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      Volume 10 |Issue 02 | January 14, 2011 |


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Intoxicated with French flavour

Fayza Haq

The French Artists' exhibition – with French Impressionists painters on focus – that opened on January 6, contained magnificent reproductions of old masters. These ranged from Van Gogh to Picasso.

Leonardo Da Vinci was added as an introduction to the fanfare. Salvador Dali was packed in, at the other end of the cavalcade, to lend further interest and importance.

This was at the gallery of Alliance Francaise that remains the most visited gallery in the city, as it is in the hub of the metropolis. The wave of visitors, despite the enveloping chill, was amazing that winter evening. There were no faux pas. Everything worked like clockwork, as regard to the lighting, timing etc.

People had gathered to see “Mona Lisa”; Van Gogh's image of a French café, with the startling use of yellow and blue; and Dali's impeccable Surrealism, with the dream like images, amalgamated with nightmare faces, with psychedelic forms. They went along with the romantic and idyllic images, created by Renoir, Gauguin, Matisse, Pissarro and Cezanne. Dream world and reality vied with one another to catch the eye of the viewer.

Reproduction of Salvador Dali's The Persistence of Memory.
Reproduction of Paul Klee's artwork.

These images appeared more moving than the photographs in books in libraries and the Google online, for the art buffs. Colours and lines that created the images were simply stunning. A visit was certainly worth the while, and not to be scoffed– merely because they were pictures of reproductions.

The magic of the artists' colours and brushes was amazing.

The genius of great stature, Leonardo Da Vinci, belonging to High Renaissance, was not just an artist. His scientific knowledge and achievement in engineering and architecture was unusual. He began many artistic methods. His play of light and shade made his portraits inimitable. His Mona Lisa is unforgettable and inimitable. As yet, no one knows who Mona Lisa originally was.

Pierre August Renoir, is today, the best known and most loved of the French Impressionist. Along with Monet, Cezanne, Pissarro, and Sisely, Renoir formed the Impressionists group. He excelled in portraying the bourgeois in relaxed, happy moods. His soft, sensual, caressing strokes, very often brought in nudes and landscapes as seen in the exhibit in the Alliance Francaise.

Reproduction of Pablo Picasso's artwork.

Camille Pissarro went to Paris in 1885 to paint landscape like Courbet. He was greatly influential. As he suffered eye problems he stopped working in the open in the later years of his life. Pissarro also went in for pointillism. His freshness and spontaneity was remarkable.

Henri Matisse studied primitive art. There is naïve beauty in his work. He experimented with forms and figures till the last days of his life. He aimed at “balance, purity and serenity”. They say that Matisse was the “revolutionary master of colour” while Picasso was referred as the “revolutionary master of form”.

Salvador Dali was the most famous of the Surrealists. He studied art at Madrid. His remarkable technique, with Freudian images and weird dreams searched the subconscious mind. He often used sexual images and many of them, were without bodies, as in dreams.

Pablo Picasso, famed for his “Guernica”, was the founder of Cubism, along with Braque. He often painted his wives and mistresses, and was not fully into Abstraction. His famous mural “Guernica” condemned Fascism in an unforgettable and inimitable way.

The exhibition called “Paintings of the Past”, arranged by Art Café, are on hand made canvas and done by artists, who specialise in reproductions. They are of actual size except for “Guernica”. They have been obtained from China and Thailand. The prices range from Tk 6,000 to Tk 16,000. The display was oraganised by four local architects: Saiduzzaman, Shamsul Arif, Tawfiqur Rahman and Mahmudul Islam. The aim of the display, says Saiduzz-aman, is “to share knowledge, concept and philosophy. We've seen posters and images in the internet. We wish to share our interest on European Masters with the viewers and enlarge the horizon of art students and art lovers. The development of the art movement is shown from Leonardo Da Vinci to Dali.”

Saiduzzaman adds, “It took two years to collect the paintings. We cover the basic cost of obtaining the art pieces, the shipping and framing. The vision of the 'Art Café Inc.' is to introduce global cultural movement to the young and to encourage aesthetic knowledge of modern art. The period ranges from the Renaissance to Impressionism (Cezanne) to Cubism (Picasso) and Surrealism (Dali).”



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