Just as the season for languid, lazy moments has arrived in the Swiss Romandy comes a new exhibition at the Hermitage Foundation in Lausanne that captures the very essence of hot summer days and nights.
In Manguin: The voluptuousness of color we see some 100 works — paintings, sketches and watercolors — by the painter Henri Manguin (1874-1949) who indulged his passion for color so ardently the contemporary poet Apollinaire called him the “voluptuous painter”.
Expressing the simple joys of life
Now, I’m sure that Manguin didn’t specifically set out to depict a Swiss heat wave, but he’s evidently the perfect artist to conjure its effects, as his masterful use of color as a means of expression surpassed even that of his more famous contemporaries in the Fauvist movement.
They included Henri Matisse, Albert Marquet, Maurice de Vlaminch and André Derain, who along with Manguin were christened the “Fauves” – meaning “wild beasts” – at the Paris Autumn Salon of 1905.
Even if some of the settings and scenes depicted in Manguin’s paintings evoke stillness and serenity, the passionate colors express intensity and sensuality. Furthermore, his subjects: nudes, Mediterranean landscapes, domestic scenes, and still lifes, all expressed the joys of being alive.
Exulting in the beauty of nature
The first part of the Hermitage exhibition looks at Manguin’s early period, when his canvases were soon noted for the organisation of colour in their composition. The exhibit then moves on to Manguin’s Fauvist period, when he created works of art that brought the Mediterranean scenes at Saint-Tropez to vibrant life through their intense colours.
“His flamboyant works – mostly nudes and Arcadian landscapes – convey Manguin’s sense of exaltation at the natural paradise around him, which carried his art to its peak.” Hermitage Foundation.
The artist’s early use of watercolours was key to “liberating” colour in art at the dawn of the 20th century. Some watercolors are displayed, as are works from his later years, which he spent in Switzerland during World War II, that show the development of his artistry.
From Giverny to Lausanne
This exhibition is the fruit of a partnership with the Musée des impressionnismes Giverny, which hosted it from 14 July to 5 November 2017.
Now the art-loving public of the Swiss Romandy can enjoy the voluptuous color that Manguin used to illustrate heat-filled summer moments, such as we’re experiencing now, and decide for themselves if he manages to accurately depict them. ♣
Tip: Book a table on the terrace of the L’Esquisse restaurant for brunch…the eggs benedict or English breakfast, while not inexpensive, are a treat. Purchase your tickets in advance and walk right in to see the exhibition when you’re done.
Manguin, The Voluptuousness of Color
22 June to 28 October 2018
2, rte du Signal,
CH-1000 Lausanne 8
T. +41 (0)21 320 50 01
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Main photo caption: Henri Manguin, Sleeping child – Claude Manguin, 1912, oil on canvas, 81x100cm, Kunsthaus Zürich, legs Dr Hans Schuler, 1920, all rights reserved, ©2018, ProLitteris, Zurich.