It was only five years into the new twentieth century that witnessed the emergence of a group of painters who decided to exhibit their work next to each other in the 26th Salon d’Automne (October Salon Paris 1905). On the very first day, in one particular room of the annual exhibition, welcomed the respected art critic Louis Vaucelles .
His extensive published review included the room where this group of painters were hung along side each other together with a famous sculpture of Donatello which took center stage. In the critics opinion such a classical Work of Art had been placed among a rough bunch of new modern painting that surely must offend everyone as much as it did himself. His critical headline read: “a Donatello among the Wild Beasts.”
This description of ‘Wild Beasts’ for the creators of the paintings was adopted for the artists style of painting, almost as quick as another famous ‘movement’ that was baptised by another Louis (Leroy) who when he reviewed the first exhibition of that group of thirty painters and one hundred and sixty five works of art in Paris (1874) said that their Art
” were mere impressions.”
Impressionism and Fauvism These two well known styles forged the Art that even today, artists are fond to emulate, mostly with skill, yet with repetitiveness also, rather than perhaps walking on their own art path. It always seems like these ‘ism’s’ arrived from ‘no-where’ to a casual reader of art history. As if painters stumbled upon an idea, only to realise that other artists were doing the same thing, by coincidence. In most cases that’s not correct. Unlike today, painters of the past mixed freely in their studios and were quite open with their discussions about past, present and future work. They discussed ethics and artistic morality, sometimes these discussions being quite lively. Today of course it is rare for artists to venture into any form of art criticism, not only of each other, but even general comments on social media are conspicuous by there very absence. Critical comments are seen as ‘uncalled for’ and lacking the adherence to social etiquette. Artists, or more accurately their followers, are ‘offended’ quite easily these days, it seems. Which is a shame that is, as any critic of any work is useful for the progression of Art….
read the full article in issue number 18..publishing December 2020
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