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  • Call for Art – 12th Annual “Seascapes” Online Art Competition

    Location: Santa Fe, NM

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  • 8th Annual Leaves & Petals Art Competition

    Location: Santa Fe, NM

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 8th Annual Leaves & Petals art competition..
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  • Art Show:

    Location: Truro, NS

    Visual Voice Fine Art presents 'SUMMER' June 20- July 16, 2022. Open Monday, Wednesday,..
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  • Art instructors needed in Calgary

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Calling for Calgary based artists. Become our hosting artists to gain exposure, income..
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  • Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition consists of works from internationally..
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  • Old & New: A Solo Exhibit by Robert Crosby

    Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

    The paintings of Robert Crosby will be on display in the Joyner Gallery..
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  • ASA Presents

    Location: Calgary, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists is proud to present “Asian Roots Trio”, a..
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  • ASA Presents

    Location: Calgary, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists is proud to present “Meditation”, a solo show..
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  • Gallery Ring ARTISTS OF THE MONTH Contest

    Location: , ON

    Gallery Ring announces the ARTISTS OF THE MONTH contest. A RUBY, SAPPHIRE, EMERALD..
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  • “Summer” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline August 31, 2022

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: Summer of the soul, summer thunder, summer wine, summer fling, summer..
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  • John Lennard - Exhibition opening June 17, 2022

    Location: Haliburton, ON

    John Lennard is known for his vivid landscape paintings. A serene summer sunset,..
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  • Exhibition: Common Ground

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    In this exhibition, Sara-Jeanne Bourget, Robin Gleason and Mark Johnsen explore the layers..
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  • New Edition – online art exhibition

    Location: Brooklyn, NY

    Applications are now open for our online exhibition “New Edition”- an investigation into..
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  • Beacon Original Art Call for Submissions

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Painters, sculptors, photographers, ceramic, glass, jewelry and textile artists are encouraged to APPLY..
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  • Landscape Reflections: Solo Exhibit by Marilyn Cochrane

    Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

    The Niagara-on-the-Lake artist, Marilyn Cochrane, celebrates the natural world in a more encompassing..
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  • Repair Landmark

    Location: Fredericton, NB

    Hello, Looking for a skilled artisan able to repair our farming community's landmark. ..
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  • Call for artworks: Canada-China-Australia exchange

    Location: ,

    Led by Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Sino-Canada Alliance..
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  • STILL WITH US: Floyd Kuptana at Gallery Arcturus

    Location: Toronto, ON

    STILL WITH US: Celebrating the artist Floyd Kuptana, 1964 -2021. Works in stone, paint,..
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  • Looking for hosting artists, Calgary based

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  • Commonwealth Artists' Prize

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  • Check Jooble for Art related Jobs

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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

Notice Board

SUBMIT View

Current notices

There are no notices at this time.

Today's notices

  • Call for Art – 12th Annual “Seascapes” Online Art Competition

    Location: Santa Fe, NM

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
    View notice

  • 8th Annual Leaves & Petals Art Competition

    Location: Santa Fe, NM

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 8th Annual Leaves & Petals art competition..
    View notice

  • Art Show:

    Location: Truro, NS

    Visual Voice Fine Art presents 'SUMMER' June 20- July 16, 2022. Open Monday, Wednesday,..
    View notice

  • Art instructors needed in Calgary

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Calling for Calgary based artists. Become our hosting artists to gain exposure, income..
    View notice

  • Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition consists of works from internationally..
    View notice

  • Old & New: A Solo Exhibit by Robert Crosby

    Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

    The paintings of Robert Crosby will be on display in the Joyner Gallery..
    View notice

  • ASA Presents

    Location: Calgary, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists is proud to present “Asian Roots Trio”, a..
    View notice

  • ASA Presents

    Location: Calgary, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists is proud to present “Meditation”, a solo show..
    View notice

  • Gallery Ring ARTISTS OF THE MONTH Contest

    Location: , ON

    Gallery Ring announces the ARTISTS OF THE MONTH contest. A RUBY, SAPPHIRE, EMERALD..
    View notice

  • “Summer” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline August 31, 2022

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: Summer of the soul, summer thunder, summer wine, summer fling, summer..
    View notice

  • John Lennard - Exhibition opening June 17, 2022

    Location: Haliburton, ON

    John Lennard is known for his vivid landscape paintings. A serene summer sunset,..
    View notice

  • Exhibition: Common Ground

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    In this exhibition, Sara-Jeanne Bourget, Robin Gleason and Mark Johnsen explore the layers..
    View notice

  • New Edition – online art exhibition

    Location: Brooklyn, NY

    Applications are now open for our online exhibition “New Edition”- an investigation into..
    View notice

  • Beacon Original Art Call for Submissions

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Painters, sculptors, photographers, ceramic, glass, jewelry and textile artists are encouraged to APPLY..
    View notice

  • Landscape Reflections: Solo Exhibit by Marilyn Cochrane

    Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

    The Niagara-on-the-Lake artist, Marilyn Cochrane, celebrates the natural world in a more encompassing..
    View notice

  • Repair Landmark

    Location: Fredericton, NB

    Hello, Looking for a skilled artisan able to repair our farming community's landmark. ..
    View notice

  • Call for artworks: Canada-China-Australia exchange

    Location: ,

    Led by Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Sino-Canada Alliance..
    View notice

  • STILL WITH US: Floyd Kuptana at Gallery Arcturus

    Location: Toronto, ON

    STILL WITH US: Celebrating the artist Floyd Kuptana, 1964 -2021. Works in stone, paint,..
    View notice

  • Looking for hosting artists, Calgary based

    Location: Calgary, AB

    If you are a Calgary-based artist who is interested to gain exposure to..
    View notice

  • Commonwealth Artists' Prize

    Location: ,

    In Brief We are calling for entries from artists who are: 1) A..
    View notice

  • Check Jooble for Art related Jobs

    Location: Ottawa, ON

    Looking for a job in the ARTS in Canada? We have thousands of..
    View notice

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