I was sitting in the Liverpool Central Library in 1971, researching for my ‘O’ Level art exam and found a fascinating book on the father of modern art, Edouard Manet. One painting left me stunned, ‘le dejeuner sur l’herbe‘.
It is Manet’s greatest work and is my favourite painting. It shocked French Society, when first exhibited at the Salon des Refuses, in 1863. One hundred and fifty years later and the power of this masterpiece is as great as ever.
There are two narratives to this piece. We know that Manet painted ‘le dejeuner sur l’herbe’ to embarrass his father but the triumph, is in the placement of the subjects, in the grandeur of the natural landscape.
This is the reason why Edward Chambre Hardman‘s masterpiece, ‘A memory of Avignon’ made the same impact on me, when I first saw it.
The conviviality of the scene, the essence of a summer’s day in France, is evocatively captured in the Lens of this master craftsman.
The scene is a garden café in Avignon France. The figures are Harold Hinchcliffe Davies, Liverpool architect, his wife Nora Davies, and (centre) Fred Jenkins. For those of you, of a technical nature, the photograph was taken using a Graflex camera, and heavily retouched. ‘A memory of Avignon’ was exhibited at The London Salon in 1978.
I hope you get as much enjoyment from both works as I have had for nearly 40 years.
My name is Steve Howard. You have been reading the digital circus.