Eugène Fromentin

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portrait of Eugène Fromentin, etching by Alexandre Bida

Eugène Fromentin (24 October, 1820 – 27 August, 1876) was a French painter and writer, now better remembered for his writings on art and artists - and from his Oriental voyages, pictured in words and in images.

Quotes of Eugène Fromentin[edit]

sorted chronologically, by date of the quotes of Eugène Fromentin
Fromentin, c. 1851: ' The Reapers', oil on cradled pane
Fromentin, 1865: 'Hunting heron, Algeria', oil-painting; - quote of Fromentin, 1859: 'I want to try to be 'at home' on this bit of foreign [Arab] soil.'
Fromentin, 1866-69: 'Lion Hunting', oil-painting
  • What we've lost - 'I said in more or less these terms' - is the proper interest in and taste for detail. We've been noting that for a long time yet the loss is irremediable. In the old days man was everything. A human face was worth a poem. When nature appeared behind a human being it was a kind of backdrop taking the place of the dark background of portrait painters or the gold of the Italian primitives.. .The day when a separation took place art was diminished. It was transformed the day that the 'subject' and the 'genre' destroyed great painting, denaturing even landscapes.
    • Quote of Fromentin, as cited by Sarah Anderson in Between Sea and Sahara: An Orientalist Adventure, 'Chapter IV', Eugène Fromentin, (1859); transl. Blake Robinson; publisher I.B. Tauris 2004, p. 4
  • ..Africa: it's a magic word that lends itselfs to suppositions and sets amateur explorers to dreaming. I want to try to be 'at home' on this bit of foreign [Arab] soil.
    • as quoted by Sarah Anderson, in Between Sea and Sahara: An Orientalist Adventure, Eugène Fromentin, (1859) - in 'Preface'; transl. Blake Robinson; publisher I.B. Tauris 2004, p. 4
  • The things I haven't seen with my own eyes are for me unknown.
    • Quote of Fromentin, as cited by Sarah Anderson in Between Sea and Sahara: An Orientalist Adventure, Eugène Fromentin, (1859) - in 'Preface'; transl. Blake Robinson; publisher I.B. Tauris 2004, p. 21
  • Interpreting the Orient through the arts would destroy it, the artistic exploitation might eventually prove as harmful as military or political adventurism.
    • Quote from Three Nineteenth-Century French Writer/Artists & the Maghreb; Günther Narr, Verlag Tübingen, 1994, p. 51
  • ..that zone of consciousness through which all artists travel mentally, before ever approaching the easel.
    • Quote from Eugène Fromentin: a Life in art and Letters, ed. Barbara Wright; Peter Lang, Bern 2000, p. 276
  • ..an entirely original painter [ Francois Millet ], high-minded and genuinely rustic in nature, who has expressed things about the country and its inhabitants, about their toil, their melancholy, and the nobleness of their labour. He has represented them in a somewhat barbaric fashion, in a manner to which his ideas gave a more expressive force than his hand possessed. The world has been grateful for his intentions; it has recognised in his methods something of the sensibility of a Burns who was a little awkward in expression.. ..He stands out as a deep thinker.
    • Quote from Maitres d'Autrefois; Belgique – Hollande, Eugène Fromentin; Librairie Plon-Nourrit et Cie, Paris, 1877; as quoted by Arthur Hoebert, in The Barbizon Painters – being the story of the Men of thirty – associate of the National Academy of Design; publishers, Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York 1915, p. 73-74
  • ..the great Dutch school seemed to think of nothing but painting well [characterised by] the total absence of what today we call 'a subject'.
    • Quote from Les Maitres d'Autrefois / The Old Masters, Eugène Fromentin; 1948, p. 108; as cited in 'Dutch Painting of the Golden Age', [OpenLearn]
  • What motive had a Dutch painter in painting a picture? None. And notice that he never asked for one. A peasant with a drunken red nose looks at you with his heavy eye and laughs with open mouth showing his teeth, raising a jug; if it is well painted, it has its value.
    • Quote from Les Maitres d'Autrefois / The Old Masters, 1876; 1948, p. 115; as cited in 'Dutch Painting of the Golden Age', [OpenLearn]
  • The art of painting is only the art of expressing the invisible by the visible. Whether its roads be great or small, they are sown with problems which it is permitted to sound for one's self as truth, but which it is well to leave in their darkness as mysteries.
    • Quote from The Old Masters of Belgium and Holland - Les Maitres d’Autrefois, 'Preface', Eugène Fromentin; ed. Mary Caroline Robbins, publisher: J. R. Osgood and company, Boston 1882, p. iv

Quotes about Eugène Fromentin[edit]

  • Fromentin was more of a colorist with pen in hand but brush.
  • The Algerians of Fromentin are much more real Arabs than those of his artist colleagues.
    • Quote of Philippe Julian, in Les Orientalistes, Fribourg, Office de Livre, 1977, p. 76 + 122; as cited in Between Sea and Sahara: An Orientalist Adventure, Eugène Fromentin - in 'Preface' by Sarah Anderson; I.B.Tauris, 2004

External links[edit]

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