05 May 2011

Two copies of Goya and some trash talking by Ensor

My fighting spirit kept me at Les XX, but even within the group I was surrounded by hostility and excessively criticised (even though the benefits of some of my experiments had spread across the group). I enjoyed painting masks. My predilection for them has never left me. I could thus reflect in a philosophical way on the hypocritical, hidden, calculated, and sneaky faces of all the cowards who were crushed by my disapproving evolutions. It was a carefully chosen path. He logically required excessive or hefty colours. He reflected the calculated criticism of colleagues. The ignorance, the bad faith, the incompetence of the critics, the low and narrow-minded attacks from ex-imitators helped me greatly in continuing down this exceptional path of light and extravagance where imitators and pasticheurs dared not follow me.

I always had to contend with unfortunate circumstances at the Salons of L'Essor and Les XX. My experiments were pure, absolutely personal; my imitators numerous and malicious. Subsequently, my development was interpreted condescendingly. Yet my vision was personal and new, and I was able to work in the most diverse genres, for I always understood the importance of light and invariably the line was influenced accordingly. This personal vision has no doubt maintained me in the higher spheres.

I was incorrectly characterised as an Impressionist, a pleinarist, devoted to light colours. The form of the light, the transformations that it imposes upon the line, has never been understood before me. It was not considered to be important, and the painter did not trust what he observed. I was indifferent to the Impressionist movement. Edouard Manet never succeeded in transcending the old masters. Nice, bright, and distinguished colours, contrasting with large opposing fields, as in Japanese art. A great elegance of line, but a total absence of the effect of light. In other words, too much of a meretrician! My enquiry is also far removed from the great fluencies of Claude Monet, a jovial and sensual painter, and user of thick pastes. Accomplished colourist. Plump maker of paintings. Rather vulgar vision. Except for the 'cathedrals'.

The experiments of the pointelleurs left me cold. They merely wanted to capture the vibration of light. They coldly and methodically placed their stipples in between two correct but cool lines. The uniform and all too restrictive procedure is not conducive to further experimentation. This explains the absolute lack of personality in their work. The pointelleurs succeeded in capturing just one facet of light: i.e. its vibration. The formal aspect is not discussed. My experiments and vision are different from those of the aforementioned artists.

I daresay I am an exceptional painter.

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