Polish Artist (1893 - 1981)
'In the Underbrush'
Oil on canvas
15 x 22 in.
Musee Peske, Colliure, France
Marie-Elizabeth Loiseau: Jean Peske, Ed. d'Art SOMOGY, 2002.
Although Peske traced his roots back to Poland, he studied art at the Academy in Kiev and then, from 1885 to 1888, at the Academie des Beaux Arts in Odessa. Upon his arrival in Paris in 1891, he enrolled in the Julian Academy. He first exhibited his works at the Salon des Independants and the Salon de la Societe Nationale in 1895, and thereafter regularly contributed paintings to the Salon des Tuileries, Salon d'Automne and the Salon des Peintres Graveurs. He also showed his work with the Nabis painters in an exhibition organized by the Gallery Parc de Boutteville, and in 1901 had his first one man show at the Revue Blanche. He founded the Musee de Colliure or the Musee Peske in 1934, after having spent much time in the south of France with other Fauve artists such as Matisse and Derain. The Galerie Durand-Ruel exhibited his works both in New York and Paris and in 1950, the Salon des Independants gave Peske a major retrospective.
Peske developed close relationships with Le Serusier and Toulouse-Lautrec as he became intrically woven into the fabric of French life as of 1895. They taught him the technique of lithography, and Pissaro taught him dry-point and aquatint. His choice of intimate subject matter and interior scenes is in line with that of the Nabis artists; his use of bright colors silhouetted by dark contours is borrowed directly from the Ecole de Pont-Aven; and his bold, broad brushstrokes of color and simplified composition is derived from Post-Impressionism. He applied the oil in thick arabesques, adding movement and lyricism to his canvases. His choice of mauves, deep reds and golden yellows was inspired by baroque works and the luminous theater designs for the the Ballet Russe. His prints, pastels and watercolors are very powerful yet delicately rendered, revealing an artist dedicated to the idea of combining liberty of technique with creativity and imagination.