March 6 - April 4
A collection of paintings by Jean de Botton (1898-1978)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For More Information Contact
Jean De Botton (French 1898 – 1970), Retrospective.”
Olena Zvyagintseva, Richard Downs
Opens March 6th, 2015: Through April 10, 2015
Jean De Botton (1898-1978) is a French painter known for his adventure with color and whose art many Atlantans collected from Frances Aronson Gallery from 1978 through the early 21st century.
After studying at the Ecole des Beaux Art in Paris de Botton traveled to Italy in 1933 where he discovered the 15th century primitive artists Giotto, Paolo Uccello and Piero della Francesca and their use of color. He was so changed by what he saw that when he returned to Paris he burned over 200 paintings in his studio in front of witnesses. In his manifesto “Chiaroscuro Killed Painting” he claimed that painting was about color and not as the Renaissance had taught us chiaroscuro—the dramatic use of deep variations and subtle gradations in light and shade to delineate character. From this moment forward De Botton changed directions and plunged into color, exploring new harmonies and daring juxtapositions.
De Botton was the only non-British painter to be officially invited to attend and paint the Coronation of King George VI in 1937. In 1944 he was honored with a large retrospective exhibition at the Museum of California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. In 1945 he established his main residence in New York.
De Botton’s work went through several periods; from the 1930’s into the 1950’s his love of the figure and pageantry is present. But by 1960 he had moved into imaginary landscapes, still lifes and an abstract style of elusive, elegant forms the artist seemed to be viewing from different angles.
De Botton wanted to be known for art that was so natural it would disarm a person. In order to remain aloof from art fashions, focus on his own artistic aspirations, and ground himself in what one writer called “the French sense of measure” he spent half the year in Paris and the other in New York from 1946 till his death in 1978.
De Botton’s paintings were acquired by the Albertina Museum in Vienna, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg, Dallas Museum, Dallas, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Muse National d’Art Modern, Paris, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Norton Museum, Palm Beach, San Diego Museum and the Museum Richartz, Cologne. They were also in the private collection of Ford, Chester Dale, Standard Oil, Du Pont de Nemours, Searle, Biddle, Meadows, Kennedy, Drexel Duke and Whitney Payson.
Olena Zviagintseva: This Ukrainian artist grew up in Kiev and spent her summers at the family cottage in the country. This city-country life experience creates a unified sense of sophistication and simplicity in her work. Her still life paintings are often quite rustic—simple jars of field gathered flowers against a rough textured wall, or lit from behind by a window; or a basket on a table surrounded by eggs and bread. The paint quality is lush, with loosely applied marks and rich swathes of color. Occasionally these marks become emphatic and almost harshly confident. It is through this bold visual lens that we learn that Zvyagintseva’s subjects, while homely, are not soft and delicate, but vigorous and strong; made of the earth and strengthened by their attachment to hard work and an intimate knowledge of the society and environment they so beautifully capture.
The artist’s elegant figurative works depict subjects ranging from mysterious abstracted figures— sometimes with delicately painted faces—wearing richly patterned garments and performing intimate daily rituals, to doughty and powerful vendors and shoppers at the local fish market and farm stalls. These works, filled as they are with vibrant life and, at times, a deep sense of dreamlike nostalgia, create both an emotional and intellectual connection with the viewer. Color is bold and yet delicate and surfaces are worked with both wet and dry brush techniques to create contrasting textural modulations that range from smooth and glassine to a heavy impasto applied with a palette knife.
Richard Downs: A California based artist who was born in Pasadena, Downs straddles both the worlds of Fine Art and Editorial Illustration. He has been featured in several volumes of American Illustration and has received acclaim as an illustrator / designer. Down’s Fine Art work is perhaps most interesting as it follows several directions and cements his reputation of being an inventive and adventurous artist. Working in braided steel to create sculpture, which, while three dimensional, plays with both space and shadows to create complex simultaneous combinations of two dimensions (caused by a play of shadows on surrounding surfaces) and three dimensionality – the visual play of wire and void. While these works are impressively abstract, they are also playful and full of individuality and personality. Downs is also a masterful printer; creating large scale monoprints and duoprints on Japanese paper. Typically figural, he often references classical themes while bringing to them a highly stylized contemporary feel. Bold lines, simple shapes and strong colors create an immediacy and modernity in these works that is very seductive. The printer’s ink; typically utilizing one or two colors, occasionally three; on the visually delicate handmade Japanese papers is extraordinarily seductive and satisfying.
*** A Special Preview of Jean De Botton’s paintings will be held on Thursday, March 5th from 6.00 – 9.00 p.m. R.S.V.P by March 2nd is required for this event.
April 23 - May 29
To be announced
September 18 - October 16
October 23 - November 20
December 8 - January 11