POUGNY Jean
French painter; born in 1894 in Finland, near Saint Petersburg. Contemporary painting, dominated by the great Cubist and Fauvist movements, has nevertheless made room for a few individualists, but on condition that they discover their own means. Thus, Pougny, who can be connected with no school, presents in example of a discreet art in which everything is brought back to personal feeling, a form of intuition that transforms every subject. Pougny's art is appealing and easy of access, and his canvases, all small in size, are as intimate and tender as melodies. Interior scenes and views of beaches assert themselves with moving precision at first sight; but when one looks for motifs or examines the execution in detail, they escape analysis and seem based on a secret technique which is difficult to define. The drawing is imprecise, line absent, the touches of colour shapeless, but the relations are so right, the juxtapositions so live that the subject falls together without the aid of logic or the laws of probability. It is an art that seems totally improvised, but that none the less never conveys a feeling of dispersion or carelessness. Pougny has sometimes been compared to Vuillard, but the comparison is justified only by his mat finish and the muted harmony of tones, discreetly blended with greys to set off the freshness of the modulations in yellow, green and red. There is no attempt to represent reality in this minute art but only to suggest the feeling left by the figure or the landscape. In fact, in recent years no painter has expressed atmosphere better than he, not the luminous atmosphere of the Impressionists but a sentimental atmosphere. The sincerity of this art and the simplicity of the means employed, allowed Pougny to discover very early the formula that suited him and achieve his perfection.
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