Category Archives: France

Émile Bernard – Making Ideas Art

France has been known as a global art capital for some time. In the years leading up to this international acknowledgment, artistic ideas seemed to be constantly percolating throughout the country. This was especially true for post-Impressionist painter Émile Bernard (1868-1941). Bernard’s ideas led him to express himself through several artistic styles, but he is best known for being on the front lines of art movements such as Cloisonnism and Synthetism.

Painting served as more than a form of expression for Bernard. The French artist believed that technique was less important than clear portrayal of the idea. When an idea was portrayed clearly, Bernard might have said, truth could be found. More so, he felt a simplified approach to art allowed him to visibly express the invisible. For instance, when painting natural landscapes, he put effort into conveying the sensations he experienced rather than creating an accurate depiction of the scenery.

“There I was expressing myself more, it was me that I was describing, although I was in front of the nature. There was an invisible meaning under the mute shape of exteriority.” – Émile Bernard

In his words, he sums up the styles he is best known for as a “[simplification of] nature to an extreme point. I reduce the lines only to the main contrasts and I reduce the colors to the seven fundamental colors of the prism. To see a style and not an item. To highlight the abstract sense and not the objective.” This, he believed, help to “appeal more to internal memory and conception.”

Émile Bernard was driven to protect the fragility of his ideas with simplified art styles. Agreeing with his philosophy was post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin. Bernard and Gauguin formed a close friendship and shared their art frequently. In addition, Bernard was known to converse with Vincent van Gogh often and, later in life, he got to know Paul Cézanne. However, long before notable friendships, philosophical ideals, and symbolic artwork, Émile Bernard realized his ideas could take flight when he expressed them through art.

Bernard was born in France in 1868. At a young age, his parents took him to stay with his grandmother. She was said to be an encourager of his art. In fact, one of his early paintings was a portrait of his grandmother; it was titled La Grandmère (1887).

The family moved to Paris in 1878 where Bernard attended school. While receiving formal education, he tried his hand at Impressionism and Pointillism. However, this experiment took place when he attended Atelier Common in Paris, where he enrolled in 1884. It was later rumored that he was expelled from the school for “showing expressive tendencies in his paintings.” With his traditional education cut short in 1886, he set out to travel through Brittany, a north-west region of France, on foot. The landscapes he experienced on these independent travels influenced his artwork and art philosophies.

In Brittany, at a commune called Pont-Aven, Bernard got to meet Paul Gauguin. The two hit it off quickly and would influence each other’s work for years to come.

The year 1887 was a turning point in Bernard’s career. His art began attracting attention of fellow artist van Gogh, as well as Louise Anquetin and Toulouse’ Lautrec (whom he first met in school). Together, the artists painted and hosted exhibits, creating an artist group known as school of Petit-Boulevard.

In 1888, Bernard had the opportunity to work with Gauguin and van Gogh, which allowed all three to participate in and greatly influence the history of modern art. Unfortunately, van Gogh died two years later and fame was cut short for Bernard, too. In 1891, Bernard felt snubbed when Gauguin was given credit for introducing Symbolism and Synthetism to the world. Bernard felt that the art critic Georges-Albert Aurier should have acknowledged him as the guide for these art movements.

Émile Bernard went onto befriend other artists and travel. He went to Italy in 1893 and then moved to Egypt, where he stayed until 1903. The following year he returned to Paris where he taught at École des Beaux-Arts. He stayed there until his death in 1941.

Throughout his life, Émile Bernard tried his hand at various art styles but goes down in history for his work in Cloisonnism and Synthetism. It is recorded that, towards the end of his life he returned to his Avant-guard roots, painting realistic portraits of females and nudes. Regardless of what style he used, he always presented his ideas with compelling and extraordinary composition.

However, this post is meant to recognize his artist style and some major pieces. For those who want to read more of Émile Bernard’s story, visit this link: http://www.segmation.com/products_pc_patternset_contents.asp?set=BER . Also, Segmation is proud to offer 31 digital Émile Bernard’s patterns. By downloading these paint by numbers masterpieces, you can emulate one of the most fascinating artists who ever lived.

Enjoy the 31 Émile Bernard – Making Ideas Art . Segmation has for you and continue to learn and celebrate the life of a great artist.

Read more Segmation blog posts about other great artists: 

Alfred Stevens – A Life Immersed in Art

Benjamin West – The American Raphael

Jan Gossaert – A Great Flemish Painter of Antiquity

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Honoré Daumier – The Poor Man Whose Art Lives Today

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The early 1800s marked a time of significant change throughout France. The post French Revolution era came on the heels of the Industrial Revolution. At this time, political institutions and society at large were learning how to operate in a new age of evolved capabilities and lofty dreams, as well as an increased number of working poor and social upheaval. Art seemed to be the only answer to the twisted combination of confusion and excitement that plagued the century.

An artist who attempted to bring humor to the uncertainty was Honoré Daumier. Daumier was a versatile artist; he published political caricatures, made his living selling lithographs, and received praise for his impressionist paintings and life-like sculptures. Still, Daumier only experienced a small taste of success in his life. His talent was overshadowed by a greater need to earn money and stay true to his political convictions.

In 1808, Honoré Daumier was born in Marseille, France. After attempting to make his living as a poet, Honoré Daumier’s father, who moved his family to Paris in pursuit of fame and fortune, was financially broke. As a result, around 12 or 13 years of age, the soon to be artist dropped out of school and took employment at a bailiff’s office. He continued in the ways of proper employment as a bookseller’s clerk in the busy Palais-Royal area of Paris where he observed the differences of the people passing by the gardens. Inspired by their uniqueness, Daumier wanted to depict them with his art.

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Daumier, at an age younger than 20, began learning about lithography. This became a useful skill that would provide him with income throughout his life. Yet, his artistic passion yearned to be able to express the people and social situations he took in each day. While he wanted to be artistic in ways of painting and sculpture, much of his time was dedicated to print-making.

Finally, in 1830, Daumier got some notoriety, as he began leveraging his marketable skills to produce caricatures for satirical publications. At this time, print publications attracted the attention of every person, from the king to a pauper. In 1832, King Louis-Philippe was disheartened by the anti-government cartoon, Gargantua, created by Daumier. The artist was sentenced to prison, and then a mental institution. This was the worst retribution the king demanded for an offending artist.

His imprisonment for this caricature marked the end of his punishments, but it did not stop him from publishing pieces of political satire. In fact, between the years 1830 and 1847 he specialized in producing lithography, cartoons, and sculptures. While he continued to work in these areas as a way of self-expression and to secure income, in 1848 there was a distinct shift in Daumier’s career. From 1848 to 1871 he thrived in an art form and style he was passionate about: impressionist painting. One reason for this change may have been the death of his 2 year old son. He and his beloved wife, Léopoldine or “Didine” suffered this loss around the time Daumier altered his artistic focus.

Honoré Daumier developed a number of talents within the sphere of art throughout his life. The context of his paintings also broadened. As he began pursuing naturalism, he depicted historical themes that highlighted the greatness of nature above men. In addition, he also used literary themes, and remained true to the subjects whom inspired him most—everyday Parisians. He felt as if true life provoked conversation about social topics of the day.

Although Daumier never made a commercial success of his art during his lifetime, he was appreciated by many. Those include: Eugene Delacroix, Edgar Degas and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. In face Corot when Daumier was destitute and without shelter, bought him a cottage.

Towards the end of his life, Daumier dedicated much of his time to sculptures and paintings. His work was considered “ahead of its time” by modern critics who did not come to fully appreciate his work until after his death. In 1879, Honoré Daumier passed away. He was near blind and in debt at the time. It is rumored he was buried in a pauper’s grave. If his life’s work in caricatures indicates anything, it is that he wouldn’t have cared; he lived life depicting the poor, living among them, and dying their death as well. As a result, his art lives on today.

Sources:
http://www.artble.com/artists/honore_daumier
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/152400/Honore-Daumier#toc1720
http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/daumier/

Can you relate to being an artist that is currently having small successes in life?

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Paul Cézanne – Post Impressionist

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Paul Cézanne was a French artist whose combined use of color, abstraction and geometric precision provided a link between nineteenth century Impressionism and twentieth century Cubism.

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Born in Provence in 1839, the son of a wealthy banker, Cézanne studied law in Aix before moving to Paris in 1861 with his childhood friend, Emile Zola. While Zola was to become one of France’s most renowned writers, Cézanne was to become one of the country’s most feted painters.

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Paris in the nineteenth century was a center for artistic innovation, and it was there that Cézanne met the Impressionist Camille Pissarro, an artist who would guide Cézanne away from his initial dark palette and towards colors that reflected a brighter, more natural light.

Although Cézanne knew and mixed with the Impressionists in Paris, including Manet and Degas, he was not particularly sociable. His shyness, short temper and bouts of depression made it difficult for him to form friendships and influenced his early works. His Dark Period (1861-1870), which dates from this time, is characterized by a focus on figures and above all by a use of somber colors, especially black.

Following the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, Cézanne left the French capital with his mistress, Marie-Hortense Fiquet, moving eventually to Pontoise. Painting alongside Pissarro, Cézanne began creating more landscapes and switched to brighter colors to created works that would lead critics to refer this stage of his life as The Impressionist Period (1870-1878). Indeed, Cézanne’s works were shown in both the first and third Impressionist exhibitions, which took place in Paris in 1874 and 1877. In neither of those exhibitions did Cézanne receive warm reviews from the critics.

By the early 1880s Cézanne’s life had become more stable. The family, which now included a son also called Paul, moved back to Provence and in 1886, Cézanne married Hortense and inherited his father’s estate. Impressed by Mount St. Victoire near the house of Hortense’s brother, Cézanne was able to combine his Impressionist techniques with a subject containing the solidity and permanence which he felt Impressionist art lacked, and which would later be felt in Cubism. www.segmation.com

The Final Period (1890-1905) of Cézanne’s life was not a happy one. He had broken off relations with his lifelong friend, Zola, after the writer had based a character on Cézanne’s life, and diabetes affected his personality to the extent that his marriage became strained. Just as acclaim for his work grew, Cézanne himself became increasingly reclusive, repainting the subjects of his old works in different ways. His masterpiece, The Great Bathers, for example, with its geometric lines and focused composition clearly shows his progression from a painting of the same subject made more than thirty years before which focused solely on the figures themselves.

Cézanne died of pneumonia in 1906 leaving a large oeuvre that include, The Murder, The Bather and Rideau, Crichon et Compotier, which became the world’s most expensive still-life painting when it sold for $60.5m in 1999.

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Source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_C%C3%A9zanne

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Easiest Art Heist in Paris

Is theft of over $124 million worth of art from the Musee d’Art Modern (Museum of Modern Art) in Paris part of a movie plot, chances are it wouldn’t have had any exciting action scenes. Art thieves managed to steal 5 priceless paintings while 3 security guards were on duty, completely oblivious to the art heist taking place. Despite the art thieves breaking a back window to enter the museum, the building’s alarm systems were not triggered.

In fact, the theft was not discovered until the museum opened the following day and someone noticed the five empty frames.

Usually when a painting is stolen, time is of the essence, so art thieves carefully slice the paintings out of the frame (which damages the priceless work of art). In this case, the thieves had enough time to actually dismantle the frames and manually remove the paintings. Police are now examining the empty frames for forensic evidence.

The five stolen paintings were modern art masterpieces by renowned artists Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Fernand Leger and Georges Braque.

Although the criminals knew what they were doing, they were aided by the fact that the museum’s alarm system had been broken for nearly two months – despite the museum’s security system having been upgraded at the cost of $19 million just four years earlier.

Luckily, stolen art is usually recovered, although it may take several years. Do you like to paint? Be an Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

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French Floral and Portrait Painter – Henri Fantin-Latour

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Henri Fantin–Latour was born in 1836 in Grenoble, France. As the son of an artist and art teacher, Fantin–Latour spent his childhood learning how to paint and draw under his father’s tutelage. This aspiring artist continued to hone his artistic skills at home, even after the family moved to Paris, until he was old enough to study professionally.

In the early 1850’s Henri Fantin-Latour found himself studying with many great artists such as Lecog de Boisbaudran. He was also privileged to study at many wonderful studios, one of which was the Ecole de Dessin. For several years he devoted himself to studying and copying the old painting masters in the Louvre. He worked hard to immerse himself in classic styles of painting, particularly from the Romantic period. During this time of study, Henri Fantin-Latour made numerous friends who encouraged his career and helped him achieve success as a well-known artist in both France and England.

Henri Fantin-Latour’s circle of artistic friends included Eugene Delacroix, Camille Corot, Edouard Manet, and Gustave Courbet. However, it was with the famous Whistler and Alphonse Legros that he formed the Societe des Trois in 1858. Whistler was the friend that encouraged Henri Fantin–Latour to make his way to England.

In London, Henri Fantin-Latour became associated with the social circles of the artistically-minded. He exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1864. London was where he started to paint his famous flower pieces. Henri Fantin-Latour was quite famous throughout England and there were many who supported his artistic career by purchasing his paintings. His success in England was such that he was virtually unknown in France during this time period.

When he returned to France, Henri Fantin-Latour joined the Societe des Aquafortistes. In 1861 he had his first exhibition at the Salon in Paris. It has been said that Henri Fantin-Latour left behind a magnificent gallery of Parisian celebrity personalities in the form of his group portraits. In 1879 he was awarded the Legion d’ Honneur medal.

Perhaps Fantin-Latour’s success was largely due to his independent nature. Though he was constantly surrounded by the Impressionist style, which many of his friends practiced, he remained true to his more conservative, Romantic style. He had an academic demeanor yet an independent approach to painting. Fantin-Latour never exhibited alongside his Impressionist friends and fellow painters. He was praised for the realistic aspects of both his group portraits and his flower paintings.

The subjects of his group portraits were primarily other artists in various fields of study. The rows of faces that Henri Fantin-Latour painted are believed to adequately represent the time period in which he lived as well as the colorful personalities of his day. It is a testament to Henri Fantin–Latour’s artistic talent that his knack for realism is still appreciated for its historical worth. This same realism is also apparent in his flower paintings; they have a certain attention to realistic detail that makes them truly memorable.

Some of Henri Fantin–Latour’s most famous group portraits include The Toast, painted in 1865, A Studio in the Batignolles, painted in 1870, At the Table, painted in 1872, and Round the Piano, painted in 1885. Interestingly, Henri Fantin–Latour also left behind twenty-three self-portraits. Henri Fantin–Latour’s style was incredibly delicate and imaginative, differing in ways from his realistic flower paintings and group portraits. His lithographs were greatly inspired by music. This style of art is essentially a printing process that involves ink being transferred from a flat surface, such as stone or metal, onto paper or another suitable material.

He enjoyed many of the great classical composers but was perhaps most influenced by Richard Wagner, whose music prompted him to create many imaginative drawings. In 1875 Henri Fantin–Latour married Victoria Dubourg, who was also a fellow artist. After his marriage, the French artist took to spending time at his wife’s family estate. It was there on the estate in the countryside that he passed away. Henri Fantin-Latour, a man who was both extremely academic and distinctly independent, left behind a gallery of paintings full of realism and imagination.

Our Segmation set of Fantin-Latour contain many examples of his floral paintings in still life renderings of flowers, roses, and fruit.

There are also numerous portraits including Marie-Yolande de Fitz James, Duchess Fitz James, Charlotte Dubourg, Two Sisters, Adolphe Jullien, Mr. and Mme Edwards, and several self-portraits.

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Where Urban Life Meets Natural Art

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The image above may look like a gardening project gone wrong, or a lot of effort to set up a unique photograph. However, neither of these options can explain the image.

Art can take on many forms and serve many purposes. The photograph above showcases the collaboration of art and nature. It serves as a medium for discussing the importance of growing awareness for both nature and art in urban areas.

This photograph is just a tiny piece of a larger project. The French village of Jaujae celebrated the 10th year of its Arts and Nature Trail program by spreading 1,400 feet of living turf throughout the community.

In this urban city there is little room for art or nature. This extensive stretch of turf weaves its way throughout the city; up stairs, around corners and down streets calling one and all to experience both nature and art.

The 3.5 tons of natural, living turf grass is meant to bring both art and nature into an urban area that would otherwise be overwhelmed by its stone structures. The goal is to provide urban dwellers with a link to all things artistic and shine light on the beauty of the natural world. This winding band of grass serves as a connection for the individuals of Jaujae with the place where art and nature meet.

This endeavor forces individuals to take a moment away from their everyday activities and appreciate that which is creative. It urges the public to support both the arts and projects that bring the natural world into the city. This creative, artistic idea definitely calls for attention and support in a way that a simple garden never could.  It literally attempts to use art to connect man with the environment.

The grass path that runs throughout the city is only a temporary installation. However, it will be interesting to see how this artistic effort works to inspire not only the people of Jaujae, but also others who wish to discover artistic ways of bringing communities together through nature.

Image made available by Web Urbanist – Local Designs to Global Destinations

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Camille Corot – French Landscape Artist (www.segmation.com)

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Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (July 17, 1796 – February 22, 1875) was the leading landscape painter of the 19th century French Barbizon School. His fresh, spontaneous approach to landscape broke the academic tradition and opened the doors to Impressionism.

Corot was born in Paris, the second of three children. His mother was a milliner and his father, a draper, managed her shop. Corot’s father wanted his son to follow in his footsteps, but after a short stint as an apprentice, and at the age of 25, he informed his parents that he wanted to become a full-time painter. His father didn’t approve, but was supportive and gave the young Corot a small annual allowance that had been destined for his youngest sister who had died in 1821.

The young Corot studied first in the studio of neo-classical landscape painter Achille-Etna Michallon then, in 1822, under Jean-Victor Bertin, Michallon’s teacher. Corot, however, preferred sketching outdoors from nature and made extensive studies of the forests near Paris and the Normandy seaports.

Following the tradition of most young French painters, Corot traveled to Italy in 1825 to study the Italian masters. His parents financed the trip on condition that he paint a self-portrait for them. He stayed in Italy for three formative and productive years: he produced over 200 drawings and 150 paintings. He painted historical monuments and scenery from nature. Under the intensity of the Italian sun, he learned to master the pictorial rendition of light. Corot visited Italy again in 1834 where he sketched Florence, Venice and the northern cities and he made another trip in the summer of 1843.

It was not only the Italian scenery and light that had Corot entranced. He was quite captivated by Italian women whom he painted in their regional costumes. Yet Corot never married. In 1826 he wrote to a friend that he wished to devote his entire being to painting and that he would never marry. He never formed a long-term relationship with a woman and remained close to his parents well into his fifties.

Upon his return to France, Corot concentrated on exhibiting at the official Salon, adapting and reworking some of his Italian paintings. One of these, The Bridge at Narni, was accepted to the 1827 Salon while Corot was still in Italy. For the next six years Corot would spend the spring and summer painting out of doors. In winter he would rework these outdoor sketches in his studio into large landscapes for exhibition at the Salon.

Corot was now a regular exhibitor at the Salon. In 1833, when he was in his late thirties, the Salon jury accepted a large landscape of the Fontainebleau forest and even awarded the painting a second-class medal. This meant that Corot now had the right to exhibit his works without approval by the jury. In 1835 Corot exhibited another important work, a biblical scene of Hagar in the Wilderness. It was a success with the critics, but his other biblical paintings did not meet with the same triumph.

Throughout the 1840s the critics were ambivalent about Corot’s paintings. Recognition came slowly and, although the state purchased one of his works in 1840 he did not sell many paintings. Nevertheless, Corot’s popularity was growing and after the 1848 Revolution his treatment by the critics improved. The French government awarded Corot the Legion of Honor medal in 1846 and in 1848 he was awarded another second-class medal by the Salon. In that same year Corot was a member of the Salon Jury and the state bought a few more of his paintings for French museums.

Corot was close to the Barbizon group and, after his parents’ death, he felt free to take on students. A constant stream of friends, collectors and visitors passed through his studio. His students included future Impressionists Berthe Morisot and Camille Pissarro.

Corot died in Paris of a stomach disorder at the age of 78 and was buried at the Père Lachaise cemetery.

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