Gustave Bourgogne, Concerto Grosso - Original mid-20th-century gouache painting

An original mid-20th-century gouache painting, Gustave Bourgogne Concerto Grosso.

A vivid interpretation in gouache of a piece of music, Corelli's Concerto Grosso. This Baroque composer’s ‘great concert’ involved a full orchestra to create an overwhelming effect. This is one of many interpretations of music in this collection that include angelic-looking figures against a swirling, multi-coloured background, giving the painting an intense and visionary quality.

Signed lower right. Dated 1946. Inscribed on the mount 'Concerto Grosso, Corelli.'
Small creases to all four corners of the backing card. Mounting tape and loss to the paper surface along the upper edge verso. Image itself is in good condition.
11.7cm x 16.1cm.

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-717

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