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1 T RUE COLORS : A NARCHISM AND F LIX F N GEORGES SEURAT AND NEO IMPRESSIONISM By DAVID M. WHITEHEAD A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012
2 2012 David M. Whitehead
3 To my mother: Doris Whitehead
4 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank my committee co chairs Dr. Melissa Hyde and Dr. Joyce Tsai and committee member Dr. Sheryl Kroen for the guidance, critiques and encouragement that greatly contributed to producing this thesis. Thei r strident support of my current efforts and their belief in my potential as a professional scholar has bolstered my confidence throughout the research process. I would like to thank my family and friends for supporting my educational endeavors.
5 T ABLE O F CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ................................ ................................ ............................... 4 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 6 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 8 2 PORTRAIT OF AN ANARCHIST ................................ ................................ ............ 13 3 CRITICAL CHOICES ................................ ................................ .............................. 21 4 QUESTIONING THE CRITIC ................................ ................................ ................. 34 5 FRIENDS BECOME FOES ................................ ................................ .................... 45 6 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 59 APPENDIX A LIST OF ART WORKS CITED ................................ ................................ ............... 61 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 63 BIOGRAPHICAL S KETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 67
6 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts T RUE COLORS : A NARCHISM AND F LIX F N ON GEORGES SEURAT AND NEO IMPRESSIONISM By David M. Whitehead May 2012 Chair: Melissa Lee Hyde Cochair: Joyce Tsai Major: Art History This thesis examines the personal and political relationships between critic Flix Fnon and anarchist artists in the late 19 th century. Fnon commitment to anarcho communism influenced his criticism, most notably in his treat ment of Georges Seurat, the leader of artists that Fnon called Neo Impressionists. When Seurat was in Fnon not join fe llow Neo Impressionists in supporting a radical cause, F n on did not review His writings constructed personas for the Neo Impressionists and made their precise application of color comprehensible to th e viewing public. Fnon subject matter even though many paintings that received positive reviews depicted themes sympathet ic to his own socio political beliefs Fnon was was the spokesman, theoretician and chroni cler of the Neo Impressionists. He established his credibility among the group for being the first criti c to
7 publically support Divisionist technique that replaced brushstrokes and lines figure employed as a government clerk for 13 years while participating in violent anarchist activities against Third Republic France. Lead ing Neo Impressionists Paul Signac, Maximillen Luce, Seurat and their critic, Fnon were bound together in the post Paris Commune generation. Along with establishing connections between Fnon oup, including longtime Impressionist Camille Pissarro, with shared artistic and political concerns shaped by the events of 1871. To better understand the origins of Neo Impressionism, this thesis provides overviews of the major branches of French anarch ist thought and the Symbolist literary movement. Fnon was a power behind the scenes in Parisian literary and art circles, editing and writing in the independent literary journals that proliferated after press restrictions were relaxed.
8 CHAPTE R 1 INTRODUCTION Anyone can err, especially a critic. But to express without frivolity or insincerity w hat one feels I admire that! F lix F n on 1 F lix F n on was an editor and literary critic whose reviews were published in journals that promoted Symbolist writers in fin de si cle France. Coupled with his enthusiasm for literary experimentation, F n on also kept pace with new developments in painting and began writing sporadically about art in 1883. He did not consider himself to be a bona fide art critic until he began writing about a new group of painters he called Neo Impressionists. F n on and these second generation Impressionists crossed paths in 1886 at artists reinvigorating or redefining Impressionism was denied as their paintings were hung together in a back room conspicuously separated from the rest. Here an enormous painting by one of the newer Impressionists, Georges Seurat, depicts Parisians of differing social and economic classes gathered on a public recreation spot under the bright afternoon sun. Impressionist subject matter included leisure and public spaces in daylight, but Seurat and his relegated colleagues used painting methods that undermined Impressionism. 1 Joan Ungersma Halperin. Flix Fnon: Aesthete & Anarchist in Fin de Sicle Paris. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale UP, 1988),17. Most of the biographical information I will use in this thesis comes from past twenty five years. Halperin also edited Oeuvres plus que compl tes, ois Cachin, published a F n on biography Au del in 1966.
9 Un dimanche aprs Jatt e (figure A 1) is covered with colored dots and marks composed of raw pigment directly applied without preliminary blending on the palette. This painting lacks the expressive brushstrokes that created the representation of spontaneity or sketchiness characterizing Impressionism. Seurat has instead painted static, detached, emotionally restrained figures composed in basic geometric shapes. Artists Edgar Degas, representing a Realist branch of Impressionism, and Camille Pissarro, who backed n o n avoided any disputes when he quietly stood before La Grande Jatte soaking up every detail. Neo Impressionist works by Seurat, Pissarro, Paul Signac and other like minded artists have since moved from the back room to permanent display in major museums. La Grande Jatte is Sunday in the Park with George F n on never took a brush to canvas but his writings established Neo Impressionism in the modernist canon. He was the first critic to recognize these new artists, gave their group a name, and produced reviews, monographs, theoretical writings, and catalogues tha t defined this style and secured its permanent place in art history. F n on was an active participant in establishing Neo Impressionism, often collaborating with Seurat, Signac and Pissarro and maintaining close friendships with these artists. These relati onships were based on a shared commitment in anarchism. F n on was directly involved in anarchist activities that emerged in the wake of the failed Paris Commune.
10 F n on never overstepped into the frivolity that he disliked. His writing packs perceptive o bservations and challenging ideas within reviews that avoid dramatic of color and light on objects, barely mentioning subject matter nor attempting to structure a narrative in the picture. Neo Impressionists often painted dilapidated industrial sites, slag heaps, poor living conditions, and class issues that concerned F n on and other anarchists. 2 These subjects could have been investigated but F n s drew attention away from controversy. In his reviews, objects in a picture were described with the tone of a catalog entry. For La Grande Jatte stirring wit 3 This thesis is an intellectual biography that examines F n investigating his politics and his relationships with other artists. It is common knowledge that ma ny of the artists championed by F n on shared his anarchist views. However, n on evaluated their art. His opinions favored those artists sympathetic toward anarchism and his approv al shifted to disapproval if he believed an artist strayed from the cause. commitment to radical politics. F n on abandons Seurat for the firebrand anarchist 2 Neo Impressionism and the Anarchist I mage of the The Art Bulletin Impressionists frequently gave visual form to key themes and concerns of the anarchist movement, from satirical loo ks at 3 uvante
11 Signac. T Dubois Pillet, frequently joined him at anarchist meetings. Fnon published in anarchist paintings and s culptures, Fnon wrote negative reviews after accusing the artist of profiting off bourgeois exoticism. Acting as neo Fnon had tremendous influence over how these artists and their art would be perceived The Neo Impressionism and the Search for Solid Ground: Art, Science and Anarchism in Fin de Si cle France. H utton argued that art historians have not fully confronted the anarchism of Neo Imp ressionist artists and that cultural historians had generally treated political beliefs peripherally. 4 F n an minence grise political commentaries that were unsigned or under fictitious names. Fnon was a puzzling, contradictory figure who constructed dual identities: for more than a decade he was both a cle produce propaganda outside of easel painting that workers could easily understand. estine activities demonstrate his radical bent. He was arrested for hiding 4 John G. Hutton. Neo Impressionism and the Search for Solid Ground: Art, Science and Anarchism in Fin de Sicle France. Baton Rouge, La.: Louisiana State University history has all too frequently distorted or even ignored such matters. Even when it has addressed the topics, it has tended to deal with the anarchism of the Neo Impressionists rather elliptically. For many historians o f art and culture, the political beliefs and affiliations of the Neos are at most peripheral, if not m erely a curio sity.
12 bomb detonators (in the Ministry of Defense) and was a defendant in the Trial of Thirty, a mass roundup of anarchists that the Third Republic hoped would extinguish radical socio po litical activities. At his arraignment his mother placed a print of an allegorical figure commemorating the Commune atop their trial dossier 5 (figure A 2). Fnon was detonate d a bomb that destroyed the Restaurant Foyot. No one was killed although one man, ironically the anarchist poet Laurent Tailhade, lost an eye in the explosion. 6 5 Albert Boime. Art and the French Commune: Imagining Paris after War and Revolution (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 1995), 168. F non was arrested on April 25, 1894 in connection with the bombing of a restaurant. He was acquitted on Aug. 12, 1894. Jurors voted six against six in his case, but French law allowed the tie to benefit the defendant. 6 Halperin, 3. The restaurant was bom bed on April 4, 1894. According to Halperin, Fnon told the wife of 8), 43. When a bomb
13 CHAPTER 2 PORTRAIT OF AN ANARC HIST Fnon was born Louis F lix Jules Alexandre Elie Fnon o n June 29, 1861 in Turin to a French father, Jules, and a Swiss mother, Marie Louise (n e Jacquin). Jules Fnon was a traveling salesman from Burgundy seeking business opportunities in Turin and Marie Louise Fnon had come from the border town Saint Maur ice to gain Burgundy where Fnons had lived since the seventeenth century. F grandfather had been mayor of a local village and a doctor, but the Fnon family hi story consists of unexceptional merchants, ribbon manufacturers and civil servants. 7 Calling himself homme de letters keeping at the Bank of France, making so little money that he had to work past retirement age. Marie L ouise supplemented the family income by working in the post office eventually rising to superintendent. Burgundy was predominantly a bucolic region producing talk. Rela tions between father and son became strained when F lix embraced radical She came from a region that had resisted assimilation by Switzerland, the Italian Piedmont and F rance. 8 when he was turning ten, as he took the side of the Communards far away in Paris. The ent 7 Halperin, 21. Baptismal name recorded in Italian in the parish of San Massimo, register 325. Oct. 13, 1861. Jules Fnon (1824 94). Marie Louise Fnon (ne Jacquin) (1836 1906). 8
14 was put down. He was also shaken when the regular French Army (supplemented with freed prisoners of war) massacred 25,000 35,000 men, women and children in Paris during La Semaine Sanglante 9 Always identifying himself with workers and the downtrodden, at 12 he organized school mates into a society pledging to die for the anarchist communist cause. 10 His mother saved up money hoping to enroll her exceptionally bright son into a private lyc e then an uncle offered to pay tuition at the Ecole Normale Sp ciale at Fnon attended a p ublic school in M con closer to his family in Lugny. He won more academic prizes and, most importantly, earned the difficult baccalaurat (only half the candidates passed) required for university admission. Despite his academic success, Fnon did not wish to continue his education. 11 He was briefly an apprentice reporter against family expectations that he would attend university then follow a respectable career. 12 His anti institutional attitudes took root at the conservative school that housed an all male a Corpus Christi parade because it was a religious event, the headmaster disbanded the band. Fnon never forgot this injustice; in one of his early articles he claimed the 9 Ibid, 26. 10 Ibid, 28. 11 Ibid, 22 23. 12 Ibid, 29.
15 pr 13 Young men of all classes entered compulsory military service lasting five years. Fnon joined in 1880 taking advantage of the one year term, the volon tariat available to those able to pay 1,500 francs and pass an examination. During his undistinguished stint in the infantry Fnon placed first in the qualifying examination for a War Office post then was hired as a junior clerk in 1881 (he would work th ere for 13 years). Fnon quickly mastered bureaucratic jargon, writing with accuracy and speed despite having difficulty keeping office hours. 14 F n on often skipped lunch to visit art shows such as the 1881 and 1882 Impressionist exhibitions. 15 Having escaped provincial villages, Fnon transformed himself into a cosmopolitan dandy (figure A 3). An urbane persona that Signac later captured in a por trait was instantly identifiable, almost as much as his writing. Fnon kept his short cropped military haircut but shaved off his light colored beard and mustache leaving only a blond goatee hanging under his chin. Fnon bathed regularly, used pumice sto ne on his elbows and knees, and his smooth skin smelled of cuir de Russie perfume. 16 Always elegant without being ostentatious, the tall, thin Fnon often wore a silk top hat, puce colored suit, dark red gloves, patent leather shoes, a long coat or cape an d carried a cane. 17 13 Revue ind pendante June 1884. 14 Ibid 31. The reactionary Gen. Georges Boulanger whom F n on hated wrote in the margin of one of F n 15 Ibid, 31. 16 Ibid, 31. 17 Ibid, 16.
16 stratification in French society. As Halperin has noted, Fnon performed the individual right to construct a self identity; his dandy appearance constitutes an expression of anarchism. 18 His choice to wear expensive clothes is another of his paradoxes class sympathies. The nouveau sophisticate drank up Paris; not only the gas lighted thoroughfares, galleries, opera houses, and caf s, but the simple bistros where he dined with proletarians. He would wander the city in the wee hours, watching the unloading of farm wagons or learning street slang by diving 19 Observers found him enigmatic calling him La p re Laconique and Celui qu i silence 20 He would consult books or dictionaries as he engaged in conversation speaking slowly and sparingly seeking exactness. Henri de Toulouse Lautrec called him Mephistopheles. F Breton, 21 expressed scorn at conventio n. When asked about obscene drawings in public toilets, 22 He enjoyed reciting Symbolist poet Arthur 18 Ibid, 16.. 19 Ibid, 33. 20 Ibid, 7. 21 Idid, 11. 22 Ibid, 8.
17 Voyelles in a n exaggerated manner. 23 Seeing Fnon hold court at 24 forms of beauty. Poet Emile V 25 Longtime friend Solange Lema 26 Anarchism and his Generation: Those who wer e children during the Paris Commune lost their tender years quicker than most in an era of mass chaos, violence, traumatized generation to unleash repressed energies. This generat ion collectively felt a calling to thrust a killing stroke aimed at the hearts of all institutions. 27 For example, 23 de Chavannes; in poetry, Paul Verlaine, Mallarm, Raymbaud (sic), the author of that famous sonnet Voyelles, which good hearted Fnon us 24 te F lix F n 25 Ibid, 14. 26 mystificateur. Later, the people h e gulled really understood, and he never treated us that way. He had believed in beauty: beauty in art, in literature, and moral beauty. The ugliness, th e pettiness of man 27 repression as a childhood trauma and their attempt to achieve a more monumental expression of modernity represents not only a cyclical or aesthetic response but a social and political riposte growing out of radical energies stimulated by its h inte
18 as La Semaine Sanglante raged. Upon his return young Seurat discovered the neighboring park, Buttes Chaumont, was stripped for firewood and the bodies of executed Communards lay in an open ditch. 28 Marxists appeared among the cr work efficiency, individual. 29 Post Commune Paris attracted many revolutionaries; a police report stated the 1,000 sympathizers in a variety of ever changing groups. 30 The incendiary anarchist press defendants in the Proc s des Trente 31 An Italian anarchist fatally stabbed French president Sadi Carnot in 1894 and bombings of governmental and public places escalated. Police spies reported the anarchist Jacques Prolo proclaiming that a successful anarchist revolut ion required ten to twenty years of violence and two to three million deaths. 32 28 Ibid, 171. 29 Alexander Varias Paris and the Anarchists: Aesthetes and Subversives during the Fin de Sicle. ( New ), 5. 30 Ibid, 18. Aug. 20 1887 police report. 31 Hutton, 50. The editors were Emile Pouget of Le P re Peinard, Jean Grave of La R volte and Sebastian Faure of Le Libertaire All were acquitted. 32 Varias, 84.
19 The anarchism that developed after the Commune was dedicated to overthrowing the Third Republic and replacing it with a decentralized order that abolished private property and wiped away class distinctions. Two factions of anarchism emerged; the Impressionism, Rob yn S. Roslak determined that Neo Impressionists belonged to the latter camp and practiced anarcho communism formulated by Russian exile Peter Kropotkin, Jean Grave, editor of Les Temps nouveaux and the Belgian geographer Elis e Reclus. What separated anar cho 33 unskilled or homeless that K arl Marx dismissively called lumpenproletariat was incompatible with mainstream Marxism Neo Impressionists formed their own Society of Independent Artists in 1884 that was founded on anarchist principles. They did not have an exhibition jury, each artis t paid the same fee, and money from sold paintings was redistributed equally among members. 34 Fnon and symbolist writers Gustave Kahn and Paul Adam were also depictions of the bourgeoisie were antithetical to radical politics, the longtime anarchist 35 33 Robyn S. Roslak. The Art Bulletin (Vol. 73, No. 3, Sept. 1991). 383. 34 Debora L. Silverman, Art Nouveau in Fin De Si cle France (Berkeley: California UP, 1989) 212. 35 Roslak, 173.
20 Anarchists saw artists just like proletarian workers; victims of the conditions created by capitalist market economies. Following propaganda by word Kropotkin called on all artists of all political ideologies to stand with the working class. Kropotkin issued 36 Kropotkin and Grave were not demanding that artists create blatant pro anarchist propaganda, on the contrary they believed in artists needed autonomy to challenge conventions, thereby aiding social change without necessarily producing overtly political content. 37 Sev eral Neo publications and donated paintings to be sold in lotteries that raised money for his newspapers and pamphlets. By the 1890s many Neo Impressionists had been influenced by Symbolist writers to exp eriment with form independent of content. Just as Symbolist poetry employed the musical qualities of vowel sounds, Neo Impressionists like Signac exploited variations in 38 The radicalized generation that supported Neo Impressionists would later be dissatisfied when these artists painted fewer scenes of urban industrial life. 36 Stephen Art Inst itute of Chicago Museum Studies (Vol. 14, La R volt 37 Rosl ak ighly individual creation, perhaps the unbounded creativity of the free individual 38 Silverman, 213.
21 CHAPTER 3 CRITICAL CHOICES Fnon began writing art criticism in his own magazine Libre revue in 1883. Art criticism seemed a natural fit since his literary reviews often contained painterly 39 In reviewing French trans lations of Crime and Punishment and The Insulted and the Injured Fnon because the oblique Dostoyevsky is watching them from an angle that alters their 40 Fnon covered the 1883 Salon in his first art review. Surprisingly, he praised the academic painter Jean Andromeda and re constructed the well 41 In this same review, Fnon lambasted the organizers for the dearth of Impressionist works and allowing too many 42 Foreshadowing his treatment of Seurat, Fnon d efended Puvis de Chavannes, an artist that did not fit into convenient categories. Puvis painted large easel paintings and wall decorations of landscapes populated with classicized nude or draped figures in emotionally restrained poses. These works had a l imited, muted palette lacking a 39 Halperin, 37. Contes de Minuit in Libre revue, Feb. 16, 1883. 40 Ibid, 191. 41 d, shivering from the salty vapors 42 Ibid, 39.
22 idealized world. 43 than easel painting. 44 Three years later Fnon claimed La Grande Jatte figures Le Bois Sacr Cher aux Arts et aux M uses (A 4) 45 and he called Seurat 46 The visual charac attention emerged in his report on the first douard Manet retrospective in 1884. 47 This later dominate his N eo Impressionist writings. Fnon attended one man shows for Pissarro, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley but remained silent about Impressionists until 1886 because he believed these artists already had established critics defending them. F non still rated himself an amateur. 48 criticism of 18 th century Salons. Diderot was one of the leading philosophes or public 43 Marie 44 discordant in an easel painting, harmonize perfectly with the 45 Jennifer L. Shaw. Dream States: Puvis de Chavannes, Modernism, and the Fantasy of France. New Grand Jatte 46 F lix F n Art in Theory 1815 19 00: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, ed. Charles Harrison, Paul Wood, Jason Gaiger (Oxford, England : Blackwell Publishers, 2001 ), 966. Originally published in La Vogue June 13 20, 1886. 47 Halperin. Flix Fnon and the Language of Art Criticism, 18. Libre revue Jan. 16, 1884. 48 Halperin, Flix Fnon: Aesthete and Anarchist in Fin de Sicle Paris, 42.
23 intellectuals during the Enlightenment who wrote li terature, plays, philosophy, criticism, and compiled the Encyclopedi comprehensive Salon reviews from 1759 to 1781 that combined thorough descriptions aise or insults. As Mark Correspondence Litt raire for a small group of aristocratic subscribers and the magazine was not allowed to circulate in Paris. Since his readership could not bring his r eviews to the Salon, Diderot relied on his ekphrasi tic prose to bring painting into view for his readers. 49 It seems fitting that Fnon, a man who embraced paradox, would admire the fellow litt r ature Of Diderot, Fnon 50 in versatile writer able to anal described Jean Baptiste blurs, goes flat and disappears. From a distance, everything comes back to life and 51 49 Key Writers on Art: From Antiquity to the Nineteenth Century. Ed. Chris Murray (Lo ndon: Routledge, 2003), 122. 50 51 Art in Theory 1648 1815: An Anthology of Changing Ideas ed. Charles Harrison, Paul Wood, Jason Gaiger. (Oxford, England: Blac kwell Publishers Ltd., 2000), 604.
24 del 52 In that same spirit, Fnon advised his readers to discover themselves among the masterpieces at the Louvre. 53 Nineteenth luminosity with vivid color in unified spectrum like a prism then harmoniously combine luminosity with color. 54 Th challenged viewers to reject academic arti ficiality. 55 Symbolist Jules Laforgue praised 56 This generation of critics embraced the modernity ex pressed in Realist writer Painter of Modern Life although self interest might have shaped their published opinions. Geoffroy, Ernest Chesneau and Roger Marx were among 52 Journal of Aesthetic Education (Vol. 53 Joan Ungersma Halperin. Flix Fnon and the Language of Art Criticism ( Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press, 1980 ), 94 Halperin calls Fnon couvir soi m me, devant telle tolle illustre, la partie que la peintre a trait e avec amour, le point sexuel de son chef 54 Edmond Duranty Ruel Impressionism and Post Impressionism 1874 1904: Sources and Documents ed. Linda Nochl in ( Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1966 ), 4. Duranty was Edg 55 Art in Theory 1815 1900: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, ed. Charles Harrison, Paul Wood, Jason Gaiger (Oxford, England : Blackwell Publishers, 2001 ), 890. 56 Jules Laforgue. Impressionism and Post Impressionism 1874 1904: Sources and Documents, ed. Linda Nochlin ( Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1966 ),17
25 critics who used their influence over a substantial readership to g ain careers in government or private arts administration. 57 Commune generation could be career litt rateurs with partisan journals and reviews becoming cheaper to produce and easier to publish. No l onger needing to gain a mass audience or lay the groundwork for gaining a steady job, these critics crafted their own identity and were attracted to art from those artists working outside academic conventions. These conditions were crucial in producing Neo Impressionism. 58 This proliferation of government job, he became an editor reviewer for several Symbolist publications. Arthur Rimbaud, Laforgue and Paul Verlaine were leadi ng Symbolists reacting against Realists like mile Zola and Gustave Flaubert that they associated with the Second Empire. The Franco Greek poet Jean Moras wrote the Symbolist Manifesto in 1886 but Symbolists tended to disagree on precise interpretations o f defintions. St Symbolist writing. 59 This style appealed to Fnon knowing his contradictory lifestyle and love of irony. Edgar Allen Poe and Goethe were popular among Symbolists. Responding to a tongue in cheek call for a Symbolist glossary, Fnon collaborated with Mor as, Kahn and Adam to compile this glossary that was subsequently attacked 57 Martha Ward. Neo Impressionism and the Spaces of the Avant Garde. Chicago: Chicago UP, 1996. 50. 58 Ibid, 51. 59 Symbolism, Decadence and the Fin de Si cle. ed. Patrick McGuiness (Exeter, England: Exeter UP, 2000), 2.
26 for corruptin g the French language. 60 Some Symbolists toyed with dissolution in the pessimistic yet liberating concept La dcadence. 61 The D cadence movement was often interchangeably identified with Symbolism and to make matters more confusing Symbolists were accused of being decadent. Baudelaire was a precursor to the fantasies, hallucinations manifested in dreams or nightmares in the subconscious. 62 Fnon also edited and wrote anonymous entries in the Petit Bottin des letters et des arts a symbolist journal of criticism that folded in 1886. In this journal Fnon wrote a complimentary entry on Degas in a compact, clipped style composed of fleeting a flower, a chignon, ballerinas convoluted in the flurry of the tutu; the nose of a tippler; race horses and jockeys turning on the green Unerring 63 Fnon intermittently wrote art criticism until the first Society of Independent 64 rejected by the Salon. In this show Seurat opened the transition from Impressionism to Neo Impressionism with Une Baignade, Asn i res 60 McGuiness, 5 6. The Petit Glossaire pour servir uteurs decadents et symbolists 61 d cadence would seem to mean the will of the artist to understand called by the Langueur la fin de la 62 Wallace Fowlie. Poem and Symbol: A Brief History of French Symbolism. (University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State U.P.), 5. 63 Halperin, 58. 64 Ibid, 53. P. de Katow in Gil Blas May 17, 1884.
27 (figure A 5) 65 Fnon did not write about the painting but he later said he knew this work was important in the moment when he first saw it. 66 Seurat painted working class men and boys resting on the banks or swimming in the Seine on a mammoth canvas evoking history painting. Asni res was an industrial area north of Paris, part of the expanding banlieue and Seurat has included the smokestacks of factories in the hazy distance. The figures of the boy sitting on the bank and the boy in the water shout ing to the other shore ( La Grande Jatte ), seem indifferent or vacant to the leisure they should be enjoying. In his analysis, T.J. Clark argued that Seurat addressed the uneasy intersection of nature and industry in public recreation and the oddity of lowe r classes taking in bourgeois leisure. 67 Seurat still used brushstrokes but with a lighter touch making bright colors produce the effect of hazy summer air. Fnon missed a full scale study of La Grande Jatte displayed in December but after seeing Une Baig nade he became La Vogue full time art critic. Neo Une Baignade and the study for La Grande Jatte were previews for the unveiling of Neo Impressionism in the Eighth Exhibition of Painting, on May 15, 1886, upstairs from the Maison Dor e restaurant on Rue Laffitte. direction of their movement tore the group apart. Degas and Eug ne Manet, who was ubois Pillet (a Seurat follower) was 65 Ibid, 54. F n on bought the painting in 1900. 66 followed one after the other; but, as much as I delighted in them, the initial spice of surprise was never 67 T.J. Clark. The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 1984), 202
28 included. 68 defended his 69 ). Monet was lar ger markets 70 ; Sisley, Gustave Callebotte and Paul C zanne opted out. Impressionism reached an inescapable crisis with Pissarro and Degas pitted against his son Lucian, Seurat, Signac, were fellow anarchists. 71 To better understand the controversy surrounding this show, it is important to acknowledge political differences between Degas, Fnon and Pissarro. Pissarro was an anarchist like Fnon, on the other hand Degas was more conser vative aesthetically, socially and politically than most avant garde artists. Pissarro was the the only artist to exhibit paintings in all eight group shows. Pissarro init ially painted landscapes in the Realist style of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot then turned to Impressionism. He was Jewish and born on St. Thomas of the Danish Virgin Islands to a family of shopkeepers and moved to Paris as a teen ager in the 1850s. Often li ving in poverty, Pissarro had been a longtime socialist before adopting anarchism in the 1880s. 68 Halperin, 75. Degas called Dubois 69 Roy McMullen. Degas: His Life, Times and Work. (Boston: Houghton Miffin Co., 1984), 322. 70 Critical Readings in Impressionism and Post Impressionism, ed. Mary Tompkins Lewis ( Berkeley, Calif.: California UP, 2007 ), 247. 71 Ibid, 77. Also Marina Ferretti Bocquillon. Signac 1863 1935. New Haven, Conn.,: Yale UP, 2001. 300. Camille Pissarro told his son, Lucian, Manet did not want Signac in the show. B oth Pissarros, Signac and Seurat were shown in the same room.
29 Edgar spelled his name Degas around 1870. 72 The Degas family was grand bourgeois patrician air. In the 1870s, Degas painted race courses and opera houses where the privileged gat conservative friends from haut bourgeois families. 73 In the 1886 exhibition, Degas sponsored a group of painters who were not brilliant colorists like Monet, Renoir or the Neo Impressioni sts. This Caf de la Nouvelle Ath nes clique, which included Mary Cassatt, practiced a hybrid Impressionist on drawing. edited v ersion (along with extracts from other reviews) in a 43 page booklet, Les Impressionnistes en 1886. and artists in earlier Impressionist shows, and his cataloging demonstrates his desire that the b Salons format and had one copy printed on expensive pumicif paper stock (selling for 100 francs) while the rest were printed on cheaper St. Omer stock (1.25 francs). Within 18 months all 227 copies were sold. 74 72 McMullen, 8 9. 73 Carol Armstrong. Odd Man Out: Readings on the Work and Reputation of Edgar Degas. Chicago: Chicago UP, 1991. 23. 74 Halperin, 95.
30 provocative Salon paintings in the 1860s, he praised Mone t, Camille Pissarro, Degas 75 Fnon immediately privileged light and color over line and subject matter in accordance with the currents in progressive painting at that time. Fnon ex crisis; the founding generation are repeating themselves while the next generation are not given credit for producing experimental, advanced painting. 76 In his next move, Fnon compared three artists in the exhibition representing d ifferent stages of Impressionism. The first major figure is Degas. For two years Fnon did not assert strong opinions about Impressionists, but his tone dramatically changed king, combing their hair and dressing in cramped, dingy interiors (figure A 6). J.K. Huysmans, a writer of the Realist school, wrote that Degas critiques the European painting tradition undignified 77 75 F lix F n The Impressionists in 1886 published in La Vogue June 13 20, 1886. Manet liberally used black on his canvases in following Spanish and Dutch portraiture. 76 Ibid, 964. represent the sort of Impressionism that we have come to expect from previous exhibitions; while MM. 77 Joris Ka Art in Theory 1815 1900: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, ed. Charles Har rison, Paul Wood, Jason Gaiger ( Oxford, England: Blackwell Publishers, 2001 ), 895.
31 imagery; 78 Here Fnon avoided the issues that Huysmans has brought up to render a somewhat picturesqu e reading. Joan Ungersma Halperin explained these pears, virgoule u se are especially choice subconsciously leads to other associations like virgule, goule, virer, vir (a comma, a throat, veering, vi rility). 79 Since these nudes are in motion -brushing hair, washing skin, scratching and stretching -ry movements along with subtle muscular difference between motion and posing arguing that a person aware of being observed M. Degas does not copy from nature; he builds up a collection of sketches of the same subject, from which his work 80 ltiple studies, Fnon affirmed the tradition of multiple studies that Seurat and the Neo Impressionists employed in constructing their paintings. 78 Halperin, 78. 79 Halperin, 79. 80 Halperin, Flix Fnon and the Language of Art Criticism, 167. s nature: il accumule sur un m me sujet une multitude de croquis o son oeuvre puisera une v racit
32 Further on in this review, Fnon moved to Gauguin a fixture in these exhibitions despite not becoming a se rious painter until the late 1870s. Fnon argued that this pastorals, such as Edge of the Pond (figure A 7), creating heavy air with russet tones shared by grazing cows, a farmhouse, reflections in the water. 81 Fnon did not believe Gauguin could lead Impressionism into a new direction, however, he commended La Grande Jatte is the innovation that pushes Impressionism to an unexpected new direction. Fnon asserted that only Seurat, not the older Impressionists and not E ug ne Delacroix, had undertake n the arduous mark by mark mixing that achieved optimal luminosity. 82 In approaching light and color, traditional painting treated objects separately, Fnon wrote, while the Impressionists saw objects interacting with each other. This was innovative but in exact; his description of La Grande Jatte tiny marks more effectively reproduced the many complimentary tones in nature. The landscape of La Grande Jatte with its disconnected figures walking on the figures and Greek architecture. Seurat attempted to apply the calm and harmony of 81 giving a muted harmony in his painting. Massive trees spring from rich, luxuriant and humid ground, invading the frame and blocking out the sky. T russet tones of roof and beast with his greens, and echoes them in the water flowing between tree trunks 82 nri Dorra and John Rewald (Paris: S.A.R.L. Les Beaux
33 apiro argued, only using bright, warm 83 banlieue such as his Les Gazom tres Clichy (figure A luminescent. Signac appeared to be edifying a banal subject a ramshackle gasworks on the outskirts of Paris in a large landscape painting. Fnon acknowledges the credibility P issarro gives to the new group and states the fine colors that he mixed with brush and palette on older canvases have improved on new canvases applied with systematic color. 84 Fnon wrote little or nothing about subject matter in any of these paintings, d evoting his remarks to touting the exactitude and innovation of the Neo Impressionists 85 Signac further pushed this argument in his own writings claiming Neo Impressionism Impressionists muddied the waters. 86 83 Modern Art 19 th and 20 th Centuries: Selected Papers. (New York: George Braziller, 1979), 105 Doux Pay s Poseuses Jeunes Filles au Bord de la Mer. 84 F n 85 Seurat Pissarro, Dubois Pillet 86 Impressionism and Post Impressionism 1874 1904: Sources and Documents, ed. Linda Nochlin ( Englewood Cliffs, N.J .: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1966 ), 123.
34 CHAPTER 4 QUESTIONING THE CRIT IC Shedding light on color: In the Neo Impressionist booklet, Fnon used American physicist Ogden N. Roo unmixed, anti colors, isolated on the canvas, are recomposed on the retina: this gives not a mixture of colors as material (pigme 87 He did not offer any accuracy of sci entifically Impressionism. As this account has been questioned, research has produced evidence It was believed that Seurat adopted chemist Michel Eugne Chevreul making did not follow Chevreul. Seurat spent two years working on the painting (including three preparatory canvases), and Seurat would have discovered the difficulty of optically mixing contrasting hues into complimentary colors. Varying dots create texture, not color composition, John Gage argued, as Seurat may simply have liked the visual effect or portant aesthetic, and even a political resonance, in that it draws attention to its own mode of operation, and makes 88 87 F n 88 John Gage. The Art Bulletin (Vol. 69, No. 3, Sept. 1987) 452 ious, communal societies. Seurat Art is Harmony. Harmony is the analogy of Opposites, the analogy of things similar in tone in tint
35 It was also believed that Fnon first spoke to Seurat at the group show standing in front of L a Grande Jatt e It is more likely they met at least a year earlier in a much different setting. Fnon, along with Seurat, Signac and Dubois Pillet regularly attended political meetings hosted by an old Communard, Robert Caze. 89 After seeing La Gr ande Jatte Fnon wrote Seurat letters asking him to explain his unprecedented technique. The aloof, reclusive Seurat did not reply. 90 Several letters from June 1886 April 1887 indicate Pissarro -not Seurat -led Fnon to Rood. Fnon borrowed Dubois Modern Chromatics ) then paraphrased sections that could apply to the painting. 91 ere often ignored. Seurat painted a Sunday, the only legally recognized day off for all citizens after decades of political battles between workers and bourgeois legislators. 92 It was the only day that Seurat could place all classes together at a public rec reation area in their endimanch s (Sunday best). Top hat wearing workers are indistinguishable from professionals much chaperoned women scattered about, some fishing, walking, reading, others s imply sitting on the grass, and in line considered by the dominant and under the influence of a harmony is the human right to aesthetic pleasure (Eisenman, 214). 89 Gage, 73. Meetings ended after Caze was mortally wounded in a duel, Feb. 15, 1886. Camille Pissarro and Paul C zanne attended at least one meeting. 90 Paul Smith. Seurat and the Avant Ga rde. ( New Haven, Conn.: Yale UP: 1997 letter from F n on to Edouard Dujarin and Teodor de Wyzewa (May 20, 1886) shows that he had 91 Ibid, 23. 92 Boime, 161. The national day of rest movement dates back to 1814.
36 even the chaperoned women are set apart from their male partner a wink at feminism in nineteenth century France. 93 The La Grande Jatte recreation area had been part of nd Empire in its urban parkland campaign. 94 a ncien r gime genres, sources, and points of view suggests a deliberate evasiveness, an intention to 95 Like his earlier Bathers La Grande Jatte harkened back to monumental history paintings 96 The rigid figures reminded one critic of Gothic art. 97 Another reason why La Grande Jatte attracted so much attention was the eased press restrictions previously mentioned. Fnon and the new generation of Symbolist critics used painting to establish editorial ident ities matching their publications and they wanted to break away from Realism and Impressionism. 98 93 has de eroticized the afternoon encounter in the park to stress the self enclosed character of each figural 94 Ibid, 146. 95 Eisenman, 216. 96 Halperin, 83. Taken from March, 1886 letter from Camille Pissarro to Lucian Pissarro. 97 Seurat in Perspective, ed. Norma Broude (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice La Vie moderne, Feb. 26, 1887. 98 La Revue contemporaine Jules Christophe in the arts newsletter Journal des artisites Jean Ajalbert in the socialist La Revue moderne and Felix Feneon in one of the most high flying and short li ved of the symbolist petites revues, La Vogue
37 The anarchist Fnon and his new breed in the radical press could identify with raising art over commerce and opposing bourgeois tastes. 99 sion against La Grande Jatte could have been less about the painting and more about taking down these upstart critics and their reinterpretation of Impressionism. The positivist writer mile Hennequin praised the Neo ability but wa rned of the danger of over emphasizing scientific color theory. He Grandcamp Un Soir (figure A 9) painted in 1885. As for La Grande Jatte appears to hav e failed, besides, Seurat wastes time chasing hues that human beings 100 Huysmans suspected Seurat has created a gimmick cloaking little substance. 101 Newer critics recognizing class consciousness on parade in La Grande Jatte 99 impressionist canvases strengthened the specificity of the identification: this was an art that had not capitulated to the market t hat 100 Seurat in Perspective, ed. Norma Broude (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice ind pe La Vie moderne, question, but it is impossible to over emphasize that one technique more or less can contribute little to hese terms it is proper to judge it only on the basis of 101 Joris Seurat in Perspective, ed. Norma Broude (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prent ice La Revue ind pendente but no better than did his predecessors the Impressionists in rendering the vision of the human figure in light; and as a result of concentrating all of
38 regimented squares 102 ; stiff figures wearing cheap clothes preoccupied with artificia l 103 F n sex, and social class: elegant men and elegant ladies, soldiers, wetnurses, b ourgeois, 104 They agreed scientifically derived color was far more accurate than what Adam called the despised trick of mixing and blending that older Impressionists employed. drawn pastels underwhelm Silk roses on the dress of a baby, next to 105 Politics of Painting: argued that La Grande Jatte 102 soldiers, moving about on regimented squares. Maids, clerks, and soldiers all move around with a similar, 103 their punched out forms contribute to the note of modernity, remindin g us of our badly cut clothes which 104 With the faith of a Jan Hus fifty people, lifesize, on the bank of the Seine at La Grande Jatte, one Sunday 105 Art in Theory 1815 1900: An Antholog y of Changing Ideas, ed. Charles Har rison, Paul Wood, Jason Gaiger ( Oxford, England: Blackwell Publishers, 2001 ), 962.
39 progressive reader could look through to see the painting. 106 explication of Seu but science divided 19th century intellectuals. Anarchists and progressives linked Conservatives rejected science they claimed destroyed French identity and tradition. 107 Anarchists were attracted to La Grande Jatte critique they read in the work. 108 The petit point eliminates the gestural mark as carrier of ge nius and potentially opens painting to all artists. Untrained artists have as much authority as a trained artist applying brushstrokes. Gesture was hotly debated throughout the century: Neoclassicists subdued gesture while the Romantics heightened it. Alth paintings were gestural, John House found a uniform tache (patch of color) to achieve Romantic flamboyance rebuking the tache on paintings like John Singer Madame X 109 that Monet had a propensity for basically showing off. 110 106 Ibid, 82. keep his art aloof, used the langu age of science as a crys and to 107 Hutton, 19. 108 Smith, 1. 109 John House. Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies (Vol. 14, No. 2, 1989), Impressionist petit point, or dot, as it evolved in 1885 86 during the execution of the Grande Jatte, was corrective, a new, impersonal technique opposed to the romantic individualism of 110 Clark, ne propension faire grimacer la nature pour bien prouver que la minute tait unique et
40 referential creative genius removed the barrier between subject and object resulting in a democratized situation. 111 the author composing the deco mposed, authorless painting. 112 In most of the academic painting that the Impressionists and Neo Impressionists reacted against valued line or drawing skill and de emphasized color. Line vs. color had always been an ideological debate, for instance 19th century supporters of line sited the Baroque classicist Nicolas Poussin expressing Platonic ideals that bolstered history 113 The centuries long debate pitting the Poussinis ts vs. exuberant colorists like Baroque 114 Delacroix painted swirling, vivid colors that inspired Impressionists and Neo 111 Linda Nochlin. Critical Readings in Impressionism and Post Impressionism, ed. Mary Tompkins Lewis ( Berkeley, Calif.: California UP, 2007 ), 255 112 F lix F n Seurat XIII. Ici, en effet, la patte est inutile, le truquage impossible; nulle place pour les morceaux de bravoure; qu soit agile, perspicace et savant; sur une autruche, une botte de paille, une vague ou un roc la manoeuvre du pinceau reste la m 113 Critical Readi ngs in Impressionism and Post Impressionism, ed. Mary Tompkins Lewis ( Berkeley, Calif.: California UP, 2007 painting of Nicolas Poussin, the father of French Baroque Classicism in seventeenth century Rome, was widely promoted in this era by Frenc 114 McMillen, 34.
41 bodies are dissolved by light but tones give lig ht substance. 115 smithereens. 116 o prefix is a complicated move that preserves the Impressionist origin and also demonstrates a break from the older generation. Many old schools or movements were o classiq o o o simultaneously historicizing, superseding, and reviving impressionism was close to what Fredric 117 prefix, Fnon preserved this movement in art history, though keeping his options open that newer artists could reform Impressionism. Writing Neo Impressionism: F n on became the Neo n on refined 1886 review of the Tuileries exhibition intr thode n o 115 Stephen F. Eisenman. Nineteenth Century Art: A Critical History ed. Stephen F. Eisenman ( Lo ndon: Thames & Hudson Ltd., 2002 ), 320. 116 T.J. Clark. Far ewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism ( New Haven, Conn.: Yale U.P, 1999 he dot exploded the opposition. And this was wonderful. It planted a bomb in the middle of the bourgeois idea of freedom and order, and individuality, and a rt ness, and taste, and touch, intuition, variety, expressiveness. 117 Ward, 58.
42 yet calling them Neo Impressionists), and builds up Pissarro (who was not in the show) 118 A leftist journal published in southern France ( sociale ) asked F n left over from the 1878 Universal Exposition. In this 1887 article, F n on taught the remote South about the Parisian avant garde by sketching two casts of characters. Pillet wears a cravat and a monocle, Lucian century 119 Thus it is wrong to include under the label of Impressionism painters like M. Degas, M. (Jean Louis) Forain, M. (Jean Fran ois) Raffa lli who are interested particularly in 120 Camille Pissarro said these remark s were too aggressive. 121 F n on was just warming up. Pissarro privately expressed his frustration with Impressionism at a show featuring exhibition wh 122 Giving up all hope that Impressionism could be reformed or its camps reconciled, F n on irrecoverably drew 118 F lix F n Seurat, XVII Originally published in 119 mancipation sociale April 3, 1887. 120 Ibid, 99. 121 Ibid, 100. 122 Cam Impressionism and Post Impressionism 1874 1904: Sources and Documents, ed. Linda Nochlin ( Englewood Cliffs, N .J.: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1966), 218.
43 the dividing line in his next major article. F n n o impressionnistes for the first time separating Pissarro, Seurat, Signac and Dubois Pillet from the Degas pack. 123 F n on claimed Neo (he om Impressionists do not belong with Monet or 124 luminosity and color. F n narrative. Using this standard, F n techniques to Impressionism. 125 After refining his old color theory, F n on sta ted the Neo Impressionists sought to synthesize nature with sensation, also eliminating the 126 Free from the n anarchist 127 Since La Grande Jatte was first 123 F lix F n o Seurat, XX Originally published in May. 1887. 124 Ibid, XVIII. 125 de depuis 1884 1885. M. Georges 126 que par ce q 127 riorit s, ils imposent, ces quarte ou cinq artistes la sensation m alit objective leur est simple theme la creation al it sup rieure et sublime o leur personnalit
44 imitated method. In an 1888 art icle, F n on obliquely takes the blame due to his over emphasizing the science in painting. F n on waffled on the importance of color theories that these painters mani pulating color wheels (generally inaccurate) and consulting the reports of physicists (not very revealing) about the way complimentary colors really lust 128 Neo Impressionists applauded F n ly the infallible F. F n n 129 130 In a letter to Signac n 131 128 Revue independante, Oct. 1888. Critic Albert Michel Nothing resembles M. Signac more than M. Dubois Pillet. The reproach is sometimes justified; but in this instance it says in Seurat in Perspective, ed. Norma Broude ( Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice Hall, Inc., 1978 ), 42 129 Ibid, 85. 130 Smith, 25. 131 Ibid, 23.
45 CHAPTER 5 FRIENDS BECOME FOES This thesis has already investigated the complex persona F n on crafted that intrigued the Parisian intelligentsia. Cautious, maintained his defenses among friends and foes. Seurat, Signac, Camille and Lucian Pissarro, Dubois Pillet, Luce, Charles Angrand and Henri Edmond Cross consistently received F n movement were disregarded or ignored. 132 All of these favorites were active anarchists forming the core of the Society of Independent Artists. 133 When the man behind that mask felt an artist had betrayed his politics F n on wrote a negative review or none at all. behind F n presented. First hand accounts stated Seurat was an insecure, remote bourgeois capable of little conversation outside art. Signac befriended Seurat after seeing Une Baignade, Asni res then exposed him to people and ideas outside bourgeois convention. They were an odd couple: Signac was gregarious, ebullient, fully committed to anarchism, with a violent temper. 134 132 Smith, 122. 133 Ferretti Bocquillon, 41. The organization formed in 1884. Dubois Pillet was vice president until his death in 1890. Signac was president from 1909 34. 134 John Leighto n in Signac 1863 1935. ed. John Leighton, Anne Distel, Susan Alyson Stein (New Haven, Conn.: Yale U.P., 2001), 3.
46 Anarchist loyalties were tested when the Third Republic suspended journalist Paul Germinal at the Theatre du Chatelet. France suffered through an economic crisis from 1883 87 and lower wages in northern France holding a 56 day strike in 1885. 135 The socialist newspaper Cri du Peuple published a serialized version of Germinal Arts. 136 Si gnac made two donations then Pissarro gave two francs anonymously. 137 There is scant evidence that Seurat made a donation even though he received 400 francs a month from his father. 138 Was Seurat indifferent or apolitical? Clark put it 139 La Grande Jatte did not represent any obvious political ideology, although the mixing of classes in a public place could be seen as utopian. This painting is ironic, Eisenman argued, and it successfully expressed Neo Impressionist polit 135 Halperin, 56. 136 Smith, 78. 137 Ibid, 78 79. 138 139
47 organized political systems, and the celebration of personal autonomy that characterizes much fin de siecle 140 Many avant garde artists were more interested in expanding boundaries then engaging in radical politics. Seurat did not feel loyalty to one ideology, freely mixing with anarchists, symbolists, socialists, and nationalists. 141 Paul Smith 142 dinner with his mother. 143 F n of support for the miners (he believed Seurat was an anarchist 144 ), nevertheless F n on countered with silence toward the n on di d not write about La Chahut (1890) or the Jeune Femme se Poudrant (1890), and he barely mentioned La Parade Le Cirque (1891) (figure A 16). 140 Eisenman, 216 y and realist, the position toward its subject; while such a stance advances no specific politics, it would nevertheless be wrong to consider Seurat an 141 Ibid, 65. 142 La R volte 143 Ibid, 79. 144 to be fe d up with everything, his literary and artistic friends and those who supported his work in the press
48 His ignoring Le Cirque is surpri sing considering that F n n on wanted this spectacle to have the same luminescence and vivid color that he saw in Neo Impressionist paintings. 145 Le Cirque features a female dancer balancing herself on top of a running horse with a twisting acrobat behind them. In the foreground a clown has opened the curtain bringing the viewer into the scene. In contrast to the action in the ring, the circus audience sits passively in stiff poses watching the performers but with their hands in their laps instead of clapping. In his examination of expressing exaggerated emotions in grotesque they are mannequins capable of only three expressions sadness, gaiety and neutral 146 The last major Seurat painting F n on reviewed was Les Poseuses (figure A 10) shown with La Parade Of this large painting of three nude women standing and sitting in front of La Grande Jatte F n 147 A year later F n on expressed disappointment in e conchoid clouds of Le Crotoy 148 Pissarro turned his back on Seurat in 1888 just before returning to with his overtly scientific sty 145 tes Revue ind pendante Jan. 1988. 146 147 Ibid, 130. 148 Ibid, 131.
49 the Ecole des Beaux everyone, but keep for yourself the gift you have of feeling as an artist of a free race 149 As diffe rences between Seurat and F n on intensified, Signac and the critic strengthened their friendship. F n on expanded his campaign in 1890 by organized a series of artist monographs in the literary magazine Pissarro, Seurat, Signac, Luce, Dubois Pillet, Paul C zanne, Vincent van Gogh and Gauguin would receive treatments from writers familiar with the movement edited by F n on. Keeping this rift in mind, it is no surprise that F n on assigned himself Signac after giving Christophe the Seurat monograph. 150 F n on allowed Signac to approve drafts before publication then the finished version was the fourth monograph in the series. F n Signac was the new leader of t he group. 151 Seurat was furious because F n on did not publically acknowledge that Seurat importance. In an emotional letter to F n out of ec 152 F n man who never explained his techniques in published writing. Signac would become a 149 Smith, 157. 150 Ibid, 131. 151 Halperin, Flix Fnon and the Language of Art Criticism, grand d la synthese, le fugace au permanent, et dans les f tes et les prestiges, conf re a la nature, que lassait fin sa r alit pr caire, une authentique r alit 152 Halperin, Felix Feneon: Aesthete and Anarchist in Fin de Siecle Paris 139.
50 Eug ne Delacroix to Neo which clearly presented the Neo published articles in accord with F n emphasis on overall composition. Signac, like the other Neo Impressionists, attempted to achieve harmony without giving too much more important than other elemen 153 Signac believed that a society based on anarcho communism would allow the working class to worker has the time to think and edu cate himself, he will appreciate all the different 154 will 155 F n 156 The rift between F n on and Seurat tragically ended when Seurat suddenly died of diphtheria on Easter Sunday, 1891. F n F n 153 Signac: Portrait of Signac, 47. 154 Signac: Portrait of Signac 47. 155 Ibid, 38. 156 Ferretti Bocquillon, 107. Thad e Natanson.
51 157 F n on, Signac and Pissarro appear to have conspired against Gauguin in 1891 after Gauguin sold a series of paintings for 9,000 francs at a public auction. 158 The feud between Gauguin and Signac began when the older Gauguin threw the 16 year old Signac out of the 1880 Impressionist exhibition when the boy was sketching a Degas 159 Their feud was intensified over 160 After this incident the hot F n on accused Gauguin of stealing lived with the artist in Brittany. Gauguin began painting Christ imagery in the late 1880s, a move F n on found self skill at pottery and sculptur e, earning F n drastically declined. 161 The three anarchists saw Gauguin as just another profiteer has sensed that the bourgeoisie are 162 In a letter to F n on, 157 Ibid, 209 158 Halperin, 218. 159 Ferretti Bocquillon, 84. 160 Halperin, 88. Signac allowed Gauguin to use the studio but Seurat got there first with a ke y. Not knowing about this arrangement Seurat instructed the concierge not to let anyone in. 161 Ibid, 220. 162 Varias, 133.
52 163 F n ons revealing favoritism or at least sloppiness. Artists found it curious to see undue space given to an unknown Swiss artist, David Estoppey, who was not listed in the catalogue. Objections were raised over Dubois Pillet being mentioned along with Seurat, the two Pissarros and Signac when he did not submit works. The critic was caught abusing his power; F n on admitted Estoppey was going to paint his portrait but he was unapologetic about adding Dubois Pillet. Degas angrily called Dubois du bois pi l and Gauguin was incensed over this attempt to raise this artist to the avant garde. 164 To reciprocate for his monograph, Signac wanted to paint a life size portrait of F n mor. In his response, F n n on never wore a monocle). 165 As F n on maintained his self deprecating cool; Signac seriously approached painting the definitive Neo Impressionist work. In the finished portrait, F n on stands in profile in a yellow coat, carrying his top hat and walkin g stick, looking to the left offering a white flower. In avant garde circles F n on would be easily recognized by his goatee and strong facial features. 163 164 Pillet is no more in the avant 165 Ibid, 161.
53 Behind the figure is a pinwheel of colors, waves, shapes, decorations swirling within bands that join a t a central vanishing point. Signac titled the work lix F n on en 1890, Opus 217 (figure A 11). Signac continued utilizing divisionism along with embracing co lor and line from the writings of scientist Charles Henry (F n on rejected 166 ), yet the protracted title spoofs such homage t o the green carnation Oscar Wilde carried around Paris, the white flower F n cercle chromatique 167 Signac captured F n against the dynamic b ackdrop. Showing F n on in profile is a private jab at Seurat who had drawn Signac in profile as a stuffy bourgeois in top hat, walking stick and cape for the cover 12). 168 Criti cs at the Salon of Ind e pendents (spring 1891) responded with indifference or title and/or the kaleidoscopic background overwhelming the figure. 169 The Proletarian Painte r: F n on worked with bureaucrats and socialized with the intelligentsia, all the while maintaining contact with workers whose plight deeply affected him since childhood. The earnest idealist inside the ironist came out in F n on friendship with Neo 166 Ibid, 160. 167 Ibid, 146. 168 Ferretti Bocquillon, 162. 169 Ibid, 162.
54 proletarian drank vin ordinare read La revolte wore a battered hat and shabby clothes as he dined often in F n on anarchist who, like others of his generation, witnessed a mass execution of Communards as a child. Luce joined F n Independent Artists exhibition. In an early review, F n on new 170 early paintings depicted the downtrodden Parisians that F n on and other anarchists colors. 171 Lu Terrain Montmartre, Rue Championnet (figure A 13) is not far off from the Realism that the Neo Impressionists had previously rejected. Considering the factories and slagheaps Luce painted, F n on excused Luce for not using color and light as effecti with his own originality No literary effect falsifies the very real emotion that they 172 Luce also produced propaganda images for periodicals and newspapers that caugh Proc s de Trent e who, like F n on, was also acquitted. Montmartre or his Homme sa toilette (figure A 14). Montmartre had been the tower pouring black smoke that hangs above gray buildings. Luce has a deep social 170 Ibid, 112. 171 Ibid, 112. 172 Ibid, 115.
55 consciousness, however, F n emphas izing of subject ignored the encroachment of industry on the suburbs. On this painting he wrote ; sunlight falls obliquely through piles of polychrome clouds and covers the distances of 173 F n on 174 Les Gazom tres Clichy an Banlieue redefine landscape painting. F n writing never speculates on such intensions. Radicals, progressives and the left wing press defended Signac, Luce and other Neo Impressionists for depicting la vie moderne through these industrial s ubjects. 175 As Luce, Signac and others produced factory or despoiled suburban scenes, Seurat released important works La Chahut La Parade (or Parade de Cirque ) La Cirque that F n on did not review. These paintings depicted urban, public spectacles th at came after F n on began pushing Seurat to the background. P ropaganda by the Word and by the Deed: He was not silent nor was he apolitical in his political commentaries for Anarchist and Far Left publications. Beginning in 1890, F n on gradually shifted away from art and literature reviews towards 173 Art moderne, April 15, 1888. 174 175 Robert L. Herbert, From Millet to Lger: Essays in Social Art History. New Have n, Conn.: Yale UP, 2002. 111. Pillet, and others. It was in fact the painting of la vie moderne, the cry of progressive critics since Baudelaire, as well as the art istic merits of the Neo Impressionists that won the admiration of the political Impressionists were also frequently defended by the left wing press even when its writers did not know t
56 reoccurring column Hourras, toll s et rires maigres He was not a political theorist issuing manifestos, F n on reviewed books and paintings in the same column space n on was still working in the War Office these columns were unsigned or used pseudonyms close friends would recognize. Progressiv e art in galleries and exhibitions is one way to advance the anarchist revolution, in these anonymous writings F n on told painters dab in the middle of anarcho propaganda images that working clas s can easily understand. 176 In his political articles, F n bombings, assassinations and other terror tactics that would incite revolution against the Third Republic. 177 F n throughout the world, for example residents of a Japanese village refusing to pay taxes. 178 He nudged disgruntled proletarians into doing the same and justified stealing was passing through the cornfields on the Sabbath, and as the disciples made their way 179 176 Ward 231 177 The term originated in Paul Brousse the Benevento uprising in Italy 178 Halperin, 248. could influence our political ways! Yokohama, 2 3 May (1 179 thousand franc fine for he was passing through th e cornfields on the Sabbath, and as the disciples made their way through, they
57 The restaurant bombing that is believed to be F n F n on published passages from W ar Office reports in his anti bullets, model 1886, after penetrating through a small cut, come out by tearing flesh to comfort a really patri 180 Advocating individual action that disrupted the state instead of collective insurrection seemed closer to the anarchist ideal. Pissarro and Signac also contributed Pissarro each act of individual revolt is a swing of the axe at the foundations of the social edifice 181 not as making 182 The anarchist newspaper Le P re peinard was another intersection in an artistic movement filled with shared purposes. Luce dr ew the angry proletariat rolling up his sleeve for the masthead illustration and F cartoon (figure A 15). 183 its editorial content was written in Parisia n street talk. F n on wrote art reviews here in 180 Ibid, 249. 181 Clark, 102. La revolte 1891. 182 Signac: Portrait of Signac 47. 183 Le P re peinard Jan. 29 Feb. 5, 1893.
58 industrialized Belgium included pointed com either, for these gals. The poor Janes do some tall work on sidewalks and mattresses and get regularly messed up, exposed to the low down tricks of the mugs and the filthy 184 Subjects in n 185 Given the context of F n litical writings that support violent action and ending the exploitation of the poor, a caustic remark tossed into a review of Pissarro fools die. We heartily wish this to 186 184 Halperin, 259. 185 Ibid, 259. 186 Ibid, 108.
59 CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION F.F. began fading from view after being acquitted in the Trial of Thirty in 1894. F n published fewer art reviews and political commentaries after the trial until he stopped writing altogether in the early 20 th century. He lost his clerical post at the War Office and needed steady employment. He became an editor at Revue Blanche and after almost a decade there and short stints on centrist newspapers Le Figaro and Matin until landing a new career in the art world. F n on worked for the Bernheim Jeune art gallery chain from 1906 24 in roles ranging from salesman to collector until his retir ement at age 63. The Bernheim family jokingly called him fain ant calculated nonchalance towards his job. 187 e Goubaux) in 1897 and they remained together until his death in 1944 (Fanny F n on died in 1946). The once passionate radical now wanted to live a quiet life with his wife (the F n ons did not have children). He refused to allow friends to re edit asked to publish a collection of his darkly humorous news items Novels in Three Lines F n on 188 The epigraph at the beginning of this thesis was taken from F n Italian Symbolist critic Vittorio Pica. In that article, F n on encapsulated his function as a critic that begins with attempting to view artwork from the perspective of the artist and the viewpoint of the spectator. F n 187 fain antise 188 Ibid, 364.
60 189 F n examined the construction of Neo Impressionism, the socio political beliefs held by F n on and the group, his treatment of these artists and outlined F n of Neo Impressionist canvases. depict the tense mixing of social classes at public spaces or spectac les. Signac produced uninhabited landscapes of the industrial suburbs and genre paintings satirizing bourgeois domesticity. Luce painted landscapes of slagheaps, factories, Leftist neighborhoods and portraits of working class people. F n on wrote about these subjects in columns for radical newspapers, but did not draw attention to this imagery in his art writing. The thesis does not intend to judge F n dogmatic standards that art critics must follow. T his thesis is an intellectual biography that proposes F.F. is a rich subject deserving of a larger body of research. The title n F n eadings of his texts, inquiry into the focusing on political undercurrents in Neo Impressionist subjects. 189 st be a discriminating and inclusive intellect, penetrating the soul of the artist, seizing his aesthetic personality, considering the work of art both from the point of view of the author and from the point of view of the public a channel for the one an La Cravache July 14, 1888.
61 APPENDIX LIST OF ART WORKS CI TED 1. Georges Seurat. Un Dimanche Apr s Jatte. 1884 86, 225 x 340 cm, oil on canvas. The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File :A_Sunday_on_La_Grande_Jatte,_Georges_Seurat,_18 84.jpg 2. Walter Crane. To the Memory of the Paris Commune 1871, engraving, Victoria and Albert Museum, London http:// www.marxists.org/subject/art/visual_arts/satire/crane/crane5.htm 3. F lix F n on in 1886. Photograph, Paulhan archives, Paris. http://locus solus fr.net/img/feneon.jpg 4. Puvis de Chavannes. Le Bois Sacr Cher aux Arts et aux M uses. 1884 89, 93 x 231 cm, oil on canvas, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago. http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/citi/images/standard/WebLarge/WebImg_000075/79 1_641778.jpg 5. Georges Seurat. Une Baignade, Asni res. 1883 84, 201 x 301.5 cm, oil on canvas. The National Gallery, London. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Seurat_ _Bathers_at_Asnieres.jpg 6. Edgar Degas. Le Tub. 1886, 60 x 83 cm, pastel on board, Mus http://www.musee orsay.fr/en/collections/works in focus/graphic arts/commentaire_id/the tub 7141.html?tx_commentaire_pi1%5Bpid Li%5D=848&tx_commentaire_pi1%5Bfrom%5D =845&cHash=50a8d97311 7. Paul Gauguin. Edge of the Pond or Cows at the Watering Place 1885, 81 x 65 cm, oil on canvas, Civica Galleria, Milan. http://www.personal.kent.edu/~rberrong/Destination/gauguin8.jpg 8. Paul Signac. Les Gazom tres Clichy 1886, 65 x 81 cm, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. http://nga.gov.au/exhibition/turnertomonet/Detail.cfm?IRN=4703 9. Georges Seurat. Grandcamp, Un Soir. 1885, 66.2 x 82.4 cm, oil on canvas, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. http://www.googleartproject.com/museums/moma/grandcamp evening 8 10. Georges Seurat. Les Poseuses. 1886 88, 200 x 250 cm, oil on canvas, The Barnes Foundation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Georges_Seurat_ _Les_Poseuses.jpg
62 11. Paul Signac. de teintes, portrait de M. F lix F n on en 1890, Opus 217 1890 74 x 95 cm, oil on canvas, private collection http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Signac.jpg 12. Georges Seurat. Paul Signac. 1890, cover of no. 373, cont crayon, photograph G. Roche. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Seurat_Paul_Signac.jpg 13. Maximilien Luce. Terrain Montmartre, Rue Championnet 1887, 45.5 x 81 cm, oil on canvas. Kr ller Muller Museum, Otterlo, Germany. http://www.kmm.nl/object/KM%20101.961/undefined?lang=en Homme sa toilette 1886, 92 x 73 cm, oil on canvas. Mus e du petit palais, Geneva. http://silartetaitconte.hautetfort.com/media/01/00/1419703684.jpg 15. Le P re peinard Maxmilien Luce and F lix Pissarro. Title page, Jan. 29, 1893, headline drawing Luce, cartoon Pissarro. http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Le_P%C3%A8re_Peinard_1898.jpg 16. Georges Seurat. Le Cirque 1891, 1 85 x 152 cm, oil on canvas. Mus Paris. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Georges_Seurat_019.jpg
63 LI ST OF REFERENCES Art in Th eory 1815 1900: An Anthology of Ch anging Ideas ed. Charles Harrison, Paul Wood, Jason Gaiger, Malden, Mass. Blackwell Publishers, 1998. Armstrong, Carol. Odd Man Out: Readings of the Work and Reputation of Edgar Degas Chicago: Chicago UP, 1991. Aubery, The French Review Vol. 42, No. 1 (Oct. 1968), 39 47. Boime, Albert. Art and the French Commune: Imagining Paris after War and Revolution. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 1995. Boucher, Ma rie Oxford Art Online http://www.oxfordartonline.com. Clark, T.J. Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism New Haven, Conn.: Yale UP, 1999. Clark, T.J. The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 1984. Art in Theory 1648 1815: An Anthology of Changing Ideas ed. Charles Harrison, Paul Wood, Jason Gaiger. Oxford, Eng land: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 2000. Durand Impressionism and Post Impressionism 1874 1904: Sources and Documents ed. Linda Nochlin, Englewood Cliff s, N.J.: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1966. Duret, Th Impressionism and Post Impressionism 1874 1904: Sources and Documents ed. Linda Nochlin, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1966. Nineteenth Century Art: A Critical History ed. Stephen F. Eisenman, London: Thames & Hudson Ltd., 2002. Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies Vol. 1 4, No. 2 (1989), 210 221, 247 249. F n on, F in Art in Theory 1815 1900: An Anthology of Changing Ideas ed. Charles Har rison, Paul Wood, Jason Gaiger, Oxford, Engla nd: Blackwell Publishers, 1998.
64 F non Flix n o in Seurat e d. Henri Dorra and John Rewald, Paris: S.A.R.L. Les Beaux Arts 1959. Fowlie, Wallace Poem and Symbol: A Br ief History of French Symbolism University Park, Pa: Pennsylvania State U.P., 1990. The Art Bulletin Vol. 69, No. 3 (Sept. 1987). Art in Theory 1815 1900: An Anthology of Changing Ideas ed. Charles Harrison, Paul Wood, Jason Gaiger, Oxford, England: Blackwell Publishers, 2001. Geoffroy, Gustave. in Art in Theory 1815 1900: An Anthology of Changing Ideas ed. Charles Har rison, Paul Wood, Jason Gaiger, Oxford, E ngla nd: Blackwell Publishers, 1998. Halperin, Joan Ungersma. F lix F n on: Aesthete & Anarchist in Fin de Si cle Pari s New Haven, Conn.: Yale UP, 1988. Halperin, Joan Ungersma. F lix F n on and the Language of Art Criticism. Ann Arbo r, Mich.: UMI Research Press, 1980 The Burlington Magazine Vol. 69, No. 400 (July, 1936), 4, 8 11, 13 14. Hennequin, Seurat in Perspective ed. No rma Broude, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1978. Herbert, Robert L. From Millet to L ger: Essays in Social Art History New Haven, Conn.: Yale UP: 2002. Journal of Aesthetic Education Vol. 34, No. 1 (Spring, 2000), 19 25. Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies Vol. 14, No. 2 (1989), 114 131, 240 241. Hutton, John G. Neo Impressionism and the Search for Solid Ground: Art, Science a nd Anarchism in Fin de Si cle France Baton Rouge, La.: Louisiana State University UP, 1994. Impre ssionism and the Anarchist image The Art Bulletin Vol. 72, No. 2 (June, 1990), 296 309. H uysmans, Joris Seurat in Perspective ed. Norma Broude, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1978.
65 Huysmans, Joris Art in Theory 1815 1900: An Anthology of Changing Ideas ed. Charles Har rison, Paul Wood, Jason Gaiger, Oxford, Eng land: Blackwell Publishers, 1998. Impressionism and P ost Impressionism 1874 1904: Sources and Documents ed. Linda Nochlin, Englewood Clif fs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1966. Key Writers on Art: From Antiquity to the Nineteenth Century ed. Chris Murray, London: Routledge, 2003. Leighton, John, Anne Distel, Susan Alyson Stein, Marina Ferretti Bocquillon. Si gnac 1863 1935 New Haven, Conn.: Yale UP, 2001. Critical Readings in Impressionism and Post Impressionism, ed. Mary Tompkins Lewis, Berkeley, Calif.: California UP, 2007. McGuiness, Patric Symbolism, Decadence and the Fin de Si cle ed. Patrick McGuiness, Exeter, England: Exeter UP, 2000. McMullen Roy. Degas: His Life, Times and Work Bo ston: Houghton Miffin Co., 1984 o in Seurat in Perspective ed. Norma Broude, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1978. Impressionism and Post Impressionism 1874 1904: Sources and Documents ed. Linda Nochlin, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Pr entice Hall, Inc., 1966. Critical Readings in Impressionism and Post Impressionism, ed. Mary T ompkins Lewis, Berkeley, Calif.: California UP, 2007. Impressionism and Post Impressionism 1874 1904: Sources and Documents ed. Linda Nochlin, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1966. Rewald, John. The History of Impressionism New York: The Museum of Modern Art Fourth Edition, 1973 The Art Institute of Chicago Quarterly Vol. 52, No. 1 (Feb. 1, 1958), 2 5. Impressionism, Science and The Art Bulletin Vol. 73, No. 3 (Sept. 1991), 381 390.
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67 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH David M. Whitehead received his M.A. in art history from the University of Florida in 2012. His research focuses on 19th century French art from Realism through Post Impressionism. His interests include politics, the art market, art criticism, historiography, and the influence of popular culture on French painting. He will continue his Ph.D studies at the University of Florida.