Sunday, February 22, 2015

Chavannes, Pierre Puvis de

oil on canvas
263.5 x 148.5 cm
Ohara Museum of Art, Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824-1898) was the foremost French mural painter of the second half of the 19th century. He is the greatest French decorative painter who is noted for painting murals.
His paintings were done on canvas and then affixed to the walls, but their pale colors imitated the effect of fresco. His simplified forms, respect for the flatness of the picture surface, rhythmic line, and use of non-naturalistic color to evoke the mood of the painting appealed to both the Post-Impressionists and the Symbolists.

He had only modest success early in his career, but he went on to achieve an enormous reputation, and he was universally respected even by artists of very different aims and outlook from his own. Gauguin, Seurat, and Toulouse-Lautrec were among his professed admirers.
His reputation has since declined, his idealized depictions of antiquity or allegorical representations of abstract themes now often seeming rather anemic. He remains important, however, because of his influence on entire generation of painters and sculptors.
He became the president and co-founder of the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts.