Hommage à Jean Delville

by Alden Cole on January 26, 2014 · 0 comments

HomageaDelville2WP#5 in the New Drawings from Old (1974-2014) series, using a #2 pencil on paper, 14″ x 10″

 1.17.2014. After a week focused on mundane matters, I returned to the drawing board for a couple hours to finish up a sketch inspired years before by the work of Belgian Symbolist artist, Jean Delville (1867-1953), who like myself, was a great lover of Wagner, particularly the music of Tristan und Isolde.

SoulLoveWPInspired by the artistry of both Delville and Wagner I sketched the idea for today’s art in just a matter of minutes one day in 1974, deriving direct inspiration from Delville’s luminous painting L’amour des ames (created in 1900, now in the collection of Musée d’Ixelles, Brussels). My first introduction to this piece was a b&w reproduction in Philippe Jullien’s Dreamers of Decadence, published in 1971, an early volume devoted to the then-neglected works of the Symbolist generation, those artists of Europe’s Belle Epoque whose works were driven by poetry and the world of the imagination rather than by the Impressionists concerns with light and transience. Discovering the work of the Symbolists, and Delville’s in particular, was a revelation to me, a validation that my pursuit of lyricism and beauty in art was still a viable goal. Years later I was thrilled to discover a reproduction of the work in full, glorious color in another volume on the period.

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