.  

What's Coming Up This Fall! 
 Six-week classes to begin week of October 27

Drawing with Pen and Ink

10/29 Tuesday evenings, 7-9 pm $70

Sketching the Holiday Season
10/30 Wednesday mornings: 10 am to 12 $70

Fun with Acrylics
Painting with Primaries
10/31 Thursday evenings: 6:30 pm to 9 $80

Every Second Sunday: Visual Journaling
1 p.m. to 4 p.m. $20 per class 
Workshops at Studio in Tigard 
More information on each workshop at: 
Saturday, October 26

Basic Acrylic Painting
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday, November 2

How to make a Vinyl Floor Mat
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday, November 16

Drawing with Pen & Ink 
Bonus! Including Colored Acrylic Inks
10 a.m. To 4 p.m.
Sketching Trips in 2014

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