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Herbin by Genevieve Claisse
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Recently added byGlennRussell, ceallen, cecilyart, Naida, MMcM

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I first encountered the art of Auguste Herbin at age 12 and it was love at first sight. For me, there was something dreamlike, mysterious, even magical, about the circles and squares and rectangles he placed so cleanly and clearly, all in such appealing colors - cream, orange, dark green, purple, black. Fifty years later, I picked up this book as a special treat for myself. And what a treat! The color plates are so vivid, showing Herbin's development as a young painter painting landscapes to the mature artist he became when he found his voice and vision in the plastic alphabet of geometric shapes.


My connection with Auguste Herbin is direct and involves my whole being. I know there are a number of ways art critics have interpreted his work that involve seeing the shapes as symbols or moods or something more than simply what we see when we look at his art. I wouldn't say any of these interpretations are invalid; however, my experience of seeing his shapes as shapes is rich enough without having to add any other dimensions.


A quick biographical note: Auguste Herbin was born in 1882 into a family of weavers in northern France. He moves to Paris at age 19. Although he went through a cubist phase in his 20s when he encountered Picasso, Braque and Gris, he completes his first abstract paintings in 1917. In 1931, Herbin paints pure solid color geometry formed by squares, circles and other shapes. In 1946 Herbin develops his `plastic alphabet' essay where he provides coding connecting letters, colors and shapes. In 1953 he becomes paralyzed and learns to paint with his left hand. Auguste Herbin dies in 1960 at age 78.


I took a print from this book and had it enlarged and framed. I greet my Herbin print every day. What a joy! There it is: white circles, orange circles, white square, large yellow isosceles triangle, not quite as large white isosceles triangle, gray new moon, white new moon, green half circle, smaller green isosceles triangle, all against a black background. I am forever finding new relationships between the shapes; always seeing different ways the shapes touch one another, continually experiencing a different feel for the individual shapes and the artwork as a whole, depending on my mood and time of day. I appreciate so the purity of Herbin's vision - such a clean, sharp artwork.

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  GlennRussell | Feb 16, 2017 |
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