Friday, April 27, 2007

Art_2 : Hokusaisan #85

The second piece of my personal collection is a woodblock print from Hokusai depicting a Japanese landscape in Winter. The usual features of the master's works are present like the little arched bridge, fishermen in their boats, hills and trees, the specific element here being snow covering everything in a very soft way like a fur. The small variety of colours used here enhances Winter grey light which reflects on the white carpet.

I was lucky enough to purchase this print at the London Liberty store. Nearby Carnaby street, William Morris and his friends from the Arts and Craft movement, in the Pre-raphaelite following became the designers of objects and ornaments one could find in this elegant store dedicated to new art, fashion and tendencies at the very end of the XIXth century. Soon the "Liberty style" would be famous all over the world.

This store had from the beginning a section dedicated to art pieces coming from Japan. But everything changed during the 90's... A revamped shop was designed to enter year 2000 and all what was the uniqueness of the place was washed away, the Japan section after one century was shut down. Huge sales were going on and that is when I could choose and buy my Hokusai print at a ridiculously low sales price.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Art_1: an intriguing portrait #84 -

When I bought this painting some twenty years ago in an antique shop, it was sold to me as the portrait of a 16th century gentleman. In fact there was written on the top right the date 1593

followed underneath by AET. XXVI, meaning that the character painted there was 26 years old when his portrait was done

On the back of the wooden piece, as it was painted on wood, were attached two small written papers. The first one was dated from 1920 and mentwas signed by a then known art critic. It said that the picture was probably the work of Dumonstier and that the other old paper was describing the paintings. In fact the old paper was written in black ink in a rather old fashioned style. It mentions the date on the top right of the painting and also another piece of writing in the bottom right which is impossible to read as being too dark.

I went through different art encyclopedias finding that there was a dynasty of painters in the 16th and 17th centuries by the name of Dumonstier, there are at least four of them. I could not decide which one did actually this painting.
Then I looked at the undecipherable writing. It was difficult to read though I could make out the beginning as "Mr. le...". Using a strong light and projecting it on the painting at very low angle to enhance the contrast I manage eventually to read the title which was "Mr le docteur".
I have tried to find out who that doctor could be at the time of Catherine de Medicis but without success for the moment.

The painting itself is beautiful to my taste, the eyes of the character seem alive, the beard is very delicately painted and I can spend one hour looking at this face and admiring its delicacy. It is easily more fascinating than whatever you can watch on a tv set.
Who links to me?