Thursday, 16 June 2011

Global Summer Paintings

Exploring Concepts

Part 6 – Parallel Projects

Project: Summer

Research: Global Summer Paintings Compare and Contrast

I suppose the Western European will tend to think of the Impressionists as being the artists who capture the light of Summer best.  Though of course the Fauves, in their exploration of colour would be another group to think about, particularly Matisse.  Picasso was also working in the South of France and some of his work gives an idea of the light.

Going further afield, to Africa and South America, the iconography of the area seems to feature more in their work.  Though the African art is possibly more primitive which is why Picasso was so interested in African art.  Gauguin too adopted a primitive style in his work whilst living in the South Seas.

When comparing the work of Matisse and Picasso we see the use of pure colour to represent the brightness of the Mediterranean light.

 Matisse, The View of Collioure 1905
©Bridgeman Education Library

                                                    Picasso, The Bathers, 1918
©Bridgeman Education Library

However, I think it is noticeable in the Picasso that whilst the figures are are brightly painted the see and the sky are rather dull, and I wonder to what extent this relates to the period.  It was painted in 1918 just as the first world war was coming to an end.  Picasso of course spent a lot of time on the beach resorts of St Tropez and Biarritz, so the subject chimed with his persona. 

The Matisse on the other hand is much brighter and in the Fauvist style, it was painted in 1905, quite different from the Picasso, who apart from his Cubist period, did not fall into any particular school. 

The use of the window was a feature of the time and it is interesting to compare a Matisse with a Picasso.

 Matisse, Landscape viewed from a Window, 1913
©Bridgeman Education Library

                                                 Picasso, Pigeons, Cannes 1957
©Bridgeman Education Library

The use of Yellow and Blue predominate in both paintings, but the Picasso is painted with much more verve than the Matisse.  The use of these colours are the obvious ones to use when representing sunny pictures, i.e.’ sun sea and sand.’  The passion may have arisen in the painting for Picasso because he was by then 76 and no doubt reflecting on his life and remembering his father’s love of pigeons, a motif which appears throughout Picasso’s body of work.

 Sisley, Church at Moret ©Bridgeman Education Library

Sisley, uses the same yellows and blues in his warm painting of the Church at Moret, though in his painting the sun is lower in the sky. Likewise Cezanne's painting of the Bay and L'Estaque

 Cezanne, The Bay at l’Estaque 1879-79
©Bridgeman Education Library

Sisley, paints a delicious view The Banks of the Loing, which exudes heat and the liquidity of the water is unsurpassed.  Sadly, an artist often in the shadow of Monet.

 Sisley, The Banks of the Loing, Saint-Mammes, 1885, ©Bridgeman Education Library

The Impressionists, explore light through the control of their brush strokes, and modulation of the paint rather than the use of pure colour.

                   Monet, Woman with a Parasol, 1875 ©Bridgeman Education Library

I always think the Impressionists didn’t so much explore light, as define “air” in their paintings.  Even with limited perspective, Monet’s painting above is full of atmosphere and you feel you can breathe the air, likewise in the Sisley.

 Monet, Artist’s House from Rose Garden 1922-24 ©Bridgeman Education Library

A less well known painting, the above is treated in the same way as the water-lilly series of paintings, it has an exuberance and flow which is exciting and as well as handling the paint enthusiastically, the use of colour gets the same treatment.

Russian Art

I would like to include a couple of Russian artist here to show how they might paint a summer scene.

Alexander Mikhail Semionov

Unfortunately, there is nothing on Bridgeman for this artist, but his work has great texture and interesting use of colour.  I very much admire the application of paint with a palette knife which renders smooth planes and patches of colour, again there is a great sense of light and atmosphere as with the Impressisonists, but the application of the paint is very different.

Konstantin Korovin 1916 ©Bridgeman Education Library

This painting has touches of Cezanne’s style of brushwork, but the effect of the light,  is dazzling.

African Art

My knowledge of African art is very limited, but I found the following on the internet.
Aswani, Small Market

I have no idea if this is a reasonable reproduction of the painting, but the colour and composition is exciting and reflects the interesting African textiles sometimes seen today.
Bulinya-Maasai Children on Black

We can see similar patterns of textiles in both of these paintings, but the Bulinyar-Maasai, makes me think of Giacometti sculptures, which only this week are being auctioned at Sotherbys.

South American Art

I felt the remit for both of these huge continents was rather too broad with so many artists in the various countries, which are mostly contemporary, and not always of a particularly high standard.  It was not possible to find a specific school or tradition of painting, although I am sure it exists.  Various galleries are listed but not the work housed in them. I spent a lot of time following dubious links which didn’t reveal anything.  However I chose at random the following:

R-Erickson , Pyramids near popo
R-Erickson, Life

This artis is from Mexico and the Inca/Aztec symbolism is in his work. The colours are bold and there is a strong use of pattern and motif.

Diego Rivera, husband of Frida Khalo are two more Mexican artists whose work has filtered through to Europe and the Calla Lilly features in both their work, though Frida is probably best known for her self portraits with the joined eyebrows.
With these paintings we see the ethnic motifs recurring and appearing to be of significant importance, much more so than would be the case in the West.

Dennis Esteves, a Brazilian artist, exhibits paintings that have a quality like the work of Chagall, yet his style is quite different, I couldn’t find a particularly summer painting amongst the works exhibited on his website.  However these are interesting in terms of the use of colour, composition and texture.  His figures, that is all there is on the website, are formed in a semi-cubist way and have a plasticity that in a sense denies the expressive, and are reminiscent of Picasso.

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