Pont-Marie

Wilhelm Gimmi | 1932
Oil on canvas | 46 x 38 cm
Parisian period (1908-1940)
Characters
Inventory 12-GIM-0021 | Wilhelm Gimmi Foundation
Photo: Julien Gremaud, Vevey

 

Artistic features

Subject:

Carrier of daily burdens

Wilhelm Gimmi is not a news painter. His interests lead him to the subjects of everyday life, the daily gestures, which he strips of all anecdotal evidence to reveal them in a simplicity that is full of universality. The subject is of no importance in itself: it is only a pretext to let poetry express itself, the intimacy stemming from the depth of things.
Laurence Rippstein, Exhibition catalogue p. 53-54

Composition:

Figure and background | Geometric reminders

Full centre and full height figure, superimposed on a background discreetly signifying the context of the character by a few indications of perspective and a repetition of the angular lines of his posture: the diagonals of the branches of the leafless tree, the vanishing line of the buildings. A solid construction that underlines the impression of both solitude and familiarity between this woman and this bare urban space.

Medium:

Oil on canvas

From 1917 onwards, Gimmi, weary of doing things after Matisse or Picasso, nourished the ambition to set his work on a personal path that would escape fashions and manners. In his paintings, this intention is expressed in simple forms, without mannerism [...].
Laurence Rippstein, Exhibition catalogue p. 53-54

Pallet:

Dominant: 13217934

Two ranges of grey tones: violets and beiges in subtle complementarity, which unite in an organic whole the character and his context.

Background

Period:

Parisian period (1908-1940)

During the four years of the war, he remains hidden with his palette and his models in the vast workshop with its bay windows, a room soaked with friendly light and placid philosophy. It is a real strategic corner from where he attends the walk of the bourgeois and gossips (he explains all this in a very beautiful painting: "Bridge of Mary").
Nesto Jacometti, Exhibition catalogue p. 76

Artistic current:

Personal Synthesis

I can see that everyone is Cézannian, that everyone does modernism (Salon d'Automne) better than Picasso, Matisse and Renoir, but I don't want to do like everyone else and I am certainly more modern by avoiding pastiches. The passage through Cézanne was necessary - I don't deny the influences, on the contrary, they are digested influences - but I never tried to create a clever and easy way for myself, on the contrary. You have to give up a lot of things if you want to create something lasting, because doing something more skilful than Matisse will be out of fashion in a few years. Let's wait. Believe me, I have seen a lot, observed a lot and I can say without pretension that I know modern painting in all its manifestations.
Wilhelm Gimmi, Letter to the Zurich gallery owner Tanner, 1918.

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Pont-Marie

W Gimmi: Pont-Marie HD