Friday, January 22, 2010

Arty Farty Friday ~ Georges Mathieu

Georges Mathieu, French artist and developer of an art style he called Lyrical Abstraction. His is not a universally well-known name, and his artwork is, I suspect, an acquired taste. I don't always appreciate abstract art, but some of it has charms. There's something about many of Mathieu's paintings that attracts the eye - the placement on the canvas of the squiggly bits, the colour combinations.....there's an echo of Japanese style there too, I think. As in Jackson Pollock's work, it initially seems random and pointless, yet there's also something about the rhythm and colours that grabs the eye.

From the archives of TIME magazine (April 1954)
Fame & Fortune. Now 33, Mathieu has already made his fame in Europe, sells everything he paints. Slim, dapper, cultivated, he occupies a town house furnished with fine Gothic furniture and Persian carpets, in the fashionable La Muette section of Paris. He whips out small paintings in as little as ten minutes, and even his huge pictures require no more than a couple of hours to paint. This, as Mathieu is frank to point out, leaves him "lots of time for other activi ties . . . I'm keenly interested in modern music, philosophy, mathematics, poetry, literature . . ."
Like most painters of his school, Mathieu is his own worst advocate. He says he has "no interest in nature," and maintains that his art is what he calls "an orgasm of uncontrolled expression." But whether he chooses to admit the fact or not, Mathieu's paintings are as elaborately controlled as a professional golfer's game. Moreover they do reflect the real world around him, especially the technologically molded world of speed, smoke, glare, and vast perspectives.
Read more:,9171,819779,00.html#ixzz0cz01VxKi

Georges Mathieu first studied philosophy and literature, later around the age of 21, he began to paint - first straightforward realistic landscapes and portraits, but in time he developed something completely different: Lyrical Abstraction. He eventually began to expand from working in solitude to producing his artwork in public, in damatic fashion.

Here's a trailer for a DVD about his work "The Fury of Being" showing him at work.

Born 27 January 1921 in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France at 10.45 am (Astrotheme). He shares my birthday (not year!) Whereas I have Jupiter in Pisces semi-sextile Aquarius Sun, Mathieu's Sun is semi-sextile its modern ruler, the wild, eccentric planet Uranus. And thereby hangs the big difference!

Sun and Mercury in Aquarius reflect his rather intellectual nature. It's that semi-sextile to Uranus that tips Aquarius into its textbook mode of avant garde inventiveness.

Taurus rising seemed surprising at first, but Venus, planet of the arts rules Taurus, and Mathieu's obvious liking for very ornate, opulent traditional style furnishings connects to Taurus too. I'd have expected such an avant garde artist to favour a more minimalist style - not with Taurus rising though.

Moon in Virgo, conjunct Saturn & Jupiter opposes Venus & Mars in Pisces. Two Pisces planets with a dreamy, imaginative flavour are pushed and pulled by three more disciplined and practical influences from Virgo. Had Moon been with the Pisces planets, I wonder whether he might have developed a much softer, more of the lyrical less of the abstract, style. It's interesting to surmise.

Some examples of what he calls "orgasms of uncontrolled expression":


Anonymous said...

This work has a strong Asian quality in the elegant confident strokes and the space holding the marks.

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~~~ Yes, that's my impression too. :-)

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Wisewebwoman said...

This is an artist, T, where I feel I could do just as well with the pieces.
Delusional. Yes, I know.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~ LOL! I know the feeling. Give me a ruler and a few pots of paint and I'll do ya a Mondrian.

It all looks very easy, yet I suppose it's the initial idea that caught the imagination of art critics and viewers. We need to think up a new idea....then get in with the in-crowd - somehow. ;-)

anthonynorth said...

I've heard of him but not seen his art before. Like you, I'm not really into the abstract in art.

Twilight said...

anthonynorth ~~ There's a hint of the Emperor's New Clothes about it, in many cases - but it's interesting to try to work out what the heck is going on. ;-)