The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

September 23, 2016

September 23, 1879

Charles Camoin (September 23 1879 to May 20, 1965) was a French painter, associated with the group called Fauvists.

One site gives us a sketch of his life:

A lifelong friend of Henri Matisse and Albert Marquet, each of whom Charles Camoin met while enrolled in the Beaux-Arts de Paris, the three artists were primary among those referred to as “Wild Beasts”, or “Fauvists”. Camoin himself was instrumental in the 1905 exhibit where art critic Louis Vauxcelles backhandedly anointed the artists with the title. Their Fauvist style committed colors to the primary importance, blending light and shadow equally, with their use of thick, direct brush strokes and outlined edges making for stark, strong two-dimensional paintings.

Camoin decided early on, in part through corresponding with his informal mentor, Paul Cezannes, that he would not push exaggerated boundaries, but keep to painting “truth in color”. After a childhood spend with his mother in Paris and the resorts of the Riveria, and a bleaker period of military service, in 1920 Camoin lived between Paris and Saint Tropez, immortalizing the latter as the port and city of amazing light and colors.

“I still consider myself a Fauve. There are two kinds of colors, real ones and superficial ones. You have to chose.” Camoin proved himself to be a wizened sort, and stayed away from the educational art revolutionaries of Dadaism and Cubism, and toned his heavy colors and outlined shapes and figures with realistic presence, to the delight of all.

One incident that gets repeated about his life: In 1914, before the war, there was

A special exhibition of sixty of his paintings held Druet Gallery in early 1914. But in June, Camoin destroyed much of the paintings - "He cuts them into pieces before throwing them out. They are recovered and quickly resold at
[a] flea market . Subsequently, these paintings reappear on the market and Camoin refuse to accept paternity.

Apparently a rag-picker found the pieces of canvas, and sold them. They were then collected by another artist who sold them as art. I can't get the picture: were the pieces put back together, or were the pieces used as a basis for another work. Guillaume Apollinaire said the discarded pieces were the most interesting of this painter, left "lying in his studio."

I like this one of his pictures: brave of him to want to capture an unusual pose for a species which has many quite graceful ones. And yet, this is drawn from life.

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