Emil Nolde: Colour is Life at the NGI

Nolde’s racist views are totally unacceptable. He was a magnificent colourist and flower painter.

Down by the Dougie


A little while ago I developed an interest in German Expressionist art and am quite keen to see and find out more about it. So when I was in Dublin last Sunday afternoon, I decided to call into the National Gallery of Ireland to take a look at their latest temporary exhibition, which is devoted to the work of Emil Nolde.

He was born as Emil Hansen near the village of Nolde  in the PrussianDuchy of Schleswig, close to Denmark (and which had been the area disputed by Denmark and Germany in the mid 19th Century resulting in a war between the two countries). He changed his name to that of his home town, for reasons which probably reflect his political views (more of which later).

In 1906, he joined Die Brücke (The Bridge), the group of Expressionist artists based Dresden, but left after a year. He was…

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Ferdinand Hodler, Transition, 1886-94

More about the fascinating and influential Hodler.

The Eclectic Light Company

The first article in my series to commemorate the centenary of the death of the Swiss artist Ferdinand Hodler (1853–1918) showed some of his realist paintings from the early years of his career. During the late 1880s, he started to develop his mature style, a form of Symbolism which he referred to as Parallelism.

It was also a period of great change in his personal life. In 1887, Hodler and his partner Augustine Dupin (1852-1909) had a son. Two years later, Hodler married Bertha Stucki, but they divorced in 1891. He met his future second wife, Berthe Jacques (1868-1957), in 1894. All three of his partners modelled for his paintings, although not, as far as I can tell, simultaneously.

hodlerheleneweigle Ferdinand Hodler (1853–1918), Portrait of Hélène Weiglé (1888), oil on canvas, 88.5 × 69.5 cm, Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt, Germany. Wikimedia Commons.

Hodler’s Portrait of Hélène Weiglé (1888) remains…

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Ferdinand Hodler, Early Realism, to 1885

A fascinating and hugely influential painter. Many thanks for this informative summary:-

The Eclectic Light Company

Next month, I will be commemorating here the centenary of the death of the great Swiss artist Ferdinand Hodler (1853–1918). He is not a painter that I have known well, and I can’t recall seeing any of his paintings in the flesh. Researching his life and work has been revelatory, though, and in the coming weeks I’d like to share with you what I have found out. I hope that you too will come to appreciate the work of one of the period’s most versatile and innovative painters.

Hodler was born the first child of a poor, working family in Bern, Switzerland. His father, a carpenter, died when Hodler was seven, but the following year his mother married a second time, to a decorative painter who painted stage scenery, etc. Tuberculosis was rife in the poor quarter of the city where they lived, and Hodler saw his brothers and sisters…

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En l’absence des hommes (In the Absence of Men) by Philippe Besson #BookReview

I try to read German and French glaringly. Even though not fluent, the foreign modes of expression I find haltingly beautiful.

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

It has taken me ages and ages to read this book because it was a handbag book: I read it in coffee shops, in waiting rooms and on trains.  I read it that way because I read the French edition, and I wanted to stop myself from consulting the dictionary every time I was stuck for a word.  And even though this means I mainly read it at plot level and probably missed some of its nuances, I still loved reading it because it is a beautiful book.

En l’absence des hommes is a story of doomed love.  Doomed because the story is set during WW1 when Vincent is 16, and his first love, Arthur, is destined for the carnage on the battlefront. And even though Vincent’s narrative is imbued with all the insouciance of youth, there is a melancholic tone which tells the reader that this is going to…

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The Naturalism of Gustave Caillebotte 1

Love Caillebot!

The Eclectic Light Company

Of the painters normally associated with the French Impressionists, two appear to be rather different: Edgar Degas, about whom I wrote at length last autumn, and Gustave Caillebotte (1848–1894).

With the recent ‘rediscovery’ of Naturalism, or social realism, Caillebotte is now being associated with accepted Naturalist artists such as Jules Bastien-Lepage, in many respects more strongly than with the core French Impressionists such as Monet and Pissarro. In this and the next article, I am going to look at a small selection of Caillebotte’s paintings across the breadth of his career, considering how Naturalist they might be, and how that fits in with their appreciation.

caillebottenudewoman1873 Gustave Caillebotte (1848–1894), Nude Woman Lying on a Couch (1873), pastel on paper, 88.9 x 116.2 cm, Private collection. Wikimedia Commons.

Caillebotte started painting seriously quite late: he had already completed his law degree and obtaining a licence to practice law before the Franco-Prussian War…

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