Friday, December 04, 2009
Artist of the Month; Jules Dupre
Art history is stuffed with forgotten masters, and Jules Dupre is one of them. This is probably because the market for paintings of cow filled pastures has diminished considerably since Dupre was alive, but if theres one thing that really got Dupre's juices flowing, then it was a cow laden meadow, especially if there was a woman in traditional clothes working nearby.
I like Dupre's paintings for three reasons. The first is frivilous; which it is because it tickles me to silliness to think of an artist standing there painting hard working, sweaty peasant women under the pretence of it being 'art', or even worse; 'social commentry'. Looks more like a fetish to me.
Dupre didn't just paint peasant women, though these do seem to make up the bulk of his work, he also painted rural landscapes and he did have good reasons for this subject. A student of Constable's work, he was an astute observor of the passage of light, which is perhaps the most difficult thing to capture in the medium of oil paint.
The third thing I like about Dupre's work is the attention to detail despite the transient nature of the subject matter. Regard the texture in the example below, or the movement of the grass being lifted in the first picture, and the way the woman compensates for the weight.