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  • Online Exhibition: Per Astera by Malaika Z Charbonneau

    Location: Saskatoon, SK

    Malaika Z Charbonneau exhibits her latest markings, using paint and canvas to explore..
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  • “10th Anniversary” Online Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for a..
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  • 15th Solo Art Series – Online Solo Art Exhibition Opportunity

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces its 15th “Solo Art Series”..
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  • 2020 Social Distancing Exhibition

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    $1,000 in Artist Prizes. We know, you’re stuck at home. While many are stocking..
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  • 10th Annual

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • Call for Art - 5th Annual Animal Kingdom Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 5th Annual Animal Kingdom online art competition. For..
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  • Call for Art - Still Life Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for its 14th Quarterly Art Competition – Still Life. For..
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  • National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society 2020 Spring Online International Exhibition

    Location: , ON

    $4500 in Awards - The National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS) invites..
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  • Beacon Original Art Spring Show & Sale

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Annual spring 2-day art show and sale with different artists in attendance each..
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  • Nooks & Crannies Outdoor Art Festival: Call to Artists

    Location: Okotoks, AB

    Okotoks Culture seeks proposals from artists to create temporary public art installations in..
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  • BORDERS - ITSLIQUID International Art and Architecture Festival

    Location: Venice,

    CALL FOR ARTISTS BORDERS | Venice July-Nov 2020 ITSLIQUID International Art and Architecture Festival Deadline:..
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  • Acrylic Painting Workshop with Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    April 4/5 2020. Learn how to quickly develop rich colour and surface in..
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  • $550.00 Innovate Grants — Call for Artists + Photographers

    Location: , NY

    Innovate Grant is now accepting submissions for the Spring 2020 Cycle. Innovate Grant..
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  • CALL FOR ARTISTS: CANVAS International Art Fair

    Location: London, UK,

    CANVAS International Art Fair THE LINE Gallery, London | May 07 – October 30,..
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  • 27th Lemonville Group of Artists Show and Sale

    Location: Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON

    Please join The Lemonville Group of Artists for their 27th Annual Art Show..
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  • “Sensuality” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline April 30, 2020

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: A glance, touch, dance, flower, scent or piece of chocolate can..
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  • Artwork Shipping Scam

    Location: , AB

    This week an artist on our site was corresponding via email with an..
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  • Geoff Farnsworth: Colour Worker

    Location: Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON

    Join the Niagara Pumphouse for the opening reception for the exhibition entitled, “Geoff..
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  • Call for Entries: Art at the Pumphouse

    Location: Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON

    The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre is now accepting applications for participation in Art..
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  • Exaltation : Niagara Pumphouse Instructors' Exhibition

    Location: Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON

    Niagara Pumphouse is proud to host the Instructors’ Exhibition as its first show..
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  • Art, Wine, Interior Design Show

    Location: Winnipeg, MB

    Art, Wine, Interior Design Show! Exhibitor opportunities for Visual artists, Interior Designers and Wineries. Finding..
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  • National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society 2020 Spring Online International Exhibition

    Location: , ON

    The National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS) invites oil and acrylic painters..
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  • Love At First Sight

    Location: Regina, SK

    Love At First Sight / Regina Art Collective members: Dave Gedjos / DeLee Grant..
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  • In Other Words

    Location: Regina, SK

    In Other Words / Regina Art Collective members: Nikki Jacquin / Derek Olson / Mark..
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  • CALL FOR ARTISTS: VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2020

    Location: Venice,

    CALL FOR ARTISTS: VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2020 Venice | April 09 – May..
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  • CALL FOR ARTISTS: THE EXTENDED BODY 2020

    Location: London,

    CALL FOR ARTISTS: THE EXTENDED BODY – MIXING CULTURES ITSLIQUID International Art Exhibition THE..
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  • Appreciation of the Arts

    Location: London, ON

    Three day art and music event to recognize local artists in London, Ontario...
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  • Call to Artists - 2020 Sooke Fine Arts Show

    Location: Sooke, BC

    Artists are invited to submit work for consideration to the 2020 Sooke Fine..
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  • ACAF (Accessible Art Fair) 2020

    Location: Brussels,

    ACAF (Accessible Art Fair) is back on October 15-18, 2020 for its 14th..
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  • Call For Artists: The Other Art Fair Toronto

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Other Art Fair are thrilled to present the newest edition of The..
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  • Marlene Kawalez and Corynn Kokolakis

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Presented by: Cedar Ridge Gallery. Part of the Cedar Ridge Gallery Contemporary Exhibition series. March..
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Masterworks of Nineteenth Century French Realism

By Robert Amos December 14, 2004

} Masterworks of Nineteenth Century French Realism By Robert Amos Masterworks of Nineteenth Century French Realism from the National Gallery of Canada is the latest in a string of very popular "blockbuster" shows to arrive at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (1040 Moss Street, 384-4101, 2 December 2 - February 20, 2005). Pierre Theberge, director of the National Gallery of Canada, describes it as a "prequel", following the Impressionist Masterworks (seen in Vancouver) and the Post-Impressionist Masterworks (seen in Victoria three years ago). Masterworks they are - among the sixteen paintings is Camille Corot's dazzling Bridge at Narni (1827); Honore Daumier's Third Class Carriage (1863), said to be his finest painting; Edgar Degas's haunting and unfinished Woman with an Umbrella (1876); and The Letter by James Tissot (1878), an intriguing canvas which I will address at length next week. The Letter by James Tissot So what's the story? European art had, until the 19th century, been a commodity purchased by churches and governments, to decorate their halls and propagate their myths and messages. During those times, artists of promise were trained up in guilds and, later, in schools called academies. There, they learned how to achieve what was expected by their patrons. At annual exhibitions properly trained Academy artists could display their abilities before their betters from the church and state, hoping for possible commissions. The resulting academic work did not represent the inner feelings of the artists, but portrayed subjects drawn from the Bible, classical mythology and ancient history. These paintings was impeccibly smooth, and breathed an atmosphere typically airless. Entirely painted in the studio, academic paintings appeared to be inhabited by artists' models wearing "antique" costumes and assuming histrionic poses. The pictures were intended to present a model of moral behaviour. In France in the 19th century, a movement called Realism intended the overthrow of this system. Beauty would no longer be measured against the eternal standard of Antiquity, but was defined by what fed the passions of contemporary Parisians - crowded street scenes, cabarets, cafes, circuses, dance halls, or the interiors of bourgeois salons. It would be painted by the people, for the people, with a freshness and immediacy they would recognize as of their own times. The 19th century was a time of turmoil in France, a time of the Citizen King, the 1848 Revolution, the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune of 1871. Contemporary life had became more interesting than the past. Many artists became involved in political actions, striving to change the direction of the Academy and even taking to the barricades, to prison or to exile. As the new middle class rose to a sense of its own power, the artists discovered this new world of patrons. The nouveaux riches patrons wanted paintings to hang in their homes, not for the walls of the church or state. This great shift repositioned the artist in society. No longer was he a hired decorator. He was now an individual - a citizen, a thinking person. Courbet explained that "art is entirely individual and is, for each artist, simply the ability that issues from his own inspiration and his own studies of tradition." From now on, each artist's experience and message was foremost. Bridge at Narni by Camille Corot The change from Academy to Realism took many forms. Moving away from myths and Bible stories, some artists sought exotic new locales. Jean-Leon Gerome's Camels at the Watering Place (1857) is derived from his studies in Egypt. More artists chose France herself as the subject, ennobling the timeless activities of the peasant - Jean-Francois Millet's The Pig Killers (1867-70) shows a grisly farm scene composed as if it was a classical freize. Gustave Courbet's view of The Cliffs at Etretat (1866) is a straightforward landscape study of a popular scene on the French coast. Such landscapes seem commonplace to us, but at the time such a painting seemed to lack subject matter. Furthermore, it was obviously painted to some extent in the open air. Eugene Boudin was influenced by Courbet's courageous practice. "His approach is broad, and perhaps," he wrote in his journal, "I could adapt this to my own work, yet at the same time I find it very coarse and his attention to detail very summary and rather styleless". Boudin built on Courbet's inspiration. He went on to be the father of Impressionism and the original inspiration of Claude Monet. Boudin's Port of Rotterdam (1880) is a painting by an artist who has left the studio behind. Another plein-air painter who worked on the French coast was Johan Barthold Jonkind. His sunny Entrance to the Harbour of Honfleur (1864) shows a well-known setting, the modern shipping rendered with the sparkling clarity appropriate to a day at the seashore. As the bourgeois replaced the church and state as patrons, it was only natural that portraiture would take a much more important position in the artists' production. Jean-Leon Gerome's Portrait of a Woman (1850) presents a well-dressed woman painted with the gloss of the Academic style. Yet, in the modern way, the emphasis is on her character rather than the hieratic details of her costume. Cezanne's Portrait of Gustave Boyer (1870-71) is not a painting of a pope or a king. It is a painting of the artist's friend. As ever with Cezanne, his struggle to express form eclipses any interest he might have had in a smooth finish. Perhaps the highlight of the show is a canvas from Edgar Degas titled Woman with an Umbrella (1876). Inscribed on a tinted background, the summary sketching of the sitter's coat and arms would not begin to pass muster at the Academy. Probably this is an unfinished painting. The sitter's head is not flattering, and rendered with economy of means. Yet it makes a soul connection with the viewer - her forthright gaze meets our eyes. Even now, 130 years later, we confront our contemporary. Woman with Umbrella by Edgar Degas Each of the sixteen paintings bears consideration. One still life by Henri Fantin-Latour shows Roses(1885) of wonderful freshness, the perfect enhancement to a lovely home. Another still life, a bowl of blotchy and blemished apples by Gustave Courbet (1871), was painted while the artist was imprisoned for subversive activity connected with the downfall of the Commune in 1871. Though he was allowed paint and canvas in his cell, he had no model, so he painted fruit and flowers. The political tone of the times is perfectly evident in Honore Daumier's masterpiece, The Third-Class Carriage (ca. 1863-65). Remember, travel by rail was a remarkable subject for an artist at the time. The social dimensions implied by every one of the travellers is made more complex when one considers the drama imposed by the "class" ticketing system. The artist, during the 19th century, left his humble position as decorator-for-hire and came to be respected as an individual, a poet painting signs of the times. The unfolding of Realism is the birth of the Modern, a saga whose evolution has been the main story of art history ever since. ___________________________________________ Copyright © 2004Robert Amos Robert Amos is an artist and art writer who lives in Victoria, B.C.. He can be contacted by e-mail and you can view his paintings at www.robertamos.com