Category Archives: Art and Photographic History

Self Portraits- Jean Eve

Jean Eve was born into a working-class family. Entering the Colonial School of Le Havre in 1918, he became involved in the colonial  troop called Spahis and drew watercolours during his travels. Returning to Douai, he enlisted in the railways and then worked in a foundry workshop. Leaving painting , it was then that he had the revelation at the Petit Palais during the Gustave Courbet exhibition. But having a dependent family, he is only allowed to paint on Sundays.

In 1929, Jean Eve met Moses Kisling, who brought him closer to the editor of L’Art Vivant, who decided to organize a support committee for him to devote himself only to painting, which allowed him to quickly exhibit at the Salon des Indépendants. At the invitation of Henri Bing and Maximilien Gauthier, he participated in the exhibition “The Popular Masters of Reality” in 1936. This was the beginning of the fame for Jean Eve.

He then exhibited in New York and Switzerland and received the rank of Knight of the Legion of Honour and Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.

Jean Eve’s painting is characterized by its sincerity and simplicity. As Maximilian Gauthier said, “he painted what he saw, simply, with all his heart.”

“My real workshop is nature” Jean Eve

This self portrait is somewhat reminiscent of Lucien Freud’s earlier work currently on display at the Royal Academy. Eve’s work is on display in the Musee Maliol in Paris.

Harry Ousey-Neglected Colourist amongst the St Ives Artists

 

Very recently I attended an intriguing talk by Sue Astles, Ousey’s neice about this little known Northern  Artist. I found myself wondering just how such a brilliant colourist could seemingly be rather overlooked. Further information and background can be found at

https://www.lancashirelife.co.uk/out-about/harry-ousey-exhibition-at-the-salford-museum-and-art-gallery-1-4082392

and at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Ousey

There are two possible factors which one might surmise for this aberration. Firstly, it seems that his interest in experimenting in so many various styles may have mitigated his being recognised for any definite style. His restless interest in both conventional and abstract work is not difficult to recognise. There is a certain interest in certain themes such as stone wall construction and the sea horizon. Certain influences seem to be lurking in the background from Miro, Dufy and perhaps Rothko. However, the multiplicity of his painting styles, doubtless including original work, could have inhibited proper recognition.

Such recognition might have been easier if he had access to gallery display. My second point is that I surmise that the influence of more recognised and prominent figures in the St Ives nexus made this difficult. Artists like Denis Mitchell and Terry Frost would have understood this. There was a social class barrier to surmount and I am fairly sure this is a pressure that a less wealthy northern painter would have encountered this even in the more enlightened postwar period. A glass ceiling even amongst progressives and bohemians!

Image result for harry ousey artist

Image result for harry ousey artist

Ousey’s later interest in environmental compositions reminded me also of the not dissimilar work of Margaret Mellis. (Not to be confused on grounds of alliteration with the abstract Penwith artist Marlow Moss!)

 

Abram Arkhipov (1862-1930) -Russian Realist Painter

Abram Efimovich Arkhipov (RussianАбра́м Ефи́мович Архи́пов; 27 August [O.S. 15 August] 1862 – 25 September 1930) was a Russian realist artist, who was a member of the art collective The Wanderers as well as the Union of Russian Artists.

Russian painter born in Yegorovo, Ryazan Province. He studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture with
Vasily Perov, Aleksey Savrasov, Vladimir Makovsky and Vasily Polenov as teachers. He joined the traveling artists (Peredvizhniki) in 1889 and the Union of Russian Artists in 1903.

Indebted to Perov’s realistic painting, Arkhipov also paid special attention to the effects of light, rhythm and texture, even on his most didactic canvases, such as laundress. Arkhipov found a source of rich and diverse inspiration in the Russian countryside and peasantry; painted peasants at work, the melting of the snow, the local church and the priest, the villages of the far north and the White Sea. Works such as The Lay Brother (1891) and Northern Village (1903, both from Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.) They are evidence of Arkhipov’s important position in the history of Russian landscape painting of the late 19th century. His concentration in plein-air painting was largely shared by other representatives of the Union of Russian Artists, such as Baksheyev, Leonard Turzhansky (1875–1945) and Sergey Vinogradv (1869–1938).

Brise Marin par Stéphane Mallarmé

La chair est triste, hélas ! et j’ai lu tous les livres.
Fuir ! là-bas fuir! Je sens que des oiseaux sont ivres
D’être parmi l’écume inconnue et les cieux !
Rien, ni les vieux jardins reflétés par les yeux
Ne retiendra ce coeur qui dans la mer se trempe
Ô nuits ! ni la clarté déserte de ma lampe
Sur le vide papier que la blancheur défend
Et ni la jeune femme allaitant son enfant.
Je partirai ! Steamer balançant ta mâture,
Lève l’ancre pour une exotique nature !

Un Ennui, désolé par les cruels espoirs,
Croit encore à l’adieu suprême des mouchoirs !
Et, peut-être, les mâts, invitant les orages,
Sont-ils de ceux qu’un vent penche sur les naufrages
Perdus, sans mâts, sans mâts, ni fertiles îlots …
Mais, ô mon coeur, entends le chant des matelots !

Stéphane Mallarmé, Vers et Prose, 1893

Image result for mallarme

This lovely poem reminds me a little of the Breton crabbers that came into St Ives in the 1950s and 60s.

St Ives in the 1950s as portrayed by Hyman Segal

This uniquely illustrated pamphlet of around 20 pages offers a brilliant summary of life in St Ives just after the War. The town’s Silver Age it might be termed. This fascinating time period is manifest in the vivid sketches by the well-known St Ives artist, Hyman Segal. https://cornwallartists.org/cornwall-artists/hyman-segal   

Segal is probably best remembered for his African paintings as well as for his skill in portraying cats with sweeping economical lines. A Daily Mirror photographic  frontispiece shows him, an Art Therapist at West Cornwall Hospital, helping the recovery of a young lad at Tehidy Sanatorium in Camborne. This classic photograph by Bela Zola indicates the pride in the newly created NHS.{Zola was a leading photographer who recorded later the Aberfan Disaster and the profumo Affair among other renowned assignments.) https://www.worldpressphoto.org/collection/photo/1956/28663/1/1956-Bela-Zola-GN1-(1)

The first sketch in the pamphlet is of our celebrated Town Crier, Abraham Curnow -here just 54 years old. This is accompanied by a sketch of his Father-in-Law, Ernest James Stevens, popularly known as “Jimmy Limpets”. This drawing with others by Segal now hangs in the Sloop Inn.

On the following page is an image of Thomas Tonkin Prynne who had been the manager of Lanham’s picture framing business which in previous years  supplied the Royal Academy and other galleries with canvases by inter alia , Julius Olsen, Louis Grier and Moffat Linder. In addition to running an efficient business, he worked for 16 years as a member of the volunteer fire brigade, had a blue Persian cat and loved fishing.

 

There is also a magnificent sketch of Alistair St Clair Harrison, like Churchill, an old Harovian who had been a fighter pilot during the Second World War. It was Harrison who broadcst for the BBC about the rescue of HMS Wave in September 1952 and also about his interest in Antartic whaling. It was with his Norwegian wife that he established “The Gay Viking”;almost as famous for its colourful clientele as its innovative continental cuisine. ( Gay Viking was incidentally one of eight vessels that were ordered by the Turkish Navy, but were requisitioned by the Royal Navy to serve with Coastal Forces during the Second World War)

Alistair St Clair Harrison by Hyman Segal

Frank Edward Endell Mitchell, appropriately portrayed with bow-tie, fashionable in the 1950s, was known as “Micheal” and was the tenant of the Castle Inn. His friendship with Dylan Thomas must have been firmly established in the bohemian atmosphere of the bar there, then opposite Lanham’s and the Scala Cinema (presently Boots). Mitchell who was the brother, I believe of the eminent sculptor, Denis Mitchell, offered the Castle lounge for the display of art works and in his spare time, he himself did pastels and was occupied in breeding Boxer dogs.

The donation of this little pamphlet to the Morrab Archive offers members the opportunity to recreate for themselves the ambience of the Fifties through “The Familiar Faces of  St Ives”.

 

 

 

 

Lazy Days -Listening to the Radio and Podcasts

It is a time when political matters appear to be quite falling apart as the boring pedantic  Johnson  scrabbles his way to power. The badly led opposition seems occupied in necessary self-immolation.Consequently, everyone needs some relief from the current tedium and the dear old Radio Times proves useful as it suggests highly interesting programmes in odd recherche places.

New angles on post-war Germany and Austria

proved to be one such opportunity and last night’s programme compared by the heyzerik  but delightful  Anne McElvoy with Florian Huber, Sophie Hardach, Adam Scovell and Tom Smith have produced a very interesting programme. If you have time, you will find it at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0006sjx

Thefull  details are at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0006sjx-

Among the topics discussed is the work of the great Austrian novelist and prize-winner, Thomas Bernhard

Image result for thomas bernhard

The programme includes Bernhard’s account of his days in the Cafe Braunerhof.

Image result for cafe braunerhof vienna

 

.The following 1948nEast German poster sets the tone of the programme too.https://www.reddit.com/r/PropagandaPosters/duplicates/2znorc/this_east_german_postwar_poster_shows_how_the/

For anyone interested in literary podcasts and programmes, the following link may prove of use-

https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/2019/feb/the-best-literary-podcasts-for-book-lovers/