DUNOYER DE SEGONZAC André
French painter; born at Boussy-Saint-Antoine (Seine-et-Oise) July 16, 1884. From his father's side he belongs to an old Quercy family and from his mother's to the Franche-Comté. He spent the major part of this childhood at BoussySaint-Antoine and was a rather mediocre student at the Lycée Henri IV. Dunoyer de Segonzac seems to have been untouched by the intellectual, technical and emotional restlessness of his time. Refusing to yield to any external pressure, hostile to fashion and theories at the risk of appearing out of date, he thought only of serving those talents that he had already revealed in 1907, in his drawings of nudes and his landscapes. A friend of La Fresnaye, Boussingault, Jean Marchand, and LucAlbert Moreau, he reacted with them against the disintegration brought about by Impressionism and the excesses of the Fauves, by limiting himself to an austere palette dominated by ochres, earth colour, cadmiums and ultramarines. But the painter soon learnt that to use too many successive coats, meant risking the loss of one of the most powerful attractions of oil-painting: transparency. From 1919 on, his landscapes, his nudes and his still lifes are more relaxed. The lesson of Corot began to be added to that of Courbet. Making long stays at Saint-Tropez and in the Île-deFrance, Segonzac, whose cult of the great forces of Nature goes back to his childhood, fled from all dissonance and all that might disperse and compromise the over-all stability of a picture. He holds that all good painting needs, over and above the state of grace in which the artist ought to be, the quality of certain harmonies, and not contrasts and violence. One is struck by the unity of his work, whether it be his drawings, water-colours, oils or engravings: the same conception binds the masterpieces of his youth, such as The Drinkers ( 1910) or Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe ( 1913), to the etchings illustrating the Georgies ( 1947). Is it a belittling of Dunoyer de Segonzac to say that he is primarily a great draughtsman? Just as he identifies himself with his characters when he depicts boxing matches (Boxing), a nude, soldiers at the front ( Wooden Crosses), Grock or Isadora Duncan, he is that pear tree resisting the wind, that poplar pulsating in all its leaves. He is that field of tenacious vines, clinging to the slopes, that sun armed with rays, those ripples through which the sky and the water show their density. In his water-colours, as in his engravings, the more line dominates colour the more resonance colour has. Drama without emphasis, a quiet, deep vehemence, sometimes big scars, evoke the conflicts and varying moods of Nature. Drawing which keeps guard like a conscience forbids any slackness of form, any overflowing of colour. On his return from the 1914- 1918 war Segonzac, after a brief initiation by his friend Laboureur, began to draw as freely on copperplate as on a sheet of paper. Far from losing the joyous quality of his work in his engravings, the artist instinctively discovered his methods and the means of condensing his inspiration on a small surface, and even intensifying its powers. A catalogue of his engravings would today list over two thousand works. Several of them are in series, such as Le Morin ( 1923), Beaches ( 1935), From Joinville to Bougival ( 1936), and, together with his illustrations, constitute the most brilliant work on copperplate that has come from any painter since Pissarro.
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