Fotograf Magazine

Peintres photographes

The last book by Michel Poivert, Peintres photographes: De Degas à
Hockney, presents photographs by famous painters from the 19th and 20th
centuries. Poivert does not take an encyclopedic approach: the selection of
authors is not exhaustive (for example, Ellsworth Kelly, Ad Reinhardt, Sean
Scully and other artists are missing). The thematically ordered chapters allow
for original analyses of authorial approaches in clearly defined areas.

The first chapter deals with the photographs of models. These pictures
usually had an auxiliary role, as was the case with Edgar Degas or Alfons
Mucha. Hans Bellmer or the forgotten painter Charles-François Jeandel,
however, saw such photographs as autonomous creations. Finally, Thomas
Eakins’s photographic experiments were much later echoed in conceptual
art (motion studies).

The second chapter focuses on the painters – amateur photographers.
Photographs by Eduard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard and Maurice Denis
represent the visual experience of everyday life. Surprisingly, Poivert included
also avant-garde photographs in this chapter although they are based on
a different kind of aesthetics, emphasizing the formal quality of image. In
addition to compositions by Vasilij Kandinsky or Josef Albers, the avantgarde
artists also included Robert Rauschenberg’s work, different in style.

According to Pivert, the photographs of the painters mentioned in the
third chapter are all based on the documentary approach. They include
modernist artworks by Charles Sheeler, conceptual work by Ed Rusha and
Sol LeWitt, prosaic and expressive photographs by Wols, and contemplative
blurred colour images by Cy Twombly.

The fourth chapter presents experimental photography in artworks by
Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, and David Hockney.

The last chapter summarizes the trends related to the obsessive
fascination with the visual, where the photographic camera serves as an
extended vision tool: from existential photographs by Edvard Munch and
playful pictures by René Maggrite – whose pictures seem to have been the
realistic basis of his paintings – to revealing self-portraits by Andy Warhol
and expressive Polaroid images by Balthus. In addition to the quality picture
material, the publication contains a number of inspiring reflection essays,
widening the perspective on the medium of photography.

Štěpán Grygar

Poivert, Michel. Peintres photographes: De Degas à Hockney. Paris: Citadelles & Mazenod. 2017. ISBN 978-2850887208.

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