BOUSSINGAULT Jean-Louis
His treatment becomes more and more heavy but without pigment thickness or violent colors which betray his virtuosity. His art sometimes achieves gracefulness from the strength of his drawing and from a full and serious style which is almost austere. He has also left some vast and powerful mural compositions.
French painter born in Paris in 1883; died there, 1943. He was the grandson of a famous scientist. He was a friend of Dunoyer de Segonzac, with whom he did military service in 1903, and whose studio he shared, and also of Luc-Albert Moreau at the Académie Julian. While still a young man, Boussingault, who first exhibited in 1909 at the Salon des Indépendants (Nude Woman in a Tall Hat), was commissioned by the couturier Paul Poiret to do a vast decoration crowded with Amazons, mannequins, swings and fabulous staircases. He was hailed as a new Constantin Guys. With a kind of suppressed humour and fundamental bluntness, this frequenter of race-courses and big bars, who had the bony features and colouring of an El Greco, took hold of the fragile present. Few pictures are as characteristic as his of the rhythms and the pleasures peculiar to the period of the Ballets Russes and Poiret and the years that followed the 1914-1918 war, in which he was wounded. In 1914, he takes a trip to Egypt. For Boussingault, the period after the war is one of uneasiness and searching. He runs away from all influences and seeks to express himself in compositions, figures, and still lifes which he exhibits from 1923 to 1927. He emerges enriched by this period of solitude, and his work attains its fullness between 1930 and 1940, fruitful years during which he paints nudes, flowers, portraits and above all still lifes. His faces, particularly in his lithographs and engravings, are essentially Parisian, like his landscapes ( The Champs- Élysées), where intertwined couples and statues which seem to be made of flesh stand out clearly against the curtains of the night. Death came to the painter in the middle of his evolution. His palette, dark at first, grew richer from day to day without losing the style that characterizes all his work. The still lifes and portraits, and the decorations that he executed, particularly for the Théâtre de Chaillot in 1937, show the same sensitivity and subtlety as his drawings, his water-colours, and his illustrations for Baudelaire Le Splees de Paris and Léon-Paul Fargue D'Après Paris. It is his etchings and lithographs that best demonstrate the brilliancy and sureness of his work, and make him one of the most original engravers of the twentieth century.
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