Thursday, November 4, 2010

Venus in the shade: Nu sous un parasol by Pierre Carrier Belleuse

 Nu sous un parasol (1890)

This striking picture was produced by the pastels specialist Pierre Carrier-Belleuse.  The son of the famous sculptor Albert Ernest Carrier-Belleuse he studied under Alexandre Cabanel and the decorator Galland at  l'Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

The ballerina (1899)

He made his debut in the Salon in 1875 but after 1885 worked exclusively in pastels.  He is most famous for his paintings of ballet dancers, portraits and a few nudes.

Femme En Deshabillee Verte (1899)

He was awarded a silver medal at the Exposition Universelle in 1889.  He died in 1932.

La Premiere Pose (1900)

This is a title popular with nineteenth century artists who wished to convey the idea of a shy model posing for the first time.  Compare with Howard Roberts' sculpture of the same name:


As a pasteliste himself Agent Triple P knows what a difficult medium it is to master.  Most people today use pastels like charcoal, producing the sort of impressionistic effects that Degas favoured.  The use of pastels to mimic an oil painting, which involves a lot of tricky blending on the paper, has largely fallen out of use but Belleuse was a master of this painterly effect.

Nu (1897)

Most of his paintings are, perhaps, a little too pretty to be great art but we would venture that Nu sous un parasol is a fine painting whatever the medium.

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