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”.
Until 21st of May, the Fondation de l’Hermitage in Lausanne gives us a privileged look at the use of pastels across five centuries of art. Some 150 masterpieces from public and private collections in Switzerland — from early Renaissance masters to contemporary artists — give us a captivating look at this exceptional technique. Sometimes the word “pastel” when used in reference to the color of clothing, decor or makeup can conjure an image of the faded or wishy-washy for me. But seeing the effect of pastels in artworks, such as those now exhibiting in Pastels from 16th – 21st century at the Hermitage in Lausanne, I realize that pastel shades – even in the most subtle rendering — are anything but weak.
One of these days I’m really going to have to thank the directors of the Hermitage Foundation in Lausanne for scheduling their best exhibitions of impressionist art at moments of personal celebration in my life. Last year I had the pleasure of seeing Immersed in Color: Signac’s sublime art at the Hermitage on my birthday in March. This year, just in time for my wedding anniversary in April, they very thoughtfully opened Masterpieces of the Bührle Collection, which continues at the Foundation until 29 October. It seems that our mutual timing could not be better.
When it comes to art all you need say is “impressionist” for me to come running. Add an exhibition space in an elegant, 19th-century villa set in a wooded park with the French Alps as a distant backdrop and you’d best not get in my way as I come through. You might have guessed that I’m describing the exquisite exhibition underway at the Hermitage Foundation in Lausanne until 22 May of some 140 oil paintings, watercolors and drawings by master neo-impressionist painter Paul Signac (1863-1935). His works celebrate color, light, composition and technique in that unique and breathtaking way that make impressionist canvases (or neo-impressionists in this case) so cherished by art lovers. These works transform the everyday into something uplifting and otherworldly — “heavenly” may be a better way of saying it. In Signac, une vie au fil de l’eau nature and village scenes, sailing vessels, busy French ports and serene interpretations of Provencal life (before the tourist hordes descended) preoccupy Signac’s subject matter; his love of the sea and sailing, a personal passion, is evident throughout. One room is devoted to introducing visitors to the colour theories of the neo-impressionists, featuring paintings by …