Thursday, February 11, 2010
Two similar Gruppes
A savvy reader e-mailed me another version of this bridge, painted by Emile Gruppe. I am happy to have it to make a point. Gruppe arranged things in his painting to improve his design. You may remember my suggestion for a neck tattoo,
YOU CANNOT OBSERVE DESIGN INTO A PAINTING!
If you take anything away from this blog, that would be a good lesson. Besides using his broad handling, and simplified way of presenting things, Emile has obviously changed a few things to make this picture work. Look at the line of hills above the second covered bridge. Those hills are running in opposite directions. They can't both be right, therefore one has to be a rearrangement.
The window has disappeared from the side of the bridge and in the upper image there is a missing board above the entrance to the bridge. I have painted pictures of bridges bearing this same injury. It must be what happens when a truck too tall for the doorway tries to enter. I wonder if it was there or he imported it? I too have added that affliction to a bridge that seemed too pristine.
These similar but different"takes" on the same scene show that Emile was not painting what he saw, he was making an arrangement based on what he saw. He probably painted more pictures of that bridge, and I'll bet they are all different from these. When he stood in front of the scene he asked himself not only "what does it look like" but "what can I do to it?"
Both of these were painted on location and in one shot. That was Gruppe's modus operandi.
Here are some links to a couple of classic books by Gruppe with Charles Movalli. They show his techniques and tell how he thought about what he did.