21 May 2023

Flowers Under a Tree: Paul Georges & Gustav Klimt

The American painter Paul Georges (1923-2002) studied with Fernand Leger in Paris from 1949 to 1952 While there he met his future wife Lisette Blumenfeld at the studio of Constantine Brancusi.

Before that, in 1947, he was one of a stellar class that studied with Hans Hoffmann at Provincetown. Jane Frielicher, Wolf Kahn, and Larry Rivers all became fast friends that summer.

Georges is better known for his allegories and self-portraits but I was taken with Calla Lilies by its echoes (deliberate or by chance) to a famous landscape by the Austrian Gustav Klimt. The composition is similar and so are the colors; here Georges has chosen more angular, spiky or, if you look aslant, abstract forms. 

Before that, in 1947, he was one of a stellar class that studied with Hans Hoffmann at Provincetown. That summer Jane Freilicher, Wolf Kahn, Larry Rivers, and Georges all became fast friends at the Cape Code summer school.

His paintings are in the collections of numerous major museums are color and sound the United States. Georges died at his home in Isigny-sur-Mer, Normandy. 

In Rose Bushes Under the Trees (1904-1905),  the focus is also on color and simplified forms, vibrant greens and flattened forms that mesmerize the viewer's eye with repeating decorative patterns. Klimt's brush work is fluid and circular, suggesting the invisible presence of a passing breeze. 

I like to think that Georges may have seen Klimt's painting, in reproduction if not in person.


1. Paul Georges - Calla Lilies, 1987-1989, oil on linen, Simon Lee Gallery, London.

2. Gustav Klimt - Rose Bushed Under the Trees, circa 1904-1905, oil on canvas, Musee d'Orsay, Paris.


Tania said...

What an interesting connection, Jane. Coincidence for me: I just received a ceramic flower, and it is exactly one of Paul Georges' flowers !

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Jane A Librizzi said...

Tania, life is full of coincidences, isn't it!

Jane A Librizzi said...

Hello, Bergen. I'm originally from Clifton!