International studio — 22.1904

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among all those exhibiting at the old salon of the
Artistes Frangais? Even in his least brilliant
subjects, those which in appearance are greyest and
most subdued, he always succeeds in discovering
a fine tone and in displaying the rich treasures of
his palette.
Let him paint his workmen strolling about in the
faubourgs, and the sunset glow will be full of
warm and puissant harmonies ; or let him go to
the mining districts, and show the toilers at their
labour, and he will clothe the very furnace mouths
and the chimneys belching fire with true magnifi-
cence. He will paint ragged beggars in front of a
church, but behind them blaze the splendours of
stained glass and lighted candles. And it is
precisely this love of beautiful colour—from which
let us hope he will never depart—that he owes to
his master, Gustave Moreau.
As I have already said, Besson is the painter of
the working-folk, the toilers, of Paris. In a series
of pastels exhibited two years ago at Hessele's he
showed us a great number of new and charac-
teristic on the humble life of the capital.
From the first he had been attracted by this
aspect of the great city; accordingly he
frequented quarters such as La Chapelle,
Belleville, Crenelle, Bercy, and Ivry, all those,
in a word, wherein labour is most feverish,
and brought back therefrom a number of
human notations full of breadth and truth;
often, too, they were quite beautiful, such
as those porters, strong and supple of gesture,
easily bearing their heavy burdens to the
riverside barges amid the panting engines and
the smoke of factories and steamers. AH
these scenes of toilers at work or in the <raAz7T/
have the merit of being "lived," and the tone
of truth which springs from them is not the
least of their charms.
Besson has a great variety of gifts, and for
that very reason it would be regrettable were
he to specialise in a single ^727*g. Other styles
there are wherein he may find still further
resources, and we must hope he will continue
to enlarge the area of his vision. Has he not
already done so, by the way, in his delineations
of the fisher-folk of Brittany—rough men's
faces, patient profiles of women—a whole
of simple, humble souls ? Again, he
asserts himself in his charming pastel notations
done in Italy. Sometimes also Besson has
raised himself from the mere representation
of reality to more imaginative subjects,
which, however, are still a true expression

of life. In his religious paintings he returns,
so to say, to Rembrandt's ideal, representing
these biblical scenes in the midst of modern
life, such as in AM Aww-
(belonging to Mr. L. Braillard), 7A A^Ar
A? works which are really religious by
their deep feeling and pity, but which remain
intentionally far away from any Twwz.sVAzAA'T?.
Such is Besson. But one must add that he is an
artist who is enamoured of his work, living for that
alone, and in no hurry to advance the hour of
definite success, strong as he is in the approbation
of some of the best judges of Paris and certain
writers who grasped the meaning of his earliest
efforts To the great monument of truth erected
by Degas, Raffaelli, Carriere, Meunier and others,
Besson contributes his energy, his work, and his
comprehension of life. HENRI FRANTZ.
There will be opened at the Manchester City
Art Gallery on March 23, an exhibition of pictures
and other works of art illustrating the life and
work of Ruskin.


"FEMME ET ENFANT"
FROM THE PASTEL BY J. G. BESSON

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