BRIANCHON Maurice
Brianchon's taste has made him a painter of femininities which he translates into refined colors. He was also a landscape painter, but especially of an urban nature.
French painter born at Fresnayc in the Sarthe in 1899, died in 1979. His parents owned a cider distillery. His vocation was precocious. Brianchon's career has followed a straight, unswerving course without any inconsistencies: pupil at the École des Arts Decoratifs in 1915, winner of the Prix Blumenthal in 1914, teacher at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts since 1937. There could hardly be place for daring adventures in such a life. Although he has not put forward any new theories, nor noisily associated himself with any of those elaborated in his youth, one cannot help feeling that he is complete master of himself and fully aware of what he wants to do. His work is not provocative, nor does it seek to surprise. Amidst the clamour and turbulence of the most vehement professions of faith, Brianchon plays soft music full of discreet harmonies, in which even discords lose their bite. Sometimes he carries this discretion to extremes, with a very reduced palette: a scene in grey and green only; a landscape in grey and white, with some red and yellow to give value to the complexity of the grey or green nuances. Sometimes he does not hesitate to offer more violent contrasts: resonant reds splashed against large black surfaces. But even there he knows how to avoid extreme violence, through his refinement and astonishing sense of balance. Theatre scenes, still lifes, portraits, compositions, form an ensemble varied in subject but with a common technique: mat painting that does not seek easy effects through the materials used or through flashy brushwork that catches the eve here and there. However, the materials and the brushwork do play an important part in Brianchon's art. No surface is completely flat or inert, no colour smooth. Everything vibrates. This art, which gives one the feeling of intimacy when a picture is hung in a room, can also adapt itself to large areas. The tapestries made from his sketches have the majesty of the great seventeenth-century wall-hangings. There, again, Brianchon is free of the fashions of our times which, in the revival of the art of tapestry, offer him a new imagery with vivid colouring, reduced to a very simple design. There is no doubt that to understand Brianchon's art well, one must bear in mind that he worked on theatre décors in his youth. Is that where he learnt the merits of mat painting? Brianchon's art is calm, but it is also without constraint: that calm is not one of indifference; there is a human quality in even the slightest of his works.
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