Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

3.02.2010

Colors Can't Clash

[Patrick Henry Bruce Still Life (with Tapestry), Oil on canvas, 19.5 x 28 inches, circa 1912.]

[Interior of Patrick Henry Bruce's apartment-atelier, 6 rue de Furstenberg, Paris, circa 1917-1918, as seen in Patrick Henry Bruce: American Modernist by William C. Agee and Barbara Rose, 1979.]

The post about Instant Space project manager Max Humphrey's early influences is on the way.  When I asked different designers and artists to share childhood memories of color, several of them, including Max, mentioned a sort of epiphany when they realized that colors can't clash.

[Patrick Henry Bruce Composition VI, Oil on canvas, 64.25 x 51.25 inches, 1916. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.]

Since I'm reading Patrick Henry Bruce: American Modernist, I've been making connections between Max's words and many of the works in the book. Shown here are paintings from the artist's earlier periods before he embraced strictly geometric, Cubist still-lifes and color abstraction. The thing that is so interesting about Still Life (with Tapestry) of 1912, shown at top, is how we can see what appears to be the growing influence of Sonia and Robert Delaunay.  William C. Agee writes that, while inspiration clearly seems to be coming from Matisse and Cézanne, Bruce's colors are high-strung and less serene than Matisse's.

From Agee's essay:

Bruce turned this formal setting of French elegance into a dazzling mosaic of pure and merging colors that realized Cézanne's dictum that "when color is richest, form is most complete." A prototype can be found in Cézanne's "Vase of Flowers", circa 1900. However, the more immediate inspiration for the painting may have been Matisse's fusion of textiles and objects in his interiors and in his still lifes such as "Harmony in Red" of 1908-09, in which flowers, vessels and tapestry designs are interwoven in broad arabesques of equal color density. 

Yet such is the agitation of these colors that it is apparent that Bruce had moved away from Matisse's tranquil world of calm and restful surfaces.  Bruce had met Robert and Sonia Delaunay in the spring of 1912...

5 comments:

Karena said...

So interesting, isn't it. I realized that as well in Hassam's works. The color is astounding and he uses each and every one!

Karena
Art by Karena

Mary said...

I love the bold blocks of colors in that last painting.

balsamfir said...

Great post and wonderful paintings. A spring show. Thanks!

Patricia Torres said...

Your blog is amazing.. love the use of colours.. Such wonderful paintings... wow!

Style Court said...

Thank you Patricia!