Saturday, February 9, 2013
I just finished reading the book The Barbizon School and 19th Century French Landscape Painting by Jean Bouret (a local library book). The book contains illustrations of paintings and biographies of many not well known artists, at least to me. The most intriguing is Theodore Rousseau. Unfortunately he painted with bitumen based paints, which have darkened over time and reduced the appeal of some of his paintings. Nevertheless, he painted some remarkable landscapes, and lived a life dedicated to landscape painting.
The author ends the book with the following words: "A few years ago before he died, Andre Derain told me that of all the places where he had painted the one he missed most was the studio in the old house he had once rented at Chailly-en-Biere, a studio that gave directly onto the Plain of Barbizon, its ploughed lands, its stubble fields, its infinitely resigned sadness. 'There was nothing yet there was everything, as in a truly great painting,' he added. Perhaps that is the real lesson of Barbizon."
The overlapping of "nothing" and "everything" in relation to "fields" is what I like about this quote.