Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Gustave Caillebotte Exhibit

We live in Dallas, Tx. and have access to many fine museums.  I recently saw an exhibit of Gustave Caillebotte at the Kimbell Art Museum.  Now, when I was an art student, I was taught that the Impressionists were beyond reproach,  Hmmm, I wonder.  The impressionists were revolutionary and were rebelling against the strict academicians.  To them, art had become stale, dried up.  They wanted to breathe new life into painting and emphasized painting ordinary people and subjects en plein air capturing fleeting light as opposed to in the studio,  We can thank them for that.  However, did we need to turn our backs on the artists who preceded them?  Look at the work of Jean Leon Gerome or Adolphe Bouguereau, artists who taught at the Academie de Beaux Arts.  Their technique -- their tremendous skill was based on what had been developed over centuries of painting and drawing passed down by the great masters.   I may be getting myself in trouble here but can we go on.

After viewing the Caillebotte exhibit we walked over to the Amon Carter Museum where we viewed the work of John Singer Sargent.  Sargent was a contemporary of the impressionists but was not held in high regard by them.  He used their techniques -- spontaneous, alla prima brush strokes with great skill and to better render his subjects.  However, he was a master at painting and composition.  May I just ask the question of who could draw and render better  Please compare the artistry of Caillebotte with Sargent. Why has there been a return to academic education in painting.

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