My Photo


Blog powered by Typepad

« The Bastard of Istanbul, by Elif Shafak | Main | A Question of Upbringing, by Anthony Powell »

Friday, 24 January 2014


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

vicki (skiourophile / bibliolathas)

I love the fashion wheel and the ewe/panther dancing - I don't think I've seen any of his drawings before. What a sad life though.


Don't you sometimes think that some people are simply born with a mind that sees the world in a slightly (?) different way to the rest of us? I wonder what his relationships were like and if he was a comfortable person to spend time with. I can more than appreciate his work but I'm not sure that I would have liked to know him.

Jenny @ Reading the End

Oh, it sounds like a wonderful exhibit -- wish I could see it! I love surrealist art, and I'm really really interested in intersections of art and madness.


A dreadfully sad life, Vicki, one of his sons choked to death on a piece of bread while sitting with him at the dinner table, and perhaps unsurprisingly he died (I think - my French is a bit crap) in a mental asylum.

Alex, I suspect it's impossible to imagine what the impact of his work must have been in a pre-Freudian, pre-Surrealist world. I read somewhere that he was inspired by Goya and Bosch (unsurprisingly), and eighteenth-century satire seems to have had its own language of weirdness but I don't know much about it. But in answer to your question, I do believe everyone sees the world differently, and that some people, like Grandville, have a more extreme vision than others. Hard to say from the brief biographical details I could find on him what he was like as a person. However, someone who was so interested in truth - and his satire seems to have been driven by moral principle - may very well not have been easy to live with. I'm curious to know more about him, I wonder whether anyone reading this can tell us more?

Jenny, it was fab, interested in drawing out common themes in professional and outsider art, and packed with obsession, sex and religion. The curator was a Flemish artist whose father was a psychiatrist in Geel, which has a 'colony' of mental health patients who live in the community and receive treatment centrally. One piece consisted of two almost life-sized figures, one male, one female, heavily tattooed and facing each other with angry expressions and enormous knives in each hand. You could walk all round them but fascinatingly - at least while I was watching - nobody would walk in the charged space between them. Including me.


What extraordinary pictures - what a mind that man must have had, such a strange and provocative perspective! I'm quite sure vegetables ARE angry sometimes, despite the PR that suggests they are placid. I love the sound of the exhibition, too, and the different locations it brings together. It sounds like a really clever idea on the part of the organisers, and it must have been an amazing experience.


I find much art has a beautiful, perplexing and disturbing quality; perhaps that is one of the reasons the painter "must" paint, to absolve himself of such images. But, it does make a powerful impact. I wonder what it says about me that I like Renoir best; perhaps mostly that I'm not daring. Thanks for sharing these interesting pictures with us.

The comments to this entry are closed.