Gustave Bourgogne, Flowers and Dragonflies - Original mid-20th-century gouache


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

A charming gouache painting of colourful dragonflies and flowers, against a black background. On card mounted on cream card. The dragonflies (or are they butterflies?) are of an intense, single colour as would not be found in nature. The artist is interested in the decorative pattern that they form, invoking summer meadows, and their intense colour brought out by his signature technique of painting against black background.

Vertical tear in the upper left corner, along with a horizontal tear running the entire length of the upper edge, likely from a trimming knife. Thin strip of loose paper along the upper left edge as shown. Some paper loss to the upper right and lower left corners. Glue remnants verso, from being historically laid down.
16.2cm x 12.5cm.

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-709

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