Catalogue entry

Gustave Singier born 1909

T00181 Provence I 1957

Inscribed 'G. Singier | 57' b.l. and 'G. Singier | 57 | "PROVENCE- | I"' on back of canvas
Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 x 31 3/4 (99.5 x 80.5)
Purchased from the artist through the Galerie de France, Paris (Grant-in-Aid) 1958

The artist said that this picture was not painted in Provence, but in his studio in Paris. He often visits Provence, is very responsive to the light of that region and finds the Provençal landscape stimulating to his imagination. 'Provence I' 1957 belongs to a series of paintings associated with Provence which he began in 1957 and proposed to continue in 1958 and the following year. The blue is not intended to represent the blue of the Mediterranean, but instead serves him to transform and recall the total impression of the landscape in Mediterranean light. It is also the throbbing, the vibration of that light. He set out to convey the feeling of being in the landscape and surrounded by it, instead of just being a spectator looking at it.

'The starting-point of my pictures is usually the recollection of an emotion felt in front of nature' (letter of 20 July 1958).

When asked by Guy Weelen whether colours had any psychological significance for him, he replied: 'Yes indeed! Instinctively, violence drives me to use red, calm, the heat of mid-day seem to me blue. If I ask myself why blue has this meaning for me, I don't think the answer lies in a reference to the sea, but much more in shadows turning bluish in the great intensity of heat. Blue is for me the rest, the calm, the beatitude of the siesta in the Mediterranean climate ....' (G. Weelen, 'L'Aventure Poétique de Singier' in XXeSiècle, No.7, 1956, p.50).

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.687-8, reproduced p.687