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Flash News: Odilon Redon – Jacques Truphémus & Jérémy Liron – Berthe Morisot

[27 Jul 2018]

Odilon Redon, a ‘total’ artist

Since the beginning of the 2010s, public interest in Odilon REDON’s work has received increasing confirmation, both on the walls of major museums (a major retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2011: Odilon Redon. Prince du Rêve ) and on the secondary market.

In October 2013, a lot of 10 prints illustrating Tentation de Saint Antoine (text by Gustave Flaubert) attracted unprecedented bidding, demolishing its estimates and crossing the one million euros threshold at Christie’s New York ($1.44 million on 29 October 2013). Last May, at the Rockefeller Collection “sale of the century”, no less than three paintings by the artist were hammered down at over $2 million each, including his superb Flowers in a jug on a bright red background which fetched over $4 million (incl. fees), nearly four times its low estimate (Fleurs, Christie’s, 8 mai 2018) !

It is no coincidence that the artist’s four best results have been hammered for paintings of flowers in vases. A passionate painter of all things natural and a botany enthusiast initiated at a very young age by Armand Clavaud, the famous botanist from Bordeaux, Redon took pleasure in poetic arrangements of his flowers to produce explosions of colour, as though transferring the colours of his palette or a musical score onto the canvas. The artist liked to build bridges between various artistic disciplines: in addition to his interest in nature… literature and music both played a big part in his life. Brother of a composer, he was also a pianist and a violinist. In a way, his work offers a kind of blend between the different arts.

Barely had the doors closed on The art of the pastel, from Degas to Redon at the Petit Palais in Paris in April 2018 when the Kroller-Müller museum opened a monographic exhibition focused on the connections Odilon Redon willingly made between painting, literature and music. The Dutch museum, celebrating its 80th birthday, has the largest collection of works by Odilon Redon outside France. Until 9 September 2018, visitors can admire the 167 works chosen by curator Cornelia Homburg to illustrate the concept of synesthesia dear to the artist: the idea that we can arouse a stronger emotion on contact with art by stimulating several senses at once. As he himself said in his Confidences d’artiste in 1894, “my originality consists in making incredible beings live humanly according to laws of the credible, applying, as far as possible, the logic of what is visible to an exposition of the invisible”.

« Les silences de la peinture » at the Paul Dini Museum

At first glance, nothing seems to connect the Post-Impressionist style of Jacques TRUPHEMUS (1922-2017) to the geometric rigor of Jérémy LIRON (b.1980). And yet, despite the generation gap, a number of common passions emerge. The new exhibition at Museum of Villefranche-sur-Saône (France) explores the connections between these two painters from the Lyon region, particularly regarding perceptions of space.

During the exhibition Passages in 2014, the two painters had long conceptual discussions about windows: projections of the real, or openings to another world? Each artist seems to have built universes through these windows… silent representations… even mysterious, where the fragmented, often deserted space allows for multiple interpretations. Not without a certain melancholy, both artists pay particular attention to the treatment of light; foggy and atmospheric chez Truphémus… solar and vertical chez Liron. Despite the formally distinct pictorial vocabulary, the dripping technique used, notably in Jérémy Liron’s Paysages n° 44 and n° 45 (2007) and Jacques Truphémus’ Sieste sous la tonnelle (2007) represents a common aspect of their modernity.

In this exhibition, conceived in collaboration with the Claude Bernard gallery (Paris) and the Isabelle Gounod gallery (Paris), the museum’s Director, Sylvie Carlier, brings together about sixty works from the workshops of the two artists and from private collections. The Paul Dini Museum was in fact Jérémy Liron’s first buyer and already owned several Jacques Truphémus works.

The exhibition ends on 16 September 2018, but the two painters are unlikely to disappear off the map. The work of Jacques Truphémus, who died last year, is the subject of numerous tributes in different places and his prices are rocketing in auction rooms… including a recent result of €25,000 (c $29,000) for his Solitude au café against an estimate of €5,000 – €7,000 at De Baecque (in Lyon, 19 June 2018). Meanwhile, Jérémy Liron is extremely busy with nearly a dozen exhibitions every year, but no official secondary market as yet…

Berthe Morisot. « Seize the moment »

Independent, innovative, audacious. Berthe MORISOT (1840-1895) was a woman painter in a world of men, born at a time when the Ecole des Beaux-Arts still didn’t allow access for women. Morisot had a pretty extraordinary career. Co-founder and figurehead of the Impressionist movement, Berthe Morisot enjoyed success in her early career and had her first solo exhibition in Paris in 1892. But in the early 20th century when her peers like Degas, Monet, Renoir and Pissarro entered into legend, Morisot, despite her immense talent, fell into oblivion.

Her rehabilitation is still in process: there hasn’t been a single monographic exhibition devoted to her work in France since 1941, and since 1987 in the United States. As a result, the traveling exhibition inaugurated by the Quebec National Museum of Fine Arts entitled Berthe Morisot femme impressionniste, whose last leg is scheduled at the Musée d’Orsay in September 2019 (after visiting Philadelphia and Dallas), has something of a historical correction about it.

Berthe Morisot freed herself from the classical models extolled by her bourgeois education and directed herself towards decidedly Modern subjects and artistic practice. She painted the private scenes of bourgeois life (her own) the taste for holiday resorts gardens, and the domestic work done by women… all from a quite innovative introspective point of view. Although she was rapidly branded as a woman painting subjects deemed to be feminine, Berthe Morisot did not lack audacity and managed, as much as her peers, to break with established academism. With her energetic brushstrokes and expressive touches, Morisot wanted to “seize the moment. Behind their bright colours, her paintings reveal a certain nostalgia for the impermanence of things. The figures are represented more poetically than descriptively and the boundaries between sketch and finished work are blurred: characters and background merge, as in Après le déjeuner (1881), which fetched the artist’s best-ever auction auction result when it was acquired for nearly $11 million in 2013 at Christies in London, three and a half times more than its previous price at a New York auction house in 1997.

The gap between Berthe Morisots prices and those of her male Impressionists peers remains enormous. [cf. “Female artists and big money results”. https://www.artprice.com/artmarketinsight/female-artists-and-big-money-results. Nevertheless, contemporary historiography intends to restore the place this leading artist deserves, whose laconic funerary stele reads: Berthe Morisot, widow of Eugène Manet

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