BAUCHANT André
French painter born at Châteaurenault, Indre-etLoire, in 1873. This inspired market-gardener was like a figure out of Genesis, a veritable patriarch. He started to paint at the age of fortysix. Immediately he proved himself a prodigious portrayer of Biblical, mythological and even historical scenes. He had a certain Franciscan grace about him, and it was as a lover of flowers that he composed his hymn to Nature. His father was a gardener, and as soon as the boy was old enough to do so he helped his father with his work. In 1900 he married and came to Paris on his honeymoon to see the Universal Exposition. After the First World War he left his flower-beds and devoted himself to art. In 1921 he exhibited nine paintings at the Salon d'Automne. He attracted the notice of Le Corbusier, Ozenfant, Lipchitz and Diaghilev, for whom he painted the décor for Apollon Musagète. His career as a painter had begun. After trying a number of salons, Bauchant confined himself to the Salon d'Automne and that of the Surindépendants from 1929 on. In the winter of 1949 he had a big retrospective exhibition at the Galerie Charpentier, with 215 of his pictures on view.
With Bauchant our eyes seem to be present at the creation of the world. Everything vibrates in his painting: everything has the glittering purity of the first days of the world. It is wonderful to see how the painter arranges his colours on the canvas: dahlias, magnolias, narcissus spring up, the sea teems with fish, and all the birds of the air are in flight. There is abundance everywhere. Apples, pears and grapes fill the dishes, crowned by flowers. In his best work the paint is applied smooth and shining and not too thick, covering the white of the canvas without any preparation. His colours are sharp, and at the same time delicately shaded. Bauchant is more than an illustrator. He is an illuminator of life and vision who paints as a warbler sings in the hawthorn. It is good, it is tonic for us, in the midst of disputes about the spirit of form and the psychology of colours, to pause before this elderly child of grace. Here is a world glorified by a brush that revels in profusion. The sky is full of birds, the sea full of fish, and the slopes thick with trees and houses. Everything is fertile in these compositions that burst with harmonious and exciting discoveries. Here is all the joy of Nature, disturbed only by the flames and battles of history and legend.
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