Eugène Grasset was a Franco-Swiss decorative artist who worked in Paris, France with a variety of creative design fields during the “Belle Époque” (Beautiful Era). He is thought to be one of the leaders or first in Art Nouveau design.
Eugène Grasset’s style of art was very unique at the time (1845-1917) as he was the “father” of Art Nouveau. He started off by making product advertisements, for the likes of jewellery which led on to posters, which led to art prints, which led to fame and fortune. However not just wall and posters but Eugène Grasset also made art in stained glass that is used in religious places. Grasset designed a stained glass for St. Etienne, Briare, France in 1895 (shown below).
In the late 19th century to early 20th century stained glass became extremely popular for popular churches and upper class homes which was great for Grasset as he made some great artwork off of this.
However Grasset didn’t just work on stained glass he also made artwork for magazines, and primarily for product advertisement which was known as “commercial artwork” (we know it now as graphics design). All of the artwork was painted/ drawn by hand as there wasn’t the technologies we have nowadays.
Grasset also made artwork as an activist to express the topic of drug use and also alcohol abuse in the early 20th century. Artists and others would regularly drink a little bit of absinthe and take hard drugs, so as a way of increasing awareness he made some art of a women injecting some type of hard drug into her left thigh. It was very graphic at the time and was very conflicting as people didn’t want to talk about those things that went on. However this is what I found very interesting about him as he did things that were out of the ordinary to stand out from the others, and this is what made him so successful. Success can be measured in different ways, from wealth, from helping of others, reaching goals etc. I have added the photograph of the drug addict below.
I have also added a slideshow of some more of Eugène Grasset’s artwork to show some of his advertisement posters.
On the 7th November we had a lesson about impressionism, we looked at several different paintings and analysed them with VTS and writing down what impressions the paintings gave us. I will run through the details in this blog post now.
The impressions that I got from this painting were “Sketchy, Unfinished and Dull”. The reason I feel as though I felt this was because there was limited colour used throughout the painting and the drawings were very sketched, not clean and precise. Therefore gave me the ‘impression’ that the painting was unfinished.
“Birth of Venus”
The birth of venus gave me the impression that it was ‘finished, unrealistic and vibrant’. The reason I felt as though this painting was finished is as the painting was precise, could be mistake for a photograph. However it is extremely unrealistic as there is a woman floating on water with her children flying around in the sky.
My original thoughts on this painting were of slavery because the black person was serving on the ‘superior’ white lady. However after being told about what the painting entails I realised that it is about the ‘male gaze’. The flowers represent the female genitalia and the black cat at the end of the bed used to be a common way in representing female lust.
I found this painting the easiest out of all of them to understand. The impression I got from this painting was ‘manual labour, lower class and uncomfortable’. The reason for this was due to their dirty, ragged clothing and uncomfortable environment/ positioning.
“Paris Street Rainy Day”
This was by far my favourite painting out of all of them, mainly because there was French involved and I have a strong passion for France and it’s culture. From looking at this painting the first impressions I got from it were ‘looks like a painting, 3 point perspective and models are unaware’. It looks like a photograph as all the models seem to be unaware of what is going on and would be extremely hard to paint this if the people were constantly moving.
“Woman in Black at the Opera”
Woman in Black at the Opera was an extremely powerful painting in my opinion as it shows how obvious the “male gaze” was at the time. There appears to be a male gazing across the opera house at this woman and she doesn’t take any notice of it. She is represented in a way where she seems to know what is going on but chooses to ignore it, this could be due to her body posture as she stares down the binoculars. She is always wearing black which could mean she is widowed and is holding a fan tightly – almost aggressively. I feel as though this painting is good to reflect on nowadays as it shows how far society has come from viewing females as ‘objects’ and ‘possessions’ from a different time era, compared to 2017, whereby women have much more power and rights (which is a good thing!) and aren’t seen as a “prize possession”.