Rob Morgan, Collections Database Administrator
When most people refer to the Cone collection, what comes to mind are the Matisse paintings, or the works of art by Cézanne, Gauguin, Picasso, Renoir, and van Gogh. However, like most collectors, the Cones gathered a wide assortment of material including objects from Asia and Africa, local artists from Baltimore, and six paintings by the self-taught painter André Bauchant.
Bauchant was born in Tourain, France on April 24, 1873. Like many self-taught artists, he started painting and drawing later in life. A farmer and gardener by trade, he was drafted at the age of 40 to serve in the Army during WWI. It was in 1915, while stationed in Greece, that Bauchant started painting, also creating maps for the French military.
After the war, Bauchant returned to the woods of La Blutière, close to the mill where he was born. There, he continued to paint. He painted on wooden panels, cardboard, sheets, cloths – anything he could find. Bauchant painted until his death in 1958, leaving behind hundreds of paintings.
The Bauchant paintings we have at the BMA are typical of his style. He painted a lot of flowers (he was a gardener after all) including Small Bouquet (above), painted in 1927. In addition to flowers, Bauchant also referred to mythology in his paintings such as Apollo (below), painted in 1928. In addition, Bauchant is known for his historical and biblical paintings.
Like many self-taught artists, Bauchant’s compositions have some unique qualities. His trees take on unusual shapes with each leaf being distinctly painted. His love of nature fed an imagination that created these otherworldly landscapes. As André Breton said of Bauchant’s paintings, “This is painting you can dream to.”
BMA Voices is an insider’s exploration of The Baltimore Museum of Art collection through the eyes of its curators, conservators, and registrars. Featuring a new object every day during the BMA’s 100 Day Celebration, the project will highlight some favorite, amusing, unusual, and obscure objects.
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