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· Cattle Dealer
Study on the Main Theme
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|Weekly Work 1.41||Marketing Musings
on Art 1.9
|Creative Journal 1.8||Pablo Journal 1.7|
This series is not intended to be a university course. I am not an art scholar - I am just a painter. I'm going to reveal some secrets that I stumbled upon. Of course, you too may discover some of these secrets in books, but they are hard to decipher. It will be my pleasure to do so and spread the word. My motto will be, as always:
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To get a blowup of Chagall's "Cattle Dealer" while offline: Connect to the internet, click here, then disconnect.
Last week, we had a first look at Chagall's Cattle Dealer. I stressed the fact that Chagall is a modern painter with a rural background thrown into a hot phase of the formation of Modern Art. He was eager to become successful and recognized, that's why he adopted stylistic means developed by other painters.
|There's nothing bad about that. Remember the blue rectangle denoting
the back of the sheep,
shown in detail in
Art Journal 1.8?
This form is clearly cubistic.
As is to be expected, these cubistic forms don't convince entirely. This doesn't matter either. There is something strong in this painting which is Chagall's own.
We saw last week that Chagall decided to be a modern painter. Therefore, he isn't interested in what his eyes see. He isn't interested in what his brain can think. This isn't a cool cubist painting like one of Picasso's or Braque's. Notice the vivid colors alone! But there's more. He introduces a new element into modern painting never seen before.
This element wasn't new altogether, of course. Traditional painting, too, depicts feelings, and there was a whole school of painters towards the end of the last century devoted to bring feelings back into paintings. This school was called Symbolism, it flourished with minor differences in England, Germany and France under several labels, but had generally little influence on Modern Art as a whole.
72*48 cm, 28x19", Terrakotta
/ Iron US$ 5,980, Bronze / Wood US$ 7,890
Most of the feelings these guys showed seem faked, which is, I suppose, the reason why they are hard to stand on the long run. I give a not so obvious example in Pablo Journal 1.7 (Stuck). The only two exceptions are van Gogh and Gauguin. Van Gogh is full of hot feelings, but unfortunately he never had the luck to find a goal for all his love. A tragic life. Gauguin had a similar fate, but he could project his loving feelings onto Tahitian women.
The new element Chagall brought into modern painting and into painting as such, was: fulfilled love between man and woman. All trouble of life notwithstanding, Chagall seems to have been a happy man. And with Chagall, this happiness lies solely in the connection between man and woman.
In fact, little else apart from the lover's happiness seems to exist in most of Chagall's works. There are very few paintings in the whole history of art capturing this deep, personal connectedness rooted in erotic and sexual attraction. In fact, I know of only one: Ruben's Little Fur (on which I talked in Pablo Journal 1.5).
Ruben's painting shows the woman only, the other part of the relationship being the painter or the spectator in the role of the painter respectively lover. In contrast, Chagall always shows both man and woman, them being obviously happy without showing any of life's trouble.
|Well, this is not quite true with respect to this painting. We see a
couple all right, and it is not a man and woman only, obviously, these two
are married and form a team in life. The subject of this painting seems to
be the trouble to make a life.
Interestingly, the subject of pregnancy is spoken out very clearly also in that the calf is shown inside the womb of the cow. Pregnancy is another subject not painted very often. (I observed this once when I found out that I had made quite a few pregnant women myself; see one example at right and a whole selection of them here.)
Man and woman not only fall in love, their loving behavior gives rise to new life. This painting draws a parallel between man and animal, and it shows what the obligation of each individual in this life is: take responsibility for life and culture and care for prolongation. Not only make a living but pass life on.
At the time the painting was made, Chagall was still a bachelor. He already knew the girl who was to become his wife for several years at that time, but she lived far away in Russia. Most probably there was no way they could ever meet, and it still was a couple of years until they were married.
I don't know anything about his life in Paris as a single, but I would guess from this painting that he was not experiencing a happy connection at the time. Nevertheless, his most eminent topics are here already. We'll get more into this in the next issue.
Time to close this issue, time to remind you of the November contest at ArtQuest. Each month, they feature one artist and give away one painting of that artist. This month's artist is Joe from Art Quarter. The painting to be given away is featured in this week's Weekly Work. So have a look, surf over to ArtQuest and sign up for the draw end of November!
|You will have noticed the new layout. At the masthead
and the gallery ad, I featured sculptures of Christoph
Fischer, who will join Gallery Clay
in the next days. Christoph "works the horses" very much and resembles
Marino Marini in this respect.
In case you don't know of Marino Marini: He was an Italian sculptor who became famous after World War II (died 1980). Marini is known for his horses, also for portrays of popes and cardinals. Christoph's horses are different, but equally strong. I like them very much.
The bended horse reminds me of the famous ancient Chinese horses found in a mound to protect an emperor's grave. Horses are a strong symbol. These animals are intimately tied to man's history. They are very important to many modern people once again, many people own horses for fun.
By the way: if you want to see more of van Gogh, this site claims to feature each and all of his paintings. For Gauguin, I would have a look at Mark Harden's Artchive or Carol Gerten's Fine Art. Both have nothing on Marini, though, therefore I include my own scan of his "Rider" here.
If you have enjoyed this issue, please recommend it to a friend. For your convenience, I prepared both a mailto: link at the top and a Recommend-It button at the bottom. Aren't the screensavers worth a notice, also? Many people like them very much, I too.
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