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Jacques Sauvaire: on André Blondel, correspondence /novembre 1949
Find it me impossible to talk about Blondel as of another painter.
On 14 June, I rang at his door. I had lunch at his home eight days earlier and he had to finish a painting for which I asked… It announced his death in the morning, an accidental fall from a second floor. He was forty years old. I have never regretted to have unlearned the crying.
A portrait of Blondel is the drama of torn off and given confession. With intense clarity he bares all your secrets and your sins one by one rise to the surface. Blondel makes you ten faces, two faces in a few minutes. In all it was you particularly, angle specific but still incomplete. Your anger or your disorder, or your hopes, he enrolled them in color, it clears them, he composed them, it destroys them, take back them and mixes them. He's looking for you, he reached you, he is watching you without error and that's the miracle: it recreates you. Your face it looks becomes impure. He and the pale image of your face on the canvas. Because Blondel has confessed, stripped thanks to you and in spite of you, but that he loves you and he was transfigured you carrying with him in his poetic universe.
One of my few friends, cousin of Blondel, told me: 'I am the day where André leap on its model and suddenly brush, correct the defects of his face from his table.
And that day you've been waiting for, Claude, would have been terrible and blessed day where André would discovered the powerlessness of the painting because he would have just brought her to his power.
Blondel has worked. Blondel, barely. For years he perfected a profession for which he had received unexpected gifts. But that wasn't enough for him. He chose never ease.
With turbulence, with enthusiasm, with violence, it has updated the the secrets of the art of painting. Then his own nature, immensely rich, took free courses by this medium rediscovered in its purity and its strength first.
Blondel put so much that it was possible first than to be surprised in a table. Could understand little by little, by remaking him all the way he did with one breath. Then came the reward: all colors, all lines were suddenly and could not only love them in silence, in peace.
Blondel knew to give. And give everything of himself without anything abdicate. It energizes you warmth, this fire respondent with which he painted, which animated him and which devoured, who was shadow in his light.
This is why the painting of Blondel recalled no other. It is not school paint. Instead, it is those that we must follow and serve as a model. Because if Blondel's original, it's by his sincerity and his understanding of human beings and things.
A table of Blondel is not a frozen life. It remains what it was during its realization, a tireless deployment of movement.
Notre Dame by Blondel, it's Notre Dame de Paris both alone and with all Paris around, a fugitive and unique moment and in all of its lights and its ages. Layman, sacred, friendly, remote, consoling, agonizing… Greens, blues, yellows are aligned and opposed, all matter and all the captured, exacerbated, given spirit to see.
The port of Sète seen by Blondel, is a show and a State of mind. The spectacle of a taking and friend, calm waters at rest and rest the ships, a State of soul where finally pierces unformulated concern and without reason.
His wife and his children were to Blondel opportunities of poignant paintings of freshness and dramatic intensity. Blondel painted as he thought. And he thought as we dream with open eyes, from the realities of wonders.
In the end Blondel expanding his paintings. He was comfortable only in still larger dimensions, but who could still contain it entirely. I think of his last works, which saw him work in this mind-blowing view of trees and roofs, from his window, in this tangle of colors so bright and so fertile.
All emotion is an enrichment. Blondel knew move. That is why it was great.
Blondel was a colorist. He had learned from lunch things are illuminating more than informed, and he was leaving the color to get the lines and forms.
Of the first key a problem was solved. Singing, then, was born in wiry and hasty, sentences overlap without contradicting themselves. A speech, any music, which is was orchestrating with fervor. I
l worked at breakneck speed, as if he never had time to tell all – knew it would be true? – and that everything must be said at the same instant. Want to follow him, was to condemn themselves to lose ground. Blondel distancing you during the first minute. He had to wait until he's finished to take opportunity to join him.
Blondel was a lyric… Blondel is a lyric. Listen to these canvases that vibrate, sing and which is the chorus and is growing.
Blondel is there before you, in every brush stroke, in each burst of color thrown like a cry of pain and joy.
Because the science of Blondel, the success of Blondel, all its rare happiness of inspiration is in this: each of his paintings is a love poem.
He swore to succeed. He did it. His final paintings are the surest evidence. Death took him while he had so much to say, but he had already said a lot. A few days after his wife learned that he was winner of the Hallmark, alongside his friend Desnoyer. There has not been this satisfaction is not if serious, his fate belonged to him. But on us complaints if we use to forget it. Blondel is one of those that we can't ignore. All his work would accuse us of our ingratitude.
Because the talent of Blondel is its sensitivity. A sensitivity to an extraordinary and rare, wealth always alert, never in default.
Blondel is no longer, but his paintings are here, who say it better than any words. He was an exceptional human being.
Lisou, forgive me. I don't know about your husband, my hands are too clumsy to touch.
I can only look up at his eyes suing me, and imagine her smile.
I have to shut up.
But you will know that my silence is the opposite of oblivion.
I got the chance to see him live. I think of all those I love and who have not known it.
The know it was love.
November 1949, Jacques Manager
Michel MAURETTE – André BLONDEL the frantic
We were both, with slow, wispy and soft weather, across the hilly, ridged plain paths and hedges. I called his attention to what out of Earth stands. The village was in sight. I showed him the steeple. -The Bell Tower from here…
II listened in silence. II taught inwardly to his visions. His thin voice suddenly rose; He had a tiny voice as if he had no need of Elijah to express themselves, but Elijah was sharp and clearly.
"But no, he said. II does point to copy images. This little piece of trail before us, drawn by the no people evokes everything as the world, and reveals the intensity of man, where he is doing. Remember, paint is to create. »
Where was iI? An entire people was introduced in this month of May 1940. "Fifteen million men, women and children", had been told on the radio, were on the roads, the heart to heart, bleeding feet, creating to meet military convoys of indescribable jams. One surrounding them to not give in to panic, and panic was rising.
they're eventually stop, here and there, in a hostel, in a country house, and we decided, that the country had an air of welcome, do not proceed further. He was alone. Initially, they were many, we promised not to separate. Now he was alone. It was stopped at the foot of a millstone. He had spent the night rolled in the hay. When he opened his eyes, the Sun cast to spotlight on harvest. Where was he? He knew nothing. Who was it himself? A man to recreate. In the State where he was he would have some trouble to untangle the Web of days that made up his past and his youth. Something had just collapsed in his life. Everything had to start over. He made an inventory of its lightweight luggage and noted with pleasure that he did follow the brushes. That's all what he had saved from the disaster, brushes and a few tubes of color.
From Hut to hut, he arrived early in the fall of 1942, on a large farm in the Escoussols, in the Aude, on the inclination of the Black Mountain, a certificate of Aryan nanti. Ah! He needed this title at that time here. Identity papers had been given to him. It was happy. The master of the domain was welcoming; all his were also left in the resistance networks. II looked with sympathy this Haggard unknown and Degueniile for which he received a password. Oh! point asked him if he was wearing brushes; He hired him as a lumberjack. The task was entrusted to Iui was large for its short arms and struck him as heavy; iI penetrated with her inside the forest where he cut the trees at a man's height and chose the smaller. The master coming to see his work, far from seem irritated before the massacre, was smiling.
I had to wait to raised the light. I had to rescue a man.
One day, the woodcutter offered a painting to his master; the man took her, looked at her, and it seemed to him that through it the world was reborn.
I've known André Blondel and I became his friend. II appeared to me from our first contact as a genius of the fountains and Woods. He knew who he was. me not.
I must say he has embellished my life, it has enriched it. He liked nothing so much as to beat the campaign; We attended together, all mixed dreams, all our torment to create. A windmill dismantled by the time left him indifferent, but a road dug by the not men in land it moved. If he stopped it was to ask "" where were they so those who have been there, to what purpose, driven by what hopes, to what love? ". The March of humanity interested him more than anything.
It was written that a sweet bride would wait for him in the South.
-I would like to introduce you to friends in the campaign, she told him one day.
– And who are these people? It says gathering legeremenl.
He's going in overalls, his holding of workshop. Besides, it's war.
-You could put something else… He said the girl, who knows the importance of attributes vestimentalres.
-Anything else, it's easy to say.
He had for any wardrobe, two blue overalls and a tuxedo.
-I can not all similarly put me in a tuxedo to go to farmers.
-Bah! You're like that, says, laughing.
Friends saw them arrive; they were not warned. She just introduce them to her fiancé. The war cannot prevent love to wander around the world. The surprise will double the joy of all. Women come to confidences. They quickly understand the issues of love, they are universal; they close them.
The two men seem to be more, one to another, foreign. One observes, and the other feels observed. They carefully engage the conversation snippets and phrases they're pushing, that they suspend their fingertips; I' one is big and strong. the other is small and thin; his eye is sharp and secretly malicious; his shoulders are brief. II calmly answered questions posed to him; his thin hands contrast with those of his partner, and seem ready to enter a line leaking.
The man asks him:
"And in the civilian world, as they say; What do you do? »
The bride, to the alert, been watching the merry-go-round of the two men, which loses nothing of their remarks, he did not time to respond.
-"II's painter," eIle said with a sense of pride that amazes the peasant.
Painter! Painter! We know well the campaign what that word means, and it holds than the overalls is suggested. In his mind scroll images of scales-doubles, ripolinees storefronts. "When the devil pushes girls…" ", grumpy in him. he spies on her in the back.
They toast. This gesture brings together them better than a speech. They toast and drink, then the man of the Earth, identifying a long silence, said evasively: "then, work it works?
He realized, a little late for his blunder around him, shared a hearty laugh. And immediately, the shy fiancé became in the eyes of the peasant another. Paint, paint Yes, no point doors, but the sky, the Earth, the world! Human beings humans and their soul.
The conversation took a new turn. There's now present two different, one is an artist, and the other wants to be. The field of art is prestigious. They're ready to talk, on the way to friendship, things they crave.
He immediately found in Carcassonne the path of the darkroom; He saw Joe Bousquet in head to head, who found this curious, enigmatic visitor, and inspired him to return.
In this dark period of the German occupation, writers, painters, quality traffic, went into the House of the light in search of hope.
That day, we live to enter a small, man draped a long military coat, red face, and hair in the light were red reflections; his keen eyes pierced the darkness; He advanced to small not like a sleepwalker, at least as someone who would go unnoticed. Those present turned prohibited, and wondered who might be unknown. The master of the House, was interrupted in his speech, and perhaps for the sake of their secret desire, made bold:
"Do you want to remember your official name? He said.
-I have no official name, distributes the arriving, not without some liveliness. I'm André Blondel and I salute you. »
Saying this he sat and the visionary, taking the word, vogua to new shores.
II had arrived in the small town with the cohort of young people who had lived in turmoil. There was in his eyes this expression direct and somewhat Haggard who was hunted down and had had to resort to living in the Woods without abandoning their treasure. His treasure that was light in laquelIe he moved. In the company of painters and poets of this provincial town in Carcassonne, where fate I' had been, it seemed that his shyness is apparent, its erasure, discretion, his gentiIlesse were relegated in the wake of his new classmates. II nothing came of it. II emerged from his person a mysterious radiation. II spoke little, but each of his words had the value of a symbol; his short and measured gestures were both imbued with nobility and authority. He loved much in that time, and for good reason, linger to talk about the past, from its origins, of his fights, and the suffering were for him a springboard for soar body lost in the new adventure.
Mutliple problems faced these young men came to solve the most difficult of all: freedom. Blondel didn't have to choose. He was born painter. He had instinctively sense the color by which expresses the life, and iI receIait in his soul the passion of great creators.
To Blondel, paint was an act of love and faith. His brush it intuitively pried the soul of things and the heart of human beings, and in a frenetic manner, which reflected the concern of not quickly grasp what he had in mind and he owned, like no other the genius of the hand.
From 1946 to 1948, he exposed successively to Montpellier, Sète and Toulouse and Perpignan. Savvy fans are hit by a painting which reminds adults and not like any. In each of these cities the commission of fine arts, alerted, visits him and, timidly, alas! acquired one of his works to the Museum; but during one of his exhibitions, Raoul Dufy, in residence at Perpignan, buy him suddenly three paintings.
Critics, there also; most often he smiled at them. Those who say: "this painter, see the crooked houses ', he answers: 'Tis you who see the world through. "And these point assured Ieur own functions, go all sheepish, and small children in fault.
In his portraits of children, he painted the candor, enlightenment, ingenuity, or even malice. With major models, it crosses, not point the iron, but he committed an inner struggle at the end duqnel their State of mind going from real to surreal. He pushes the line with equal force decision-making in such sort that can be read in his portraits as to open book.
Landscape he attaches to enter not so much the place, however what is life, and he painted in his paintings the wind, the rain, the cold, the heat of noon. No one has better recreated the clutter of a harbour teeming with human presences, where often the silhouettes are cast we barely sketched. In a period of rapid creation, we I' was akin to Soutine, Bonnard said he was "less suave and more violent, less happy and more serious."
A painting exhibition was held in a large bookstore of the course the more popuIeux of the small town. The first since the war. People sensitive, more hungry than others to new sensations, flocked, and liked to recognize that the painter had a nice hand. Representative of the peach trees in bloom landscape, bucolic undergrowth alternated with abstract compositions inspired by Juan Gris and Picasso. Everything is mingled with some virtuosity.
André Blondel returned several times the bristol he had received and went to I'invitation of the artist at a time that seemed hollow and during which he would have the chance to do not meet people who would ask him questions. Because in pure man that he was, his opinion was good for him. We live to enter the gallery a small, caring, man who was going slowly, calmly from one canvas to another: André Blondel. II seemed to wear its interest to one thing, then another, as if he found them distant and perhaps different ties. Nothing, however in his physical demeanor betrayed his thought. When he had finished, he threw around Iui a circular glance, decided to sneak by sketching a quiet Hello. Already the painter was on him, smiling, gracious, thanking him for having honored him; he approached closer and asked him what he thought of his painting to the ear.
André Blondel looked at him, looked him and without losing his calm, said without hardness, but carefully: "I think you're a whore!
We are in 1948. It will be in Sète, I' one of the main proponents of the Mediterraneeenne school, and its passage in this city will not soon be erased. The world wakes up, apparently from a long nightmare.
That morning, he settled at the end of the docks, not far from one of the large pools of the port that his gaze takes string. II unfolds his easel and fixed tripod. A few steps from him, of remmailleuses sitting on the slabs ravaudent nets, "some excellent foreground characters", he said. Vonl fishermen and come; the masts of the boats looming above the hangars; a cargo ship anchored in a pool side is emerging from a roof. In the distance, the sea level rises high on the gray horizon and the sky is barely blue they appear to one another blend. "It will be good work," he said to himself again. And pan! II suddenly raises a first touch in the middle of the canvas, a touch blue, dark and dull, and the line hand, fuse, up, down, lurches and leaves. We don't know what obeys his hand, otherwise his feverish instincts, but he stops dead. What did see? Her eye goes to the encounter of objects, characters; his brush fixed forms Coiorees provocative, sometimes and deliberately transposed of the real, of life hard, sometimes blurry, barely sketched, dimmed, one and other. Sailors spend, smooth stop. leave, initially discreet, silent, then the first onlookers appear. They are three, four; soon they will be ten. IIs is bolder, slightly wry. "Come, see!" is one of them.
The painter stiffens, winces; the morning is not what he had hoped, yet the light is beautiful and between full Jet in the canvas. He continued apparently unfazed; It does not seek to grasp the detail; nature is his model; things are interrelated so that menu grain of matter, is part of the spirit.
"It's not bad," someone said.
-When this is over, this will be better…, made another.
-It is us it makes when we spend…
-What it looks like…
– … Of macaques, smirks a quidam.
-It's not us he painted, protest a salty sea, it's the world. »
But it's done. The climate is destroyed. The painter still strives to place a button, here and there, but he won't further. Further, what to say? The mystery of the painting is there.
The crowd advances, overflows, centimetre to centimetre on each side of the bridge, to see the mimicry of the painter who looks better, it seems, beyond the objects. II stops: iI did not complete, but it stops. He's no more going before.
"II ended, a voice which no one responds." II rises. He hiding his canvas by devers him. There is the world that his painting; each of her movements she plans illuminations in the round. He dismantles his easel in his phlegm. We watch it. They look at each other.
'' You are us like that…, do they feel bitter.
-So we are so desperate… »
II reads their thoughts on their faces, but no one speaks. It seeks to avoid the misunderstandings broke out. He gives the impression of being alone. II stepped like an automaton. The circle widens. He's not rigid and counted in the short shade of noon, wearing the heavy bridge hand that he's almost, the other light canvas as a treasure that he raise. He took the direction of the mont Saint-Clair, where he lives with his family. He's coming to the baraquette decomposed face. His sight, his wife understand that an incident has occurred. II explodes:
"Savages!", yells – t.He, to be retournanl on the side of the pier.
II recounts the scene of the port, I'incident with the fishermen, and the mime. "I painted the pain and the misery of men, and I put this matjn all the cruelty of the sky above the roof." They can not understand, he continues his shrill voice.
He's mad. II fight with who would try to defend them.
-You'll have caused them, venture it, terrified.
– But no, Lisou, I assure you. I did not say a Word. Read me auraienl thrown into the sea! »
Lisou knows the exuberance of the colorful crowd, who lives in the small port. She relives the scene by thinking and said that it was better that she was not present. She would have suffered too much. This man is a painter, and this artist is her husband.
The fishermen had taken this morning where the party to be unjust, and it would have risked to recognize among them, some of his former comrades of childhood.
For a long time dream to settle in Paris. It was made for a few months. We were at the printernps 1949. Seil was his wish. It was now that he would conduct his fight, happy in pain who betrayed him to his art. "The light guide my paIette and sometimes I sing like a bird," wrote. And in the next letter. He added: "it cannot be described as painting, all creation of which I' man is absent." Sometimes, he painted the trees in red; him no one surprised and never the world reveals it had appeared so great, so real and more alive.
II painted that day there a fresco on the third floor of a hotel particular, joyfully, with frenzy, as what he began, but the spell was cast. The crossroads gave way under the pressure of the scale on which it is perched. usually they open inside, this one, in this old building, opened outside. Such has been the fatality. He went into the void and he opened the hands to grab imaginary branches, in a cry he invoked saint Nicholas of Chardonnet, who the night before, from his window, he stared at the Church on the Web. Very pure heaven suddenly became tragic, as his painting I' was. The fate of this artist is accomplished in this instant in a stone's throw, faster, it seems that a force animates this proposed body. The floors pass. II beyond them to any momentum to the square of the falling bodies. II is not confused. Regret to live is suspended in the air.
He had so much to paint, and his children, and his beloved Lisou to love. He discovers brand-new, unpublished plans, to the theft of his body, which swell, horsing around and twirl. An Iointaine avenue trees flocked all antlers deployed; to receive it, buildings offer to the passage of the oriels in iron; He goes from a stroke. In the street passers-by take no more space than a hat, closer to vertical, and the passage of a balcony, flowers in a vase are part of the face of a woman tied to his terrace. Everyone will be too late. On the pavement, a man, package of flesh crushed whimper barely, then in his eyes became white. This is why he died.
We explain we better now the rush he had, coupled with a great capacity for work, this frenzy in the making of his work, and the destiny of this great artist we appear to have some analogy with that of the great Vincent: a window opened under the push of an Echeile, and he fell.
André Blondel lives in his works; by eIles, we hear him say again: "a well-made work adds to the creations of nature; It is through ' man. There's a gulf between what we might call an impersonal description, a slavish copying and a painting. Some painters reproduce with skill of images without value. Art itself, is not to reproduce, but to create. »
Its easy, familiar, simple conversation was an enrichment for the mind. He excelled in show reports that exist between schools at different times in the history of ' Art, Ies trends returning in case of expression forms, and the possibility that it would be to transform a beautiful sketch of Rubens in a an array of modern invoice. The pure values themselves, indeed, by stripping a piece of the influence she suffered; Deceier in it is the continuity of the paint over time.
André Blondel confirms its presence in what he created so the time of a life lost and found, and reveals to our delight that "everything seems more real as soon as it becomes unreal."
André Blondel certainly had not reached the end of its discovery during its brief existence, in which the war had done in addition a hole in four or five years. What he did was point again, but to continue; his genius will provide.
Michel Maurette. Excerpts from his book "The dream to read", 1955.