Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Color Between the Lines: True Value.

A couple of years ago, Georges Rouault was the subject of my BioGem on his birthday, May 27th. There is something about Rouault's work which speaks to me and today, I was able to see another of his paintings at an area museum. I am reminded of my grandmother and hours with coloring books. I get the feeling of the "orgy of colors" through church windows. I sense the honesty in simple shapes of ordinary things. In my short essay, I wrote that he used
arbitrary color choices, distortions of form, and off-kilter perspective with a little more. He chose religious themes in keeping with his deep Christian faith and social themes which reflected the human conditions near his studio in Paris. He gave his ordinary subjects a soul and expressed profound emotions about them which required a personal response from the viewer. He used confining, harsh black outlines and bold shapes of luminous, thick color which gave his work a monumental, yet child-like, quality.

This week, one of Michael Kimmelman's columns in the NYTimes was about Rouault. Whenever I read Kimmerman's writing, I learn something new, gain a new perspective or realize that "Hey, I knew that!" This week in
Revisiting Rouault's Stained Glass World, he gave us more than just a review of the gallery show, "Georges Rouault: Judges, Clowns and Whores." He gave us a little lyrical prose. His phrases sing as he discusses the work while mine stodgily march across the page. He wrote about "the luminosity of his (Rouault's) palette and the awkward elegance of his line" and that Rouault. . .
never denied the obvious connection between the thick black outlines in his paintings and the leaded church windows of medieval stained glass that he helped to restore. Those outlines flattened and broke up his work into fissures and shards of glowing color (deep purples, reds and blues) against a generally gloomy background.
Kimmelman related the disastrous results of Rouault's relationship with his dealer Vollard, the court decision on artists' property rights, and his burning of over 300 unfinished paintings.

And in the end, Kimmelman displayed an awkward elegance of line as well. He closed his column with "The market puts a price tag on art, but its true value has nothing to do with money: that was Rouault’s lesson.

It’s not a bad one for today."

The color between the lines: True Value.

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