Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Paul Poiret, painter

photo from Palmer White's Poiret le magnifique

Je me suis remis avec passion à la peinture que j'ai toujours aimée et pratiquée, et rien ne ma semble plus beau ni meilleur que d'exprimer par des couleurs, comme par des cris qu'on jette, toute l'émotion que donne le spectacle de la nature.

I've always loved painting and I've come back to it with a passion.  It seems to me that nothing could be better nor more beautiful, than to express with color, to cry out all the emotion given by nature's pageant.

Photo: Le style et la matière

Les Adonides  in its somewhat battered original frame

I found this painting some years back, never really believing the signature "Paul Poiret" in block letters meant The Paul Poiret. I just thought it a pleasant painting. Later, I stumbled on other paintings with signatures that matched mine and proved it to be by the fabulous couturier whose dramatic existance matched his passionate personality. This was the same revolutionary man who freed women of their corsets and granted passage to fresher sensuality with flowing and colorful gowns, split trouser-skirts, and exotic turbans. I've written about Poiret before and once again from the harder times of his life. For his glamorous days, this might do. 

His life's ups and downs owed much to his fatal flaw, that of being dépensier. His wallet could never match the magnitude of his flamboyant, generous personality, although he knew great success.  He was an uncontrollable spendthrift in the interest of his art and art de vivre in the Belle Epoque and remained so even when World War I had come and gone and had changed the face of the world down to the habits of the glamorous elite.  He is all the more touching because of his flaw and because he kept on creating - writing and painting - no matter what condition his finances were in.

image Drouot
And look here - my painting is seen within this painting on the lower right.

photo Le style et la matière

Quand on verra les objets d'art et les livres que j'ai rassemblés, beaucoup seront étonnés de n'y trouver aucune outrance, peu ou point de cubistes, et pas le moindre surréaliste. Je ne supporte pas le langage artistique quand il offre un caractère nébuleux et inaccessible. La nature me parait s'exprimer clairement : pourquoi l'homme chercherait-il à la compliquer ?

When they see the art objects and books I have collected, many will be astonished to find nothing outlandish, few or no cubist effects, and no surrealism at all. I cannnot stand an artistic language when it has a nebulous and inaccessable character. Nature seems to express itself clearly: why should man seek to complicate it?

This would seem to apply also to Poiret's own paintings be they ever so humble along side the artists, often friends, he collected :

Boussingault, Chavenon, Cheriane, Clairin, Derain, Van Dongen, Doucet, Dourouze, Dufresne, Dunnoyer de Ségonzac, Dufy, Durey, Duval, Fauconnet, Fournier de la Fresnaye, Friesz, Guillaumin, Guindet, Iribe, Max Jacob, Kars, Labasque, Ladureau, Leprin, Lotiron, Marchand, Marquet, Matisse, Marval, Modigliani, Moreau, Mouillot, Oudot, Perdriat, Picabia, Picasso, poiret, Quelvée, Ramel, Rockline, Rouault, Rpzianu, Sigrist, Thiesson, Truchet, Utrillo, Valadon, Villard, Vlaminck, Zacharoff.

Posséder un objet, c'est un peu caresser la main de l'artiste qui les fabriqua...

To possess an object is a little like stroking the hand of the artist who made it...

maurice rheims

*the quotes by Paul Poiret are from En habillant l'epoque


  1. oh i love this post! have always adored his clothes, and now i know what a sweet soul (and endearing shopaholic - for all the right reasons) he was!

    merci gesbi!

  2. Beyond instantaneous absorption and yet excruciatingly articulate, a landmark statement in personal annals of sensibility and its rapports with possession. Almost equally unexpectedly, the statement is a match for the original visual composition which announces and crowns it, the photograph of the object's part in domestic space, which gives unanswerable notice of authority, beyond compliment.

    I only hope no one dares to approve this authentic testament.

  3. i love that he is painting in a suit.

    i hope to get back to painting sometime soon.