13 May 2023

Albert Gleizes: Lazy Afternoon

"It's a lazy afternoon

And the beetle bugs are zooming

And the tulip tress are blooming

And there's not  another human in view"

    - Jerome Moross & John La Touche, lyrics for "Lazy Afternoon," a song written for the 1954 musical The Golden Apple.

Everything in Man in a Hammock means something, so there's a lot to decipher. Like every Cubist worthy of the name, Albert Gleizes plays fast and loose with traditional linear perspective - and it works brilliantly. The mobile perspective mimics the back and forth of a swinging hammock. A strong series of diagonals anchor the man to the moving hammock while, at the same time, merging him with the landscape. His right foot rests on a typical Parisian park chair. The eye is drawn to a small still life near his right hand -  a table holds a spoon, some lemons, and a glass. As he holds a book in that hand by Gleizes's friend Alexandre Mercereau, this may be a portrait of his fellow artist; so, we can intuit the town in the  background as Cretail. .

Albert  Gleizes (1881-1953) always insisted that he was the founder of Cubism. Unlike Braques and Picasso who used subdued colors in their Cubist works, Gleizes preferred to work in bright colors. Gleizes was inspired by the paintings of Alexandre Mercereau who exhibited his paintings in Moscow and Prague. The two men would collaborate in founding a utopian community a Abbaye de Cretail, a suburb of Paris.

Image: Albert Gleizes - L'homme au hamac (Man in a Hammock) 1913, oil on canvas, 56 x 67.75 inches, Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo.


Hels said...

Thank you..I love "Man in a Hammock".

Braques and Picasso might have been founders of Cubism, but they didn’t have Gleizes’ abstraction, colour and idealism. And Gleizes was responsible for bringing Cubism to art fans with the first thesis "Du Cubisme".

Jane A Librizzi said...

Hels, me too. I have been fortunate enough to see it in person - and it is a large picture.