Gustave Bourgogne, Large Flowers - Original mid-20th-century gouache painting


An original mid-20th-century gouache painting, Gustave Bourgogne Large Flowers.

A striking gouache painting of red, white and yellow flowers, against a black background. This image demonstrates the sensuous effect of semi-transparent handling of foliage, creating almost a 3D effect. Unlike many of Boulogne’s other flower paintings, the plant itself in this picture seems quite naturalistic, not being reduced to a semi-abstract pattern. But again there is the use of a black background, bringing out the intensity of the colours, while the varying thicknesses of the paint create a very pleasing effect.

Pinholes in upper and lower left, and upper right corners of the painting. Additional pinholes in the upper right and left of the mounting card, just above the image. Upper left and lower right corners have come loose from the mounting card. Very small patch of paint loss in the upper left corner, and the upper right side edge, near the corner.
32.1cm x 24.1cm.

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-715

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