Austrian born artist Sylvain Vigny (1904-1970) had a very personal style of painting which you will recognise anywhere once you seen his work.
Plagued by melancholy, one of his favourite themes was the sea, which he probably discovered upon moving to the Riviera in the late 1920s. Often, Vigny depicts statuesque figures looking out on the water...as probably the artist did often himself.
Here, we see a painting within a painting, as we observe a painter with his easel working on the beach.
Vigny had arrived in France in 1929, aged 27. After turbulent, adventurous years in Vienna and Paris - with probably a fair share of drama and trauma- the artist settled in Nice, where the work presented here was painted in the late 1940s.
Sylvain Vigny notably exhibited in New York with Douthitt Gallery in 1938, and at at the mythical Galerie Bernheim Jeune, Paris, in 1948.
Retrospectives have been held at the Chteau-Muse de Cagnes-sur-Mer in 1988 and at the Petit Palais in Geneva 1989.
Mattia Melzi, who curated the exhibition "Sylvain Vigny, rediscovering a talent" in Milan et Washington in March 2014, writes about the artist:
Vigny's works, with its strong brush strokes, are charged with pathos and mystery; in his landscapes we find seated figures on the seaside, groups of men walking with apparent no direction as a hint of uncertainty towards the future and a particular yet disturbing choice of colours. Dark skies and mud coloured seas are a surrealistic representation of reality, which takes us in parallel worlds of imagination made of distress and anxiety. The beauty of these works resides in the power they emanate, the dark charge of mystery that surrounds the canvas and the thick layer of oil applied on it.
While Vigny's art makes us instinctively understand that the artist's haunted nature, it is also characterised by great warmth and is immensely humane.
Works by Vigny are in the collections of the National Museum of Modern Art/Pompidou Center in Paris, the Muse Massena in Nice, the Fine Arts Museum of Menton, the
Muse national d'histoire et d'art in Luxembourg and in the Lentos Kunstmuseum in Linz/Austria.
Our oil on canvas measures 33 x 41 cm and is signed at the lower left. You will forgive paint losses that have been restored and some fainty visible inpainting in areas - the artwork was painting in a period when quality materials were rare.
The overall size including a simple gallery frame is 40 x 46 cm.
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