Studio: international art — 56.1912

Page: 266
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Albert Besnard in India

Albert besnard in india.

BY HENRI FRANTZ.

There is something most admirable in
the recent evolution of the work of the painter
Albert Besnard. This great artist, indisputably
one of the masters of the French school, appears to
have arrived at the zenith and at the full maturity
of his talent. Complete master of his technique,
he might content himself in his artistic career by
continuing to improvise upon the themes and
subjects which have already afforded him the in-
spiration of so many fine pieces.

Delacroix once said that Nature is a dictionary
in which the artist should be ever searching for a
new idea. Besnard would seem to have experienced
the desire to pry still further into those pages. He
felt the wish to rejuvenate himself, to discover in
other aspects of life and of nature a new youth—
and this was the motive that prompted him to visit
India.

One can imagine the profound emotion which
such a colourist must have experienced on finding
himself thus transported for some months into the

midst of a new civilisation, a region that presented
to him an absolutely unexplored field of observa-
tion, an unexpected harvest of lines and forms.
Then, after a sojourn in India, after having travelled
throughout the length and breadth of this land of
the mysterious East, Besnard established himself
for a time in his quiet retreat at Talloires, so as to
arrange and give definite form to the innumerable
notes, sketches, and rapid impressions which he
had brought back with him. In the course of his
travels he had visited Ceylon and its temples,
Kandy, Benares, Agra, Delhi, Jaipur, Udaipur,
Bombay, Madura, Trichinopoli, Tanjore, Pondi-
chery, Madras, Hyderabad, and Calcutta; that is
to say, all the principal aspects of this immense
country, unknown to our painters at large except
through the medium of books, passed before the
artist’s eyes.

This colossal work, so enormous as to make us
ask by what witchcraft one man was able in so
short a time to create so many forms and colours,
was exhibited recently at the galleries of Georges
Petit in Paris; but, although the exhibition has
been closed now for some time, it cannot but

BESNARD IN HIS STUDIO
266

FROM A PHOTOGRAPH BY M. VIZZAVONA
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