Pierre Puvis de Chavannes
Pierre Puvis de Chavannes Art Galleries
Born in Lyons on Dec. 14, 1824, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes belonged to the generation of Gustave Courbet and ??douard Manet, and he was fully aware of their revolutionary achievements. Nevertheless, he was drawn to a more traditional and conservative style. From his first involvement with art, which began after a trip to Italy and which interrupted his intention to follow the engineering profession that his father practiced, Puvis pursued his career within the scope of academic classicism and the Salon. Even in this chosen arena, however, he was rejected, particularly during the 1850s. But he gradually won acceptance. By the 1880s he was an established figure in the Salons, and by the 1890s he was their acknowledged master.
In both personal and artistic ways Puvis career was closely linked with the avant-grade. In the years of his growing public recognition, when he began to serve on Salon juries, he was consistently sympathetic to the work of younger, more radical artists. Later, as president of the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts - the new Salon, as it was called - he was able to exert even more of a liberalizing influence on the important annual exhibitions.
Puvis sympathy to new and radical artistic directions was reflected in his own painting. Superficially he was a classicist, but his personal interpretation of that style was unconventional. His subject matter - religious themes, allegories, mythologies, and historical events - was clearly in keeping with the academic tradition. But his style eclipsed his outdated subjects: he characteristically worked with broad, simple compositions, and he resisted the dry photographic realism which had begun to typify academic painting about the end of the century. In addition, the space and figures in his paintings inclined toward flatness, calling attention to the surface on which the images were depicted. These qualities gave his work a modern, abstract look and distinguished it from the sterile tradition to which it might otherwise have been linked.
Along with their modern, formal properties, Puvis paintings exhibited a serene and poetic range of feeling. His figures frequently seem to be wrapped in an aura of ritualistic mystery, as though they belong in a private world of dreams or visions. Yet these feelings invariably seem fresh and sincere. This combination of form and feeling deeply appealed to certain avant-garde artists of the 1880s and 1890s. Although Puvis claimed he was neither radical nor revolutionary, he was admired by the symbolist poets, writers, and painters - including Paul Gauguin and Maurice Denis - and he influenced the neoimpressionist painter Georges Seurat.
During his mature career Puvis executed many mural paintings. In Paris he did the Life of St. Genevieve (1874-1878) in the Panth??on and Science, Art, and Letters (1880s) in the Sorbonne. In Lyons he executed the Sacred Grove, the Antique Vision, and Christian Inspiration (1880s) in the Mus??e des Beaux-Arts. He painted Pastoral Poetry (1895-1898) in the Boston Public Library. These commissions reflect the high esteem with which Puvis was regarded during his own lifetime. Among his most celebrated oil paintings are Hope (1872) and the Poor Fisherman (1881). He died in Paris on Oct. 10, 1898. Related Paintings of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes :. | THe Balloon | Hope (mk19) | Pastoral | den fattige fiskaren | Portrait of Mme M.C |
Related Artists:Felix Maria Diogg
(b Andermatt, 1 July 1762; d Rapperswil, Schwyz, 19 Feb 1834). Swiss painter. From 1782 he was a pupil of Johann Melchior Wyrsch in Besanion, under whom he developed the essential aspects of his portrait style. He also studied further in Rome and Naples from 1786 to 1788. He was capable of executing bright, incisive portraits in the manner of Angelica Kauffman, as in Portrait of an Artist or psychological studies, best seen in Ulysses von Salis-Marschlins. Several of his group portraits, such as the Esslinger Family, show the influence of Italian and British painting, with which he seemed to be familiar. He was a friend of Johann Kaspar Lavater, discoursed with Goethe and enjoyed the company of the Swiss historian Johannes von Miller (1752-1809), whose portrait he painted. His portraits are generally bust-length types set against a solid, dark background. This format was favoured by his Swiss clientele and is seen in Burgomaster Heinrich Krauer (1799; Lucerne, Kstmus.), which also reveals the dignified wooden pose frequently selected by his models. His direct, fashionable treatment of the sitter attracted a wide range of clients from all levels of society. He seemed to be as much at ease painting the Empress of Russia, Yelisaveta Alekseyevna (1814; Karlsruhe, Staatl. Ksthalle) as he was portraying the bourgeoisie of central Switzerland.Palmer, Pauline
American, 1867-1938Albert Anker
Swiss Albert Anker Galleries
During his studies, Anker produced a series of works with historical and biblical themes, including paintings of Luther and Calvin. Soon after returning to Ins, though, he turned to what would become his signature theme: the everyday life of people in rural communities. His paintings depict his fellow citizens in an unpretentious and plain manner, without idealising country life, but also without the critical examination of social conditions that can be found in the works of contemporaries such as Daumier, Courbet or Millet. Although Anker did paint occasional scenes with a social significance, such as visits by usurers or charlatans to the village, his affirmative and idealistic Christian world-view did not include an inclination to issue any sort of overt challenge.
Also prominent in Anker's work are the more than 30 still lifes he created. They depict both rural and urban table settings in the tradition of Chardin, their realist solidity reflecting Anker's vision of a harmonic and stable world order. In addition, Anker created hundreds of commissioned watercolours and drawings, mostly portraits and illustrations, including for an edition of Jeremias Gotthelf's collected works. To provide for a steady income, Anker also decorated more than 500 faience plates for the Alsatian producer Theodore Deck.
Anker was quick to reach his artistic objectives and never strayed from his chosen path. His works, though, exude a sense of conciliation and understanding as well as a calm trust in Swiss democracy; they are executed with great skill, providing brilliance to everyday scenes through subtle choices in colouring and lighting. Their parochial motives belie the open-mindedness towards contemporary European art and events that Anker's correspondence reflects.