22 August 2023

Seongmin Ahn : An Artist Of The Diaspora

“In my paintings, by symbolic action and opening a drawer, two seemingly separate dimensions become integrated. It is a matter of how to find connection and openness.” -Seongmin Ahn

Like alchemy, chopsticks pull noodles out of the waves against a background of Taoist indeterminancy.

An immigrant, Ahn portrays the natural world, using Baroque ornamentation on familiar Asian  subject matter like the waves and mountains here in Aphrodisiac. Joining the two cultures, Ahn combines her artistic training in Korean black ink wash and color painting with Western influences from abstract art and conceptual art. In bold compositions and  areas of saturated color, her painting style also reflects the influence of  minhwa  Korean folk art that reached its greatest popularity during the 19th  century of the Chosŏn dynasty (1392–1910).

Ahn was born in South Korea where she studied art at Seoul National University. She now lives in New York City, .

Image: Seongmin Ahn - Aphrodisiac,2019, ink, pigment, and wash on mulberry paper, Courtesy of the artist's website.

11 August 2023

Andre Devambez: Crepuscule

Procession at Dusk  is a pastel by  French artist Andre Devambez.  A twilight procession of monks is observed from afar as they move towards the lighted windows of the monastery. This scene is both solemn and poetic. Its composition emphasizes the glow of candles in the distance, looking like fireflies, while the setting sun is mirrored by the tree trunks in the foreground.  They contrast with the bluish tones of the evening landscape, rendered in sfumato. The summery cast of the landscape suggests a date  near the Feast of the Assumption.  It is possible that its conception dates from the time Devambez was  resident in Italy.

This work sheds a new light on Devambez's early career.  Known for his bird's-eye views and steep perspectives that earned him the nickname "painter of the 6th floor." However this pastel testifies to his predilection for gathering scenes that are observed in a detached mannerThis work is therefore unique in his oeuvre. 

André Devambez was born in Paris and grew up in the world of Maison Devambez, the family engraving and publishing business founded by his father. Andre showed an early interest in drawing and soon enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He was awarded the Prix de Rome which allowed him to perfect hiscraft at the Villa Medici in Rome. On returning to Paris, Devambez his  bird's-eye views revealed his innovative framing. At the same time, he workedr as an illustrator for magazines such as Le Figaro illustré  and l'Illustration. In 1910, he was invited to create decorative panels for the new French Embassy in Vienna. A true jack-of-all-trades, painter, engraver and illustrator his work includes serious and light subjects.

Purchased last year from a private collector by the Musée d'Orsay, Procession at Dusk is a large pastel on canvas by  André Devambez (1867-1944). As one of the rare works from the beginning of the artist's career, this 1902 pastel  will be included in the exhibition 'Pastels. From Millet to Redon.'

Image: Andre Devambez - Procession at Twilight, 1902, pastel on canvas, Musee d'Orsay, Paris.