Ravels in Review

This week will no doubt go down in your minds and blogger history as being that of my birthday. Good–please remember that next May 26.

  • As I learned in doing historical research, historically few great things have happened on May 26 aside from my birth.
  • I wrote about my experience buying art (none) and some of the difficulties of buying art on a budget. Just a note: the gallery called my boyfriend back yesterday to say that the work in particular that I had liked was available.
  • The Hernan Bas show at Lehman Maupin predicts the future to be lush and lonely, and that says a small part of how much one could say about the artist’s most recent paintings.
  • Lastly, I was so struck by an old book that accidentally came into my hands that I had to share the artist/author Eugene Fromentin’s extremely dated travel book of Dutch painters with you. He is in rapture over Rubens and Rembrandt. Hero worship like his doesn’t exist anymore in criticism, maybe to our loss.

On the other hand, Fromentin is not so kind to his contemporary (1870s) art scene in France. The Impressionists, apparently, have no sense of value or line or color, and only Corot and Delacroix are worthy of respect. In fact, let me leave you with a few more of his words;

Landscapes make every day more proselytes than progress. Those who practise it exclusively are not more skillfull in that account, but there are more painters who try it. Open air, diffused light, the real sunlight, take today in painting, and in all paintings, an importance which has never before been recognized, and which, let us say it frankly, they do not deserve.

Photographic studies as to the effects of light have changed the greater proportion of ways of seeing, feeling, and painting. At the present time, painting is never sufficiently clear, sharp, formal, and crude.

The abuse of useless roundness has driven into excess flat surface, and bodies without thickness. Modelling disappeared the very day when the means of expression seemed best, and ought to have rendered it more intelligent, so that what was progress among the Hollanders is for us a step backward; and after issuing from archaic art, under pretext of new innovation, we return thither.

Leave a Reply