Gustave Bourgogne, Iseult in cornwall - Original mid-20th-century gouache


An original mid-20th-century gouache painting, Gustave Bourgogne Iseult in Cornwall.

A dramatic interpretation in gouache of one of the Arthurian romances, showing the arrival of Iseult on the coast of Cornwall. The artist evokes a visionary landscape of blue and pink billows, combining the non-naturalistic colour palette of the Fauves with a detailed depiction of Iseult’s ship. The story goes that the knight Sir Tristram, wounded in battle in Cornwall, had sent for his lover Iseult to heal his wounds, and asked that a white sail be flown from her ship if she was on board. Tristram’s jealous wife told him that the returning ship flew only a black sail, and he died of grief.

Signed lower right. Inscribed on the mount 'l’arrivé d’Yseult en Cornouailles.'
Backing card: Overall significant creasing, particularly on the right side, all four corners, and in the lower centre, likely due to the heavy weight of the painting. Abrasion to the paper surface to the lower right of the image, likely from a mounted image being removed. Image itself: Pinholes - two in the upper right and left corners, three in the lower left corner. Small area of paint loss to the lower centre edge. Majority of the image has come loose from the mounting paper - only upper left corner remains affixed. Glue remnants in all corners verso from being historically laid down.
27cm x 42.8cm.

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.

Text copyright © 2017 Somerset & Wood Fine Art Ltd. All rights reserved.

Product code: JG-724

Share this Product