Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dagnan-Bouveret's preliminary studies

Here's the compositional study for the finished painting called "Breton Women at a Pardon" (French: Les Bretonnes au Pardon) painted in 1887 oil on canvas by Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret (1852–1929).

The painting shows seven women in regional French costume waiting for a religious ceremony to begin. The compositional study helped work out the shapewelding of the women at right, whose white shapes are linked together into an interesting larger unit. He also tightened the clustering of the tree and the far figures in the distance, opening up negative space in the far hill.

But before he even got to the compositional sketch stage, Dagnan-Bouveret did a considerable amount of preliminary studies for this painting. In a previous post we looked at some of the photo reference that he used. He also painted studies of the model from life. At right is a photo of the artist in his greenhouse studio, with his wife posing in costume, as he appears to be working on a related painting called The Pardon in Brittany, which is at the Met.
Previously on GJ:


jeffkunze said...

Wow, it always impressed me when artists from the past would do amazing studies that in some instances looked like finished pieces. Reubens studies sometimes looked cooler to me than his final paintings. Not entirely sure why.

On a side note, shape welding is something that since having clearly defined in your imaginative realism book I've been able to see it lacking in certain pieces by other artists. They seem to over detail or paint every form and it makes the painting look less realistic and I don't think that is their purpose.

Just thought I'd mention that.
Good stuff!

MrCachet said...

I look at both and see the critical eye at work. Several changes caught my eye immediately - my eye was naturally drawn almost directly into the spire(s), ignoring the two gentlemen altogether.

Amazing to see the study and finish together, and analyze what he did to make it "work" the way it's supposed to.

Diana Moses Botkin said...

So interesting to see the two comparisons and the changes.

Wouldn't you just love to see both paintings fresh and new? That second one looks like it really could use a cleaning and fresh varnish.