Thursday, August 02, 2007


The marriage of poetry, photography and art:

"Il suffit d'une toute petite pierre pour faire sur l'eau les plus beaux ricochets et, sur la plus pauvre place du plus pauvre des villages, il y aura toujours, ou longtemps encore - ce qui revient au meme - le plus pauvre des petits cirques, enlumine de mille diamants: les eclats de rire des enfants."

D'apres Le Cirque D'Izis, de Jacques Prevert

"All it takes is a very small stone to make the most beautiful rebounds on the water, in the poorest of places of the poorest villages, there will always be, for a very long time - that which remains the same - the poorest of the small circuses, illuminated like diamonds, the bursts of laughter of the children."

Jacques Prevert

Izis (Israel Bidermanas) was born in Lithuania. From an early age he was fascinated by painting, and he left his Hebrew language school at 13 to be apprenticed to a photographer. Once trained, he spent three years wandering the country and photographing. He arrived in Paris, drawn by it being the city of the Impressionists in 1931, penniless and without any passport or other papers, and not speaking a single word of French.

Izis was a great dreamer and a wanderer both of the streets and in his mind. He believed in photographs that seemed simple, but were in fact full of ambience, a 'poetic realism' that was much in vogue. His vision was gentle and warm without being sentimental. He photographed lovers, children at play, the circus, all seen with a freshness and playfulness.

He became very close to the painter Marc Chagall, and they spent many hours walking round Paris together. Jacques Prévert also became a good friend and again they often walked around the city together. Prévert wrote the text for several of his books of photographs.

Jacques Prévert was a French poet and screenwriter who was born on February 4, 1900 in Neuilly-sur-Seine and died on April 11, 1977 in Omonville-la-Petite.

Prévert grew up in Paris where he participated actively in the surrealist movement.
His poems are often about life in Paris and life after the Second World War. They are widely taught in schools in France and frequently appear in French language textbooks throughout the world.

Some of Prévert's poems such as Les Feuilles mortes (Autumn Leaves) were set to music by Joseph Kosma, Germaine Tailleferre of Les Six, Christiane Verger and Hanns Eisler and were sung by prominent 20th century French vocalists including Yves Montand and Édith Piaf as well as by the American singer Joan Baez.

Prévert wrote a number of classic screenplays for the film director Marcel Carné. Among them, Les enfants du Paradis (The Children of Paradise, 1945) is considered one of the greatest films of all time.

Marc Chagall was born July 7, 1887, Vitebsk, Belorussia, Russian Empire (now in Belarus) and died March 28, 1985, Saint-Paul, Alpes-Maritimes, France.

The young Chagall attended the heder (Jewish elementary school) and later went to the local public school, where instruction was in Russian.

After learning the elements of drawing at school, he studied painting in the studio of a local realist, Jehuda Pen, and in 1907 went to St. Petersburg, where he studied intermittently for three years, eventually under the stage designer Léon Bakst.

In 1910, with a living allowance provided by a St. Petersburg patron, Chagall went to Paris. After a year and a half in Montparnasse, he moved into a studio on the edge of town in the ramshackle settlement for bohemian artists that was known as La Ruche ("the Beehive"). There, he met the avant-garde poets Jacques Prévert, Blaise Cendrars, Max Jacob, and Guillaume Apollinaire, as well as a number of young painters destined to become famous: the Expressionist Chaim Soutine, the abstract colourist Robert Delaunay, and the Cubists Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger, Fernand Léger, André Lhote and photographer Izis (Israel Bidermanas.

In such company nearly every sort of pictorial audacity was encouraged, and Chagall responded to the stimulus by rapidly developing the poetic and seemingly irrational tendencies he had begun to display in Russia. At the same time, under the influence of the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Fauvist pictures he saw in Paris museums and commercial galleries, he gave up the usually sombre palette he had employed at home.

He composed his images based on emotional and poetic associations, rather than on rules of pictorial logic. Predating Surrealism, his early works were among the first expressions of psychic reality in modern art. His works in various media include sets for plays and ballets, etchings illustrating the Bible, and stained-glass windows.

1 comment:

BostonPobble said...

It's interesting ~ I have always been able to appreciate Chagall's work and yet it has never spoken to me the way I want it to.