Friday, May 13, 2011

An introduction to art history... and Book #37: Forever Nude

If there was a skill I'd love to have, it would be to sing. I tried once, while practising for a piano exam, but none too favourable comments came my way. So I haven't sung since. Catch me in a church, and I'll be mouthing the hymn! You simply won't get a peep out of me.

But if I could be so lucky as to have two skills to add to what suddenly seems a rather diminished repertoire, it would be to paint. In fact, I would simply be happy to be able to draw a straight line. Unfortunately, I don't have an artistic bone in my body. Although I learnt this early on, so at least I'm not in denial!

A lack of inherited creativity has meant any interest in art or art history, has never really developed. But then, that's not to say it won't - good things take time after all! When I came across Forever Nude, by Guy Goffette on my bookshelf, I knew I hadn't put it there. There was only one person who would have. My incredibly talented, amazingly artistic, mother-in-law. Check out some of her doodles, quilting, sketches, and collages here.

And so it came to be, that last Saturday as I was arranging the bookshelf (can one ever arrange a bookshelf too often?), I happened across Forever Nude, a book described as "an intriguingly impressionistic, lyrical little work... It is a dramatic story, and one vividly told".

And it was! I was transported into the world of Pierre Bonnard, who I discovered, was a great friend of Henry Matisse and a great enemy of Picasso. Yet this book wasn't filled with two much art history jargon, instead, it was more a story about the painter himself, and his chance meeting with a farmer's daughter in the bustling streets of Paris. A meeting that bought inspiration to his work.

It was a lovely, sweet story, and one that has piqued my interest in the world of art history. But perhaps I'll wait until I return to Paris to follow this interest a little more!


  1. It's visible the influence they had on each other's work. Matisse is one of the best artists of the century!

  2. I enjoyed reading your essay. I love music but have little skill. At singing, there are 4 songs that I can sing on tune (out of the thousands I've heard). A friend gave me a simple oil painting. I went to Woolworth's and bought a paint kit and my efforts turned to garbage. My BW is an accomplished dancer, it takes me months to learn a routine.
    But, like you I love the printed word.