G&P 50 years Spotlight

Figurative Art

Life drawing is where it all begins for many artists. It is the truest form of figure painting and many formative years are spent honing skills of observation and learning how to depict the three dimensional shape and contours of the human body. I have long admired the ability of artists who can paint the human form and have been privileged to know many such artists and acquire work by some of my artistic heroes. The ability to paint or draw figures is the sign of a truly great artist and sadly these days such artists are very difficult to find.

In my father’s collection, I recall growing up alongside a Rembrandt etching depicting a wizened old man. I used to gaze, intrigued how stippled lines imperceptibly different in diameter, could create depth, shadow and convey such emotion. Only later I appreciated the true genius before me. In the gallery I came across some brilliant French artists, Meissonier, Vibert, Wolfle, and the likes of Brunery, often quite humbled by the brilliance of the works being offered to me. I was so lucky to meet Robert Van Cleef regularly in his studio in Paris, whose works on paper had soft lines and captured the elegance and poise of his models.

Paul Sieffert, was an outstanding figure painter who I have always collected when the opportunity arose. These days his works have become much more widely known and they are now held in numerous museums around the world. Dijon, namely Nîmes, Calais, Le Havre and Dinan. Public decorative works include official buildings in Pas-de-Calais and Basses-Pyrénées, Nantes, Saint-Quentin, the Brazilian Embassy and La Banque Anglo-Sud-Amérique.  As a student of the master painter Jean Léon Gérôme he experienced the best training an artist of his day and he went to exhibit widely at the Salon des Artistes Français where he received the Médaille de Troisieme Classe in 1899, the Premier Grand Prix de Rome in 1902, the Médaille de Deuxieme Classe in 1906 and the Prix J. Bertrand in 1923. To add to these many accolades he was made a member of the jury where he received the Legion d’Honnuer in 1933.

Pierre Grisot

Pierre Grisot was post-impressionist artist, born in 1911 in Paris. He was a student at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and exhibited frequently at the Paris salons where my father admired his work. He formed part of the ‘The Paris School,’ showing together with the contemporary artists Vlaminck, Raoul Dufy and Villon. He produced an engaging body of work that portrays a colourful and light hearted world of ballet dancers, coquettes and ladies of leisure. Grisot’s favoured theme is the sharply dressed, self-assured young women, who he portrays in bright colour with strong facial features. His scenes are playful and sensual, and invariably raise a question from the viewer about what happens next.

I do trust you enjoy the selection of remarkable paintings I have chosen to share with you, each a different and unique way of expressing the human form. Depictions of figurative art are a wonderful way of communicating human experiences that remain central to both spiritual and decorative art from antiquity to the present day.


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