Inspired by: Eugène Carrière
France, 1849-1906 - Painter
Forward: For several years I ran a print journal called Unvæl where I featured inspiring artists from around the world, both living and deceased. I wholeheartedly enjoyed that project and I’ve decided to bring it back, in a slightly new form, to the land of Substack with once-in-a-while ‘Inspired by’ pieces and artist features. If you are reading this now, you were an original subscriber to the newsletter we had. Hopefully you’ll stick around and enjoy this new, but limited, version. :)
A brief backstory: Eugène Carrière was born in France in 1849 and was the eighth of nine children. In 1868 he visited the Louvre in Paris and (according to Wikipedia) resolved to become an artist. Carrière’s paintings are usually known for their near-monochrome palette and ethereal, dreamlike quality (a large reason I thoroughly enjoy his work). He was also a close friend of Auguste Rodin and his work, most likely, influenced Picasso's Blue Period, the only period of Picasso I truly enjoy.
Carrière occupies an important place in fin-de-siècle Symbolism, which developed in the visual arts from the mid-1880s. The quality of poetic, dreamlike reverie that pervades his work particularly appealed to Symbolist critics such as Charles Morice and Jean Dolent; the latter described Carrière’s art as reality having the magic of dreams. — from Wikipedia
Carrière’s desaturated tones and mesmerizing lack of sharpness clearly didn’t parallel the work of many of his colleagues. Likely considered an outsider, I’m sure he was told, many times, that if he “painted like more popular artists” he’d be more desirable and collectable. While time provides a buffer, today’s artists often forget we have so much in common with our counterparts from centuries ago. They went through the same subjectivity, critique, and judgements we still go through, especially those who didn’t follow the normalcies society encouraged. We can now look back on Carrière’s work and see it for what it truly was; boundary pushing.
Carrière occupies an important place in fin-de-siècle Symbolism, which developed in the visual arts from the mid-1880s. The quality of poetic, dreamlike reverie that pervades his work particularly appealed to Symbolist critics such as Charles Morice and Jean Dolent; the latter described Carrière’s art as reality having the magic of dreams. By employing a subdued palette, softening the focus and enveloping his figures in a thick, dark atmosphere, Carrière achieved a rarified sense of space, light and colour. His ethereal images have a quality of pervasive stillness. — from Wikipedia