Louis Vauxcelles – Wikipedia

french art critic
Louis Vauxcelles ( yield Louis Meyer ; 1 January 1870 – 21 July 1943 [ 1 ] ) was a french art critic. [ 2 ] He is credited with coining the terms Fauvism ( 1905 ), and Cubism ( 1908 ). He used several pseudonyms in diverse publications : Pinturrichio, Vasari, Coriolès, and Critias. [ 3 ]

fauvism [edit ]

Vauxcelles was born in Paris. He coined the phrase ‘les fauves ‘ ( translated as ‘wild beasts ‘ ) in a 1905 recapitulation of the Salon d’Automne exhibition to describe in a mocking, critical manner a circle of painters associated with Henri Matisse. As their paintings were exposed in the lapp room as a Donatello sculpture of which he approved, he stated his criticism and disapproval of their works by describing the sculpture as “ a Donatello amongst the raving mad beasts. ” [ 4 ]

Henri Matisse ‘s Blue Nude (Souvenir de Biskra) appeared at the 1907 Indépendants, entitled Tableau no. III. Vauxcelles writes on the subject of Nu bleu :

I admit to not understanding. An atrocious nude charwoman is stretched out upon grass of an opaque blue under the decoration trees … This is an artistic effect tending toward the abstract that escapes me completely. ( Vauxcelles, Gil Blas, 20 March 1907 ) [ 5 ]

Vauxcelles described the group of ‘Fauves ‘ :

A movement I consider dangerous ( despite the great sympathy I have for its perpetrators ) is taking supreme headquarters allied powers europe among a little kin of youngsters. A chapel has been established, two disdainful priests officiating. MM Derain and Matisse ; a few twelve innocent catechumens have received their baptism. Their dogma amounts to a wavering schematicism that proscribes model and volumes in the list of I-don’t-know-what graphic abstraction. This new religion hardly appeals to me. I do n’t believe in this Renaissance … M. Matisse, fauve-in-chief ; M. Derain, fauve deputy ; MM. Othon Friesz and Dufy, fauves in attendance … and M. Delaunay ( a fourteen-year-old-pupil of M. Metzinger … ), infantile fauvelet. ( Vauxcelles, Gil Blas, 20 March 1907 ). [ 5 ]

cubism [edit ]

In 1906 Jean Metzinger formed a close friendship with Robert Delaunay, with whom he would share an exhibition at Berthe Weill ‘s gallery early in 1907. The two of them were singled out by Vauxcelles in 1907 as Divisionists who used large, mosaic-like ‘cubes ‘ to construct small but highly emblematic compositions. [ 6 ] [ 7 ] [ 8 ] In 1908, Vauxcelles again, in his revue of Georges Braque ‘s exhibition at Kahnweiler ‘s gallery called Braque a daring valet who despises form, “ reducing everything, places and a figures and houses, to geometric outline, to cubes ”. [ 9 ] [ 10 ] Vauxcelles recounts how Matisse told him at the time, “ Braque has barely sent in [ to the 1908 Salon d’Automne ] a painting made of little cube ”. [ 10 ] The critic Charles Morice relayed Matisse ‘s words and spoke of Braque ‘s fiddling cube. The motif of the viaduct at l’Estaque had inspired Braque to produce three paintings marked by the reduction of form and deconstruction of position. [ 11 ] On 25 March 1909, Vauxcelles qualifies the works of Braque exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants as “ bizarreries cubiques ” ( cubic oddities ). [ 12 ] Vauxcelles, this time in his review of the 26th Salon des Indépendants ( 1910 ), made a passing and imprecise mention to Henri Le Fauconnier, Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Robert Delaunay and Fernand Léger, as “ ignorant geometers, reducing the homo body, the locate, to pallid cubes. ” [ 13 ] [ 14 ]

“ In neither case ” notes Daniel Robbins, “ did the habit of the bible “ cube ” lead to the contiguous designation of the artists with a new pictorial attitude, with a movement. The word was no more than an isolate descriptive name that, in both cases, was prompted by a visible mania for structure so assertive that the critics were wrenched, momentarily, from their accustomed concentration on motifs and subjects, in which context their comments on trace, color, key, and, lone occasionally, concept, resided. ” ( Robbins, 1985 ) [ 14 ]

The terminus “ Cubism ” emerged for the first gear time at the inauguration of the 1911 Salon des Indépendants ; imposed by journalists who wished to create arresting news. [ 15 ] The terminus was used derogatorily to describe the divers geometric concerns reflected in the paintings of five artists in continual communication with one another : Metzinger, Gleizes, Delaunay, Le Fauconnier and Léger ( but not Picasso or Braque, both absent from this massive exhibition ). [ 7 ] Vauxcelles acknowledged the importance of Cézanne to the Cubists in his article titled From Cézanne to Cubism ( published in Eclair, 1920 ). For Vauxcelles the influence had a double character, both ‘architectural ‘ and ‘intellectual ‘. He stressed the affirmation made by Émile Bernard that Cézanne ‘s optics were “ not in the eye, but in his brain ”. [ 16 ] In 1911 he coined the less well-known term Tubism in describing the style of Fernand Léger. [ 17 ]

bequest [edit ]

In 1906 Louis Vauxcelles was named Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, and in 1925 he was promoted to Officer of the Legion of Honour. [ 18 ] Towards the end of his life, in 1932, Vauxcelles published a monographic essay about Marek Szwarc, dedicated to the jewish quality of Szwarc ‘s oeuvre .

“ His artwork, which plunges its roots into the past of the ghetto and in which the moving emphasis like the ancient songs in the synagogue of Wilna, is a return key to popular imagination. And, in equally much as this may seem paradoxical, these grim manners, this severe expressive style, of a “ common ” naïveté, are profoundly in treaty with what art of the most modernist classify supplies in our gaze ; by virtue of its poetic concepts, by its firm and generous performance, by the sense of its cadenced dispositions, by the sharp graphics written in opinion of the material and which commands this very material, it is apparent that Marek Szwarc is in harmony with the most audacious innovators of our times, who seek him out and see him as a maître. ” [ 19 ]

He died in Paris, aged 73 .

Notes and references [edit ]

  • Néret, Gilles (1993). F. Léger. New York: BDD Illustrated Books. ISBN 0-7924-5848-6
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