In the eyes of Emmanuel Roucher: the transition from the XIXth to the XXth in painting

Real specialist, Emmanuel Roucher discusses with us the transition from the 19th to the 20th in painting. Vast subject, which deserves a whole thesis according to the enthusiast antique dealers, for which he is now working to give us subjects of reflection.


While we have just celebrated the centenary of Malevich's White on White (1918), it is interesting to take a look at this pivotal period between the polymorphic 19th century, of infinite richness, and the 20th century which will bring this very particular reflection on the relation of painting to reality.

At the end of the 19th century, the new Schools and trends such as Impressionism were interested in the disappearance of outlines which raised the question of the direct perception of the object.

Faced with photography and its hyper realistic rendering, painting runs up against limits. A performance that was sometimes breathless because of its academicism and oriented towards an art market dominated by the big bourgeois, whose taste was above all guided by belonging to a social class, leaving little room for innovation. Painters then find themselves faced with an abysmal problem… how to renew painting by experimenting with a new way and a new way of conceiving forms?

Through abstraction, the painting will make this tension visible between the appearance and the essence of objects. This progressive detachment from the worlds of objects will leave great freedom to the representation, even if it means accentuating deformations and ways of looking.

Obviously, the example of Cubism, where the painter will synthesize and simplify the object by representing it from different points of view at the same time on his canvas, jumps out at us with this problem in mind.

Scientific advances with the discovery of quanta reinforce painters in this radical and violent awareness of the impossibility of representing things as they are. No model, no representation is now possible to account for the complexity of reality.

From this world in constant movement and change, all we have to do is decide with force and provoke its interpretation which will have more force than a pale copy of a movement impossible to represent ... Non-objectivity as the only possible truth .

These experiments have revolutionized our way of seeing, of apprehending painting. Even today, we are the heirs.



Description of the works


photo 1:

Marcel-Lenoir (1872-1930), 2 women in a landscape, oil on canvas dated 1916



photo 2:

Jacques Henner (1829-1905), small sketch "Lamentation of the dead Christ by Mary Magdalene", oil on panel



photo 3:

Raoul Dufy (1877-1953), little sketch "à Amie Lilette" (friend and model of Othon Friesz with whom he lives at the beginning of the 20th century), oil on canvas cardboard circa 1905




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