Monday, 20 August 2012

Henri Bouchard (1875-1960)

This finely modelled French bronze medal (medaille) was created by the French artist, sculptor and medallist, Henri Bouchard (1875-1960) an extremely talented man who during the 1920's and 30's created some outstanding art deco sculpture only to be ostracised as a collaborator after WW11.

His life story begins in 1875 with his birth in Dijon, his father a carpenter. I can't find any information about his early childhood or what inspired his artistic talent. However, his artistic training began in Dijon where he attended the local Ecole D'Beaux Art and for a time trained as a stone mason. (my translation might be worng - try the source) However, his art education did lead him to Paris and the Academie Julian art school followed by time in the studio of Louis Ernest Barries (1841-1905) the French monumental sculptor.

Further study took him to the Ecole Nationale Superieure Des Beaux Arts, also in Paris and it was during this period that he was awarded the 1901 1st prize at the Grand Prix de Rome for his relief panel titled "Oedipe et Antigone Chasses De Thebes"(left). After this success his travels took him to Morocco, Tunisia and Greece, before returning to Paris and a return to the Academie Julian this time as a professor of sculptor rather than a mere student and all by the age of 35 !

It wasn't until after his return to Paris in 1907 that he developed his own style, moving away from the classical inspired subjects, such as his prize winning Oedipe ! His style develops through the 1910's to the Art Deco designs that I admire and that we see in his medal designs. Unfortunately, this development was interrupted by WW1, when he was called up to serve in the Camouflage section in a Infantry Regiment.

He developed his own version of the "moderne" style; such that his work was included in the 1925 L'Exposition Internationale Des Art Decoratifs et Industriels Moderne" the very exhibition that lends it's anglocised name to the whole genre - "ART DECO". His contribution included a bronze medal, several winged victory statues and friezes on the "Fontiane du Pavillon de la Manufacture de Serves" 

"Head of Victory" c1922

Bronze medaille - "Marseille Exposition Nationale Coloniale" 1922

Commemorative medal c1929

His creative zenith was in the period from 1922 until the beginning of WW11, creating several monumental works and many smaller more commercial items, such as the medal. Which I guess, was the cash crop to many sculptors,  which paid the living wage whilst they waited for or working on the larger commissions, that isn't to belittle these works, just commercial fact of life.

Then comes his downfall !! in the turmoil of World War Two and life in occupied Paris. He was invited along with a group of prominent artists by Joseph Goebbels for a grand tour of Nazi Germany. His comments praising the status of artists in Nazi Germany, wasn't well received by colleagues and the public, such that after liberation of Paris he was suspended from his professorship and branded a collaborator. A mistake, error of judgement, just saying what he saw or collaboration !!

He died in 1960, with his Paris home opening soon after in 1962 as a museum dedicated to his art. Sadly this closed in 2007, with the collection being donated to the City of Roubaix.

For a more visual story of his life and works, try (largely in French)

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Friday, 10 August 2012

more .... Edgar Holloway

I am always amazed at what can be found ......... or when you find it !!

Following on from my posting on Edgar Holloway and his flower prints .... what happens next ??

That's right I walk into an Antique Centre that I have been in 100's of time and there hanging on the wall in the middle of a wall of dog pictures is another Edgar Holloway ....... amazing. How does it work ? has a collection come onto the market and been spread around various dealers? Am I suddenly tuning in on them? Are they actually very common and every shop has one or two? Or is it just down to timing and luck ?? Answers on a postcard please - if not your comments will do.

........ and here it is

Untitled on the print, but the backing card is inscribed "January Morning". Perhaps not the correct title,as the trees and bushes appear to be in full leaf - or may be a southern hemisphere view !! ..... more to think on ? It is a simple but effect composition with 4 or 5 different blocks of colour - reminds me of Eric Hesketh Hubbard (who I like). The eye is led down the lane with a bit of curving perspective to the farm buildings beyond.

Not as technically or artistically excellent as his portrait etchings, but easy to understand and I would imagine an easier seller. We all lose sight of the fact that many of these prints were created "for a living profit" and designed to sell .... it all very clever to create a masterpiece portrait etching,  but if the sitter is an obscure cleric that no one wants hanging on their wall - the artist might starve to death before he sells one.

Then we have the story - attached to the backing was a letter dated 1944 (at least we have a "not after" date for creation) explaining that this was a gift of thanks for deeds done that were "beyond repayment and become everlasting creditors to love" This was wartime and it does not take too much imagination to think of events that evoke such emotions.

 Another point of interest is the double signature -

........ Edgar Holloway has signed it on the bottom right, a traditional position for the artist to sign their work, plus "W H Holloway imp" on the lower left. Of course the clue is "imp", Edgar is the artist and W H Holloway is the printer who was tasked with the hours of inking and printing. A team, like Hesketh Hubbard and Frank Whittingham or James Alphege Brewer and his brother Henry C Brewer or Cavendish and Concord Morton.

But who was W H Holloway ?? not either of his wives or his children - brother, sister, father or mother ??

Help please............

Monday, 6 August 2012

Edgar Holloway - Printmaker

Edgar Holloway (1914-2008) - artist printmaker - is name that is known to a few, but a very keen group connoisseur collectors who fight over his series of self portrait etchings when they come up for sale at auction; as a result some can achieve over £1500 on a good day (for the seller, but not the buyer?)

Edgar aged 18 and 80

The inspiration for these portraits was in his own words because;
"I spent a lot of time by myself, so it was a good way to practice"

.... and the practice paid off - these are a captivating series of images from the youthful talent to the aged master of his ar; the group reminds me of the self portraits by Rembrandt.

His work wasn't limited to etched portraits, he also created more traditional landscape and architectural compositions - the one below of Ardingly College, Sussex was one if his later creations dating to the 1970's. Sadly by this period, line etching had fallen out of demand and even today such images are only worth £20-30 - an inexpensive entry level if you wish to collect his work - surely price can only go up !

Eventually I get to the reason for this posting -- a few week ago whilst walking the lines of stalls at the Kempton Antiques Market and rapidly getting down hearted with my failure to spot any thing of interest, my friend Candy, nudges me in the ribs and points to a picture - a Seaby - great just the type I'm looking for. Only one problems, it already in the hands of another buyer. !!**!! just my luck - the only thing there and I miss it by a few seconds.

As we have all done in similar situations we pick up the nearest thing and pretend to be interested in it whilst hoping the other person loses interest in the item we really want. .......... and what do I pick up ??

This pair of indistinctly signed woodblock prints - a pleasing composition, but not a style that I immediately recognise - there is something familiar about the signature but I can't quite get it - just out of recollection, well it was 6.30am !!

I know who made the post that the Chrysanthemums are in - Cranston Pottery by the Pearl Pottery Company - see my earlier posting . The pot shown on the right is almost the identical vase - an interesting aside but that didn't take me nearer to identifying the artist.

Here is the signature - any guesses

Of course it's Edgar Holloway - why didn't I see that straight away ? Compare it to the signature on the Ardingly etching and you see that they are by the same hand and why I couldn't read it.

These are the only two woodblock prints I have seen by this artist, The Linosaurus feature a colourful version of the Chrysanthemums in an earlier posting, but no others ? I guess these are rare survivors. 

Sunday, 5 August 2012

La Monnaie De Paris - Postcards

"The Battles of Artois"

I was trawling through various "e" sales sites when a saw this postcard whilst searching for medals by the French artist Paul Marcel Dammann (1885-1939). This has led me to a search for more medal art related ephemera, especially postcards.

I'm not quite sure on the history of this postcard, but my best guess that it comes from a series published by the Paris Mint, either as advertising or simply as commemorative mementos. The booklet above suggests that profit raised is donated to the employees mutual insurance fund - perhaps these postcards were also sold to raise money for a charity ? The range of these cards seems be quite extensive with many other artists' works featured, both contemporary to the cards and historic.

Initially I will feature the medals of Dammann and with luck illustrate them with pictures of the appropriate medal.

"The Unknown Soldier"


"Iris" La TSF

As mentioned earlier, there are many other artists' whose works feature on the postcards - lots of opportunities for post  - remember to register as a follower - you would want to miss the new and exciting series !! would you ?