To regenerate painting: letters, 1934–48, between Jean Bazaine and André Lhote

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TO BEGIN BY considering two paintings, both entitled Le Peintre et son modèle, dated 1920 and 1944 respectively (Figs.20 and 21), is a fruitful introduction to the two painters who are the subject of this article. The earlier work is by André Lhote (1885–1962), the Bordeaux-born painter who had his first solo show in Paris in November 1910, exhibited in the milieu of Cubism, became the regular art critic for the Nouvelle Revue française from 1919 and, in 1925, opened his own academy to consolidate a career as an esteemed pedagogue whose atelier instruction guided numerous artists in their early years. The second, later painting is by Jean Bazaine (1904–2001) who, after studying painting, sculpture and art history, in addition to making various forays into writing, showed his work and published regular art criticism throughout the 1930s before becoming a major figure in the so-called Nouvelle Ecole de Paris after 1944. Both paintings present a glimpse into the private studio of each artist and, presumably, into their individual working practices, articulated through the dialogue between artist and model, subject and object. In Lhote’s demonstrative canvas, the artist is emphatically male; his jutting pipe and scythe-shaped palette confront the nude female model posing by the side of the easel. On the canvas reappears the model’s transformed body, her warm flesh become dull, monochrome, geometrically angled and flattened into planes, to the extent that one wonders if the painted figure is to be condemned rather than admired.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-321
Number of pages10
JournalBurlington Magazine
Issue number1262
Publication statusPublished - May 2008


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