Gustave Bourgogne, Black and White Roses - Original mid-20th-century gouache


An original mid-20th-century gouache painting, Gustave Bourgogne Black and White Roses.

A subtle gouache painting of roses, in white on a black background. Though he was clearly fascinated by colour, the artist here reverts to monochrome, creating an image that is almost like an x-ray. Some of the flowers in the background are blurred, as are the roses in their vase, contrasted with the more definite handling of the leaves. Taken together they create an intense, almost visionary effect.

Signed with a stamp on the mount.
Creasing to the upper right and lower left corners of the backing paper. A series of small tears running the length of the left side as shown, possibly from paper being historically cut with a blunt instrument. Areas of glue visible around all four corners as shown.  
11cm x 10.6cm.

This is one of a series of works from a large folio of paintings by Gustave Bourgogne, entitled ‘la Peinture Musicale.’

Gustave Bourgogne (1888-1968) was one of the leading figures in an artistic movement of the Twenties, Thirties and Forties, which tried to create a synthesis between the visual arts and the art of music. Bourgogne was one of the founders, in 1932, of the Association des Artistes Musicalistes. These ‘musicalists’ tried to recreate in paint the emotion that was evoked by a piece of music: to find an equivalent for sound in colour and pictorial form.

In Bourgogne’s case, the inspiration for this approach came in 1928, when he heard the bells of the cathedral at Malines in France. Through a particular form of synaesthesia, Bourgogne experienced these sounds also as colours, and would devote much of his career to the attempt to reproduce in his paintings the feelings that he had when listening to music. In Bourgogne’s words, both music and painting have the same ‘deep rhythm,’ which he sought to express.

Bourgogne specialised in landscapes and still lifes, but as his career progressed, so they became increasingly difficult to distinguish, in their great expressiveness, from his abstract and semi-abstract interpretations of great musical compositions. Frequently, the titles of these paintings cite the specific musical works that inspired them.

The joyfulness and exuberance of the works in our collection belie the fact that many of them were painted during the dark days of the Second World War.

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Product code: JG-716

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