Week_3-2_Leroy

Week_3-2_Leroy - Louis Leroy (1812—1885) ‘The...

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Unformatted text preview: Louis Leroy (1812—1885) ‘The Exhibition of the Impressionists‘ Oh, it was indeed a strenuous day when I ventured into the first exhibition on [he boulevard des Capucines in the company of M. joseph Vincent, landscape painter, pupil of Bertin, recipient of medals and decorations under several governmentSI The rash man had come there without suspecting anything; he thought that he would see the kind ofpainting one sees everywhere, good and had, rather bad than good, but not hostile to good artistic manners, to devotion to form, and respect for the masters. Ohy form! Oh, the masters! We don't want them any more, my poor fellow! We’ve changed all that: Upon entering the first room, joseph Vincent received an initial shock in front of the Dancer by M. Renoir. “What a pity,” he said to me, “that the painter, who has a certain understanding of colour, doesn't draw better; his dancer’s legs are as cottony as the gauze ofher skirts” “I find you hard on him,” I replied. “On the contrary, the drawing is very tight." Bertin’s pupil, believing that I was being ironical, contented himself with shrugging his shoulders, not taking the trouble to answer. Then, very quietly, with my most naive air, I led him before the Ploughezl Field of M. Pissarro. At the sight of this astounding landscape, the good man thought that the lenses of his spectacles were dirty. He wiped them carefully and replaced them on his nose. “By Michalonl" he cried. “What on earth is that?" “You see. . . a hoar—frost on deeply ploughed furrows." “Those furrows? That frost? But they are palette—scrapings placed uniformly on a dirty canvas. It has neither head not tail, top not bottom, front not back." “Perhaps. . . but the impression is there.“ “Well, it’s a funny impression! Oh. . . and this?" “An Orelzara' by M. Sisley. I’d like to point out the small tree on the right; it’s gay, but the impression. . . ” “Leave me alone, now, with your impression... it’s neither here nor there. But here we have a View (If/145!!!” by M. Rouart, in which there's something to the water. The shadow in the foreground, for instance, is really peculiar.” “It’s the vibration of tone which astonishes you.” “Call it the sloppiness of tone and I’d understand you better—~Oh, Corot, Corot, what crimes are committed in your name! It was you who brought into fashion this messy composition, these thin washes, these mud—splashes against which the art lover has been rebelling for thirty years and which he has accepted only because constrained and forced to it by your tranquil stubbornness. Once again a drop of water has worn away the stone!” The poor man rambled on this way quite peacefully, and nothing led me to anticipate the unfortunate accident which was to be the result of his visit to this hair—raising exihibition. He even sustained, without major injury, viewing the Fishing Boats Leaving the Harbor by M. Claude Monet, perhaps because I tore him away from dangerous contemplation of this work before the small, noxious figures in the fore— ground could produce their effect. L'niortunately, I was imprudent enough to leave him too long in front ol the [Luz/craft! t/t’X Capacities, by the same painter. ’ ‘ ' “ ' v ' i > . “Alisha!” he sneeer in Mephistophelian manner. Is that brilliant enough, now! There‘s impression, or I don't know what it means. Only, be so good as to tell me what [hose innumerable black tongue—lickings in the lower part of the picture represent: “Whv, those are people walking along," I replied. “Then do I look like that when I’m walking along the boulevard des Capucinesr V ' ‘ i ) fl ' ~ 11 Blood and thunder! So you re making fun of me at last? “I assure you, M. Vincent... ." v V “But those spots were obtained by the same method as that used to imitate marble: a bit here, a bit there, slap—dash, any old way. It's unheard-of, appalling! I’ll get a Stroke from it, for sure.” I attempted to calm him by showing him the St. Denis Canal by M. Lepine and the Butte illuntmartre by M. Ottin, both quite delicate in tone; but fate was strongest of all: the Cabbage: of M. Pissarro stopped him as he was passing by and from red he became scarlet. ~“Those are cabbages," I told him in a gently persuasive vmce. “Oh the poor wreteches, aren't thev caricatured! I swear not to eat any more as V .— long as I live!” .— - . . 4 , “Yet it‘s not their fault if the painter . . .. “Be quiet, or I‘ll do something terrible.” ‘ Suddenly he gave a loud cry upon catching sight of the Alan/m dz: pendu by M. Paul Cézanne. The stupendous impasto ofthis little jewel accomplished the work begun by the Boulevard der Capacities: pére Vincent became dCllI‘IOUS.. . . 7 At first his madness was fairly mild. Taking the point 0fv1ew ofthe impresswnists, he let himself go along their lines: . “Boudin has some talent,” he remarked to me before a beach scene by that artist; “but why does he fiddle so with his marines?” “Oh, vou consider his painting too finished?” ‘ “Unquestionablv. Now take Mlle Morisotl That young lady is not interested in reproducing trifling details. When she has a hand to paint, she makes exactly as many brushstrokes lengthwise as there are fingers, and the business is done. Stupid people who are finicky about the drawing ofa hand don’t understand a thing about impres- sionism, and great Manet would chase them out of his republic.” . “Then M. Renoir is following the proper path; there is nothing superfluous in his Harvesters. I might almost say that his figures. . . .” “. . . are even too finished.” “Oh, M. Vincent! But do look at those three strips of colour, which are supposed to represent a man in the midst ofthe wheat!” “There are two too many; one would be enough.” I glanced at Bertin’s pupil; his countenance was turning a deep red. A catastrophe seemed to me imminent, and it was reserved for M. Monet to contribute the last straw. “Ah, there he is, there he is!” he cried, in front of No. 98. “I recognize him, papa Vincent’s favourite! What does that canvas depict? Look at the catalogue.” “Impression, Sunrise." 9 576 Temperaments and Techniques «ijprersion - I was certain of it. I was just telling mysclf that, since I was impreSSed there had to be some impression in it . . . and what freedom, what ease of workmanshi ‘ Wallpaper in its embryonic state is more finished than that scascape.” m In vain I sought to revive his expiring reason. . . but the horrible fascinated him The Laundress, so badly laundered, of M. Degas drove him to cries of admirmm“ Sisley himself appeared to him affected and precious, To indulge his insanity and on; of fear of irritating him, I looked for what was tolerable among the impressioms‘ pictures, and I acknowledged without too much difficulty that the bread, grapes and chair of Breakfast, by M. Monet, were good bits of painting. But he rejected the“ concessrons. uNo, no!” he cried. “Monet is weakening there. He is sacrificing to the false gods of Meissonier, Too finished, too finished! Talk to me of the Modern Olympia! That's something well done.” Alas, go and look at it! A woman folded in two, from whom a Negro girl is remon8 the last veil in order to offer her in all her ugliness to the charmed gaze of a brow“ puppet. Do you remember the Olympia of M. Manet? Well, that was a masterpiece of drawingm accuracy, finish, compared with the one by M. Cezanne. Finally the pitcher ran over, The classic skull of pére Vdn’eent, assailed from too many sides, went completely to pieces. He paused before the municipal guard who watches over all these treasures and, taking him to be a portrait, began for my benefit: very emphatic criticism: “Is he ugly enough?” he remarked, shrugging his shoulders. “From the from, he has two eyes . . i and a nose . . . and a mouth! Impressionists wouldn‘t have thus sacrificed to detail. With what the painter has expended in the way of useless things. Monet would have done twenty municipal guards!” Keep moving, will you!” said the ‘portrait’. “You hear him - he even talks! The poor fool who daubed at him must have spent a lot of time at it!“ And in order to give the appropriate seriousness to his theory of aesthetics, pm Vincent began to dance the scalp dance in front of the bewildered guard, crying in a strangled voice: _ “Hi—ho! I am impression on the march, the avenging palette knife, the Boulevard des Capacines of Monet, the Maison du pemlu and the Modern Olympia of Cezanne. Hi- ho! Hi—ho!“ ...
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Week_3-2_Leroy - Louis Leroy (1812—1885) ‘The...

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