DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 29.0 x 46.0 in./ 73.66 x 116.84 cm
SIGNATURE: Signed and dated
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas
Les Peupliers Jaunes
DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 29.0 x 46.0 in./ 73.66 x 116.84 cm
“A painting is above all “an artistic phenomenon … This artistic phenomenon is my priority. To strike the perfect balance between an abstract composition and human emotion, that’s my ideal. If my style seems somewhat incongruous in these tormented times, it nevertheless is the quite natural and artistic translation of my emotions.”
André Brasilier (born in Saumur, Anjou, France, 1929) is among the most important and distinguished living contemporary French artists. Both his parents were painters – his father Jacques Brasilier was a well-known symbolist, often associated with the Nabis school – and this seems to have produced a great influence in André’s early live. His career as painter began in the 1950s at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he was awarded the famous Prix de Rome when he was only 23 years old. To this day, he has had major retrospective exhibitions in France, Japan, and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.
Brasilier’s use of line, minimal palette and the use of perspective are evidence of a connection to Japanese painting and print-making. The entire palette is reminiscent of traditional Japanese colours, consisting of; sunflower yellow, pearl, lead, ash, mouse greys and fallow.
The predominant sunflower yellow set against the grey tones, adds in the construction of a three-dimensional landscape, another feature of Japanese art, particularly during the Muromachi period (1338-1573). Palettes during this period were subdued, almost monochromatic, similar to the Chinese manner of deep space within in a picture plane, constructed entirely from black and white or various tones of a single colour. The soft grey tones found in the sky, outlining the definition of the tree in the foreground and highlighting the building in the background, assists in creating deep space. The warm grey tones of the foreground, have a two-dimensional quality. The mouse grey ground in part, appears to be rising up to meet the viewer.
From this observation, the artist has successfully created both a two-dimensional and three-dimensional space within the painting, uniting important artistic principles from both Eastern and Western representational painting. The linear, ink-like application of paint evokes the calligraphic scrolls of Japan. Whilst the fast application of translucent paint layers, can be seen in the construction of the sky, ground, poplars and shrubbery, suggests the work was painted en plein air, reminiscent of the Impressionists and Expressionists.
Brasilier is drawn to the vibrant yellow of the poplars and pays homage to them. The eye is being constantly drawn to the block of rich colour, separating the sky from the landscape. Whilst keeping within traditional Japanese sensibilities. The painting is very emotive. There is a stillness and a timelessness to the work.
In Muromachi painting, the foremost artists were priests, such as; Kao, Josetsu, Sh?bun and Sessh?. Kao painted at the moment he achieved enlightenment and in Les Peupliers Jaunes, the viewer can sense a similar spiritual awakening within the artist. The artist has taken us into a dream, where earthly trivialities are abandoned and the beauty of nature is celebrated. As the viewer spends time with this painting, one can’t help but feel calm. We are transported to this rural landscape in France.
Wally Findlay Gallery, New York;
Private Collection, United States
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André Brasilier was born into an artistic family in Saumur, France in 1929. Possessing a natural inclination for painting at an early age, he went to Paris to study at the École de Beaux-Arts when he was twenty years old. In 1952 Brasilier received a grant from the Florence Blumenthal Foundation. The following year when he was only 23, Brasilier won the Premier Grand Prix de Rome which entitled him to study at the Académie de France in Rome. He lived at the Villa de Medicis from 1954 to 1957. He also received the Prix Charles-Morellet at the Salon de la Jeune Peinture in 1961 and the Prix de Villeneuve-sur-Lot in 1962.
While Brasilier’s works reflect the influences of expressionist artists and Japanese prints, he has retained a personal style of schematized nature and imagery that makes him anomaly in the contemporary zeitgeist. His subdued paintings often feature themes and motifs of horses, nature, music and women, provocative in their timelessness and emotional subjectivity. One of Brasilier’s main subjects included his wife, the muse he has loved his entire life and that he depicts as his constant source of inspiration.
Brasilier’s paintings depict a peaceful, comfortable world, free from care, in a very simple, stylish manner, with delicate harmonies bathed in accommodating sunlight.
Brasilier had his first retrospective of one hundred artworks from 1950-1980 at the Château de Chenonceau in 1980 and a retrospective exhibition at the Musée Picasso-Château Grimaldi in Antibes, the French Riviera, in 1988. He has since been honoured with major retrospectives both at Russia’s renowned State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg in 2005 and at the Museum Haus Ludwig für Kunstausstellungen Saarlois in Germany in 2007.