right under the sun wrap-up
Post #636 • September 30, 2005, 11:16 AM • 99 Comments
All images courtesy the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, from the exhibition "Right Under the Sun: Landscape Painting in Provence, from Clacissism to Mondernism (1750 - 1920)".
I had never heard of Granet. The son of a master mason, a soldier who took part in the 1793 siege of Toulon, he went through David's studio (although he had to drop out because he couldn't afford tuition), worked in Rome, and received the Croix h'onneur from Louis XVIII before settling in Malvalat. There's a Musée Granet in Aix-en-Provence.
The image looks unfocused but in fact was rendered with a oily medium that gives it a look like monoprint or porcelain painting. The medium is so transparent that you can see the pencil sketch below it in places. They had several drawings and a wall full of watercolors by Granet, which frankly I prefer (and the transluscency of the piece above leads me to believe that he might have prefered them too). Unfortunately, I spent too much of the morning trying to get a decent shot of images out of the catalogue and have given up. At any rate, it's interesting to see Cézanne's beloved mountain painted in a wholly un-Cézannian manner.
Let's get the big guys out of the way:
You can't beat 'em with a stick. Renoir is looking unusually robust here.
I have to confess that 18th Century painting doesn't do too much for me. But after viewing this show, I started to see it less as goofy and stiff, and more as thematic. Just like you can enjoy the 1-3-5 structure of blues, you can get into the fact that Neoclassical landscapes always have that tree on the left. Why not?
Coming out of Van Gogh and into Fauvism.
Not pictured but much admired:
Adolphe Monticelli. I was vaguely aware of Monticelli. I did not know that Van Gogh had sought him out at Arles (the older painter had died already, unfortunately) and that he had compared him to Delacroix. You could make a case for it: brazen paint handling, intense contrasts, the tar-and-gravel surface you might associate with Albert Pinkham Ryder but without the occultish gloom. He looks like he's directly prefiguring Frank Auerbach. Amazing.
René Seyssaud. Another new find. No Matisse, but a hopped-up colorist and another brave handler of paint.
Prosper Marilhat. He could hit Corot-like simplicity on a good day.
The show runs through January 8. I miss it already.
Oh - on the weekend they were serving wine and food samples from Provence in the lobby outside the exhibit hall. Creme brulee with lavender washed down with some delightful white wine - now that's what I call an art exhibition.