MANGUIN Henri Charles
( 1874-1945) French painter; born in Paris; died at Saint-Tropez. Manguin's work can best be described as joyful painting: what it expresses is neither a burst of self-astonished happiness nor the exuberant joy of a moment or of a sequence of exceptional moments but a tranquil fulfilment conveying a feeling of duration. Bright but not violent tones, coloured harmonies without contrasts, everything blends in a serenity attained freely and effortlessly. In 1894 he became a student at the École des Beaux-Arts, where he made friends with Camoin, Marquet, and Matisse. Like them, he became one of the Fauves, exhibiting at the famous 1905 Salon d'Automne show that gave them their name. To Fauvism, in which he ranks just below the great leaders, Manguin brought a vividness free from anxiety. One has only to analyse the means employed to see that this state of mind is apparent in every technical detail: the drawing is firm, without ever being stiff or brutal, the straight line is virtually proscribed, and every theme is resolved into flowing arabesques. The angles of the volumes soften, the object is not sharply isolated, everything harmonizes and interconnects, and the colour suggests and outlines the forms, whose relief calls for another set of colours rather than any real shadow. Certain nudes or still lifes are related to those of Matisse, but with less austerity and severity. Manguin never gives the impression of a will bent upon reaching a difficult goal. His charm is largely due to in air of facility, which one soon realizes to be the result of a thorough craftsmanship that allows extreme flexibility. Manguin's great merit is that he did not attempt to exceed his limits. In a period when a young artist was easily tempted to try to outdo his fellows, he was able to preserve enough calm to keep to the work that suited him; in a region where Nature offered the appeal of extreme colour ( Manguin lived a great deal in the south of France), he could retain sufficient control to obey the dictates of his own taste. Thus his paintings still appear the harmonious result of the artist's expressing himself without reticence. Manguin belonged to the group of painters who, before the First World War, gave the Salon d'Automne in particular such a distinctive character, countering the austerity of Cubism with the vision of a joyously coloured world.
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