Monday, 30 June 2014

Sanyu, A Chinese in Paris (Part 1)

(San Yu or Chang Yu, 常玉)

(Nanchung 14 October 1901 - 1966 Paris

Chinese-French painter and sculptor
and printmaker. 

In last posting I met with Paul Emille Gallien, so called "master of the black line". Researching this French artist and filling my bucket so to speak I couldn't help stumbling over another but very different black line magician. Also in Paris. At the same time, arriving in 1921 and after two years of study in Berlin, returned to stay permanently in 1923.

Although this Blog is mainly concerned with printmaking and Sanyu is as much a printmaker as I am an art expert I cannot resist showing some of his works that left me in wonder for quite a while. The art and training of the traditional Chinese black line + calligraphy + abstraction" mixed and infused with modernist Paris creating a unique style, at least that is what I think.   

Influences of many contemporary (Western) artists came to my simple mind: the models and nudes of Egon Schiele, Picasso and Henri Matisse, the odalisques of Amadeo Modigliani, the rounded curves of Renoir's  and Aristide Maillol's models. But also the colors and horses and dogs by Marc Chagall and Franz Marc and "the Brücke" artists like Ernst Ludwig Kirchner but also images of flowers in pots from Japanese (flower) printmaker Yoshijiro Urushibara

The aesthete Sanyu was always experimenting with form and composition, arranging and rearranging his models to find the perfect composition.

But then: I'm not an art expert, so please let these powerful images sink in and make up your own mind. 

Although once famous and adulated Sanyu, he exhibited even in Amsterdam before WW2, died in abject poverty and obscurity in his Paris studio in 1966. 

In next posting: showing some of Sanyu's characteristic flower paintings. 

You can read here* and here* about Sanyu's life and career. In the second link you can find many more examples of Sanyu's work. 

All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.      

Monday, 23 June 2014

Pierre Antoine Gallien, peintre a la ligne noir

Pierre Antoine Gallien
(Grenoble 1896-1963 Mont Rouge)
French modernist woodcut artist.
"painter of the black line" 

Over the years I had filed several pictures of examples by this artist that I've saved from auction sites, catalogues etc. Recently stumbling over another I decided to swipe them together and create this posting. 

Woodcut portraits by Pierre Antoine Gallien and self-portrait by Fujita.

There's not much about the life of Pierre Antoine Gallien to be found in the Internet but according to the portraits he cut in wood there's a good chance he learned the art of woodblock printmaking from the Japanese artist Fujita (Léonard Tsugouharu Foujita (藤田 嗣治, Fujita Tsuguharu, November 27, 1886 – January 29, 1968). Read here about this extraordinary artist *).  

However, Gallien's many portraits of contemporary French artists places him right in the wild modernist and avant-garde circles in Paris-Montparnasse after the Great War in the roaring twenties. 

"British avant garde artist Nina Hamnett (1890-1965) taking a bath", by Fujita.
(read here* about this most interesting woman artist and Bohemien)

 Gallien's portrait of French composer Alberic Magnard (1865-1914) and painter Henri Matisse (1969-1954)

and painter printmaker Henri de Waroquier (1881-1970) who created this wonderful still-life color woodcut in 1909.

Among them were painter Amadeo Modigliani (1884-1920) and his many mistresses and muzes, sculptor Constantin Brancusi (1976-1957), Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), avant-garde photographer Mann Ray (1980-1976) and Kiki de Montparnasse (1901-1953), André Derain, Maurice Utrillo, Wassily Kandinsky, Frantisek Kupka, Henri Matisse and many others in the steaming Bohemien world that was Montparnasse in the 1920's.

Montparnasse in 1922, the café's, bars and studio's, where life began after sunset and the nights never ended, as seen and cut in wood by Gallien.

Gallien had been a student of the "Ecole des Beaux-Arts, des Arts décoratifs et du Louvre" in Paris and was appointed professor of drawing, probably in Paris. 
These lovely illustrations, from a limited poetry edition "Du pain et des Roses" (Bread and Roses) by Marius Noguès (1919-2012) in 1947

for me symbolizing the warmth, joy and freedom of midsummer and reminding me of the merry novel of Pallieter and a hot summers day by Flemish writer Felix Timmermans (1886-1947) about the simpleton Pallieter and the love of his life Marieke (read here*).

All pictures are mouse-clickable to embiggen


All pictures borrowed freely from the internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

M. Snestrup, unknown printmaker from Denmark

M. Snestrup 
(Unknown Danish printmaker) 

Almost 4(!) years after showing this Danish mermaid print in this Blog (here*) I received a second example of a woodblock print by the illusive M. Snestrup by Danish reader Jeanett this week. 

Maybe this will help to find and identify this unknown printmaker. And maybe also the location of this remote harbor with fishing ships. Sooner or later there will be some-one who knows. Snestrup, by the way, is (today) a suburb and part of greater Odense (127.000 inh.) on the Danish Island of Fyn. It may have been the name of  a small dwelling or a farmhouse even. Very few people in Denmark are using the family name Snestrup.    

Monday, 16 June 2014

Louis Haver, another forgotten printmaker (part I)

Lodewijk Bernardus Franciscus Haver
Known as Louis (or Lou) Haver
(Groningen December 13th 1906 – July 21th 1969 Hilversum)

Largely forgotten and neglected Dutch painter and printmaker.

To me Louis Haver is one of the most charming although very much obscured Dutch printmakers and I have been planning for some time to investigate his life and give him the attention he deserves. The discovery of this latest print is a good opportunity for sharing my first results. The print depicts a typical “viskaar” or traditional fish-well. A fishermen's contraption to keep alive the catch of the day.

Unlike his contemporary Arie Zonneveld (1905-1941) Louis, or Lou, never grew to great popularity or fame and to this day his name is only remembered by a few gourmet print collectors. Although over the years many (some 75) prints came to my knowledge they hardly ever turn up in auctions, which might be an indication of low edition numbers. Most of them have not edition  numbered but a few have. 

To illustrate his obscurity and "unknownness": one of his finest prints is shown in the great book “die Fruhzeit des Modernen Holzschnitts(that I've discussed in the Blog before). It is in the vast museum collection of well known print collectors Hans and Franz Joseph van der Grinten, but even so in the book it is attributed to a phantasy “Louis Han”. It probably is showing the "Noorderhaven", the "Hooge der A" or adjacent canal in his native Groningen in winter. I used to drive by this location for many years to the University (UMCG) Clinic. This print is very similar in execution to the above which, because of it's subject, it was most probably created in Kortenhoef.  
Viskaar near Kortenhoef by Aris Knikker (1887-1962) 
Viskaar near Kortenhoef by Bernard van Beek (1875-1941)

Viskaar near Kortenhoef by Greetje Mesdag-van Calcar who build
and owned the studio that later became Louis' home in 1960.
Louis was the youngest son of sculptor Wilhelmus Antonius Theodorus (or Wim) Haver (1870-1937) and Geertje Meierdres (1870-1946) and after being taught by his father young Louis visited the Arts and Crafts School in Groningen.

His father created the sculpture over the entrance of the Catholic Hospital on the “Verlengde Herenweg” in Groningen (above) Where I was robbed of both my tonsils in the late 1950’s by the way. A very traumatic experience.
Kortenhoef by Bernard van Beek (1874-1941) 
Aged 27 Louis decided to settle in the picturesque rural village of Kortenhoef in 1933 in the Province of Utrecht, at the time a popular painters centre. In 1935 he married Frederike Burgwal (1899- 1967) and was probably living and working as an artist in Kortenhoef. It is known he shared studio’s and exhibited in an artist centre that were created by fellow artists Flip Hamers (1909-1995) and Peter van den Braken (1896-1979). The couple had three daughters. 
View on Kortenhoef by Paul Gabriël (1828-1903) 
In Kortenhoef, in the middle of a typical Dutch “polder” landscape, in the beginning of the 19th century famous Dutch artists like Paul Gabriel (1828-1903) visited for inspiration and to paint and over the years an artist colony developed. In 1904 the widowed painter Geesje Mesdag-van Calcar (1850-1936) and pupil of Paul Gabriel had build a privat studio to accommodate her in summer. 
"De Karekiet" (build in 1904) in 1964
This wooden studio, build on wooden poles over the water, was to become the meeting point for many artists but after the widow Mesdag had died it was sold and transformed into a youth hostel, named “de Karekiet” (the Reed-warbler)  

Geesje Mesdag was married to banker’s son Taco Mesdag (1829-1902), the brother of famous marine and Panorama Mesdag painter Hendrik Willem Mesdag (1831-1915) both also from Groningen. In 1903 she donated their important and precious collection of Dutch Impressionist (“The Hague School“) paintings to the Groningen Museum to form to this day a significant and most important lump of its collections.   

From a close friend of the artist I learned Louis’ marriage ended in divorce in 1959 and meeting  youth-hostel “mother” Maartje Hopman (born Rotterdam, june 13th 1913) he fell in love, and married her in 1960 moving in to stay. From the friend I learned also about his love for nature and sea-fishing, receiving several private photographs like the one above.

All Louis' prints show his love for the outdoors, the wildlife, birds, fish, wild flowers etc. They all show a simple and straightforward approach. His bird observations and prints  resemble closely those made by German printmaker Emil Pottner (1872-1942). 
Emil Pottner 

And his boats those by Daniel Staschsus (1872-1953), always with keen  observation and attention for detail, atmosphere and animal behavior. 
Louis Haver 

Daniël Staschus

Please leave a comment and let me know if an additional posting with more examples of Louis' prints would be appreciated.  

A special thanks to Rob de Mooij for sharing pictures from his collection and Ina de Graaf for sending biographical comments. 

All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.