LHOTE André
French painter, sculptor, teacher, and theoretician; born in 1885 in Bordeaux, died in 1962. He exhibited in the Salon des Indépendants beginning in 1906 and the Salon d'Automne in 1907. With such surprising works as The Widow, he could not be disregarded. His early paintings were *Fauvist in spirit, but from 1911 he adopted *Cubist mannerisms in his varied range of subjects, including landscapes, still-lifes, interiors, mythological scenes, and portraits. He was fortunate enough to be appreciated at once by the critics and poets. Generally it is difficult to forgive a painter who writes or a writer who paints. Lhote is the exception, however. As an art critic -- he contributed to the Nouvelle Revue Française until 1940 -- and as a writer of such books as Treatise on Landscape, Treatise on the Figure, Writings on Art, Egyptian Painting in the Valley of Kings, Lhote has raised outstanding questions, analysed the aims of art and explained matters of technique which no writer before him had even dared to touch. He has exercised a lasting influence on the younger generation, not only by his writings but also by his example, by the teaching he has done in the school he founded in 1922, and by the advice he has never withheld from the young people who have asked him for it. André Lhote joined in the first Cubist activities without becoming lost in that movement. His cult of Cézanne, his admiration for Picasso, have not prevented him from expressing himself, from unequivocally becoming a painter devoted to analysis and construction.
A picture such as Rugby ( 1917) is a good example of his method and ideas: the geometrical transcription of figures or objects, the clear articulation of planes through contour and colour, subtle composition, emphasis on movement and intelligibility of style. Always searching for perfection, Lhote tries to put everything into his pictures: form, light, space, intelligence and sensibility, energy and stability. He attempts the absolute. And every one of his works seems like a demonstration rather than an outpouring. His is an integral, supple, reflective art which offers all the genres and all the themes. Lhote today is still as lucid, charming, active and keen as in his youth. He is indifferent to nothing connected with the art of forms -- surely the explanation of his influence on contemporary painting.
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