Thursday, February 28, 2013

Victor Hugo´s drawings

"The Dead City", c. 1850 
Ink, wash, charcoal (scraper), 42 x 64 cm, Lucien Scheler Collection, Paris

Victor Hugo
"Justicia", 1858 
Sepia, wash and indian ink, 53 x 35 cm, Hauteville House Germany

Victor Hugo
"The King of the Auxcriniers", c. 1864 
Pen and wash, 19 x 25 cm, Bibliotheque Nationale Paris

Victor Hugo
Calling Card, 1855 
Ink wash on paper

Victor Hugo
Ruined Aqueduct ca. 1850 
Pen, brown-ink wash, black ink, graphite, black crayon, fingerprints and reserves (stencilling) on beige, gilt-edged vellum paper, partly rubbed (taches on verso) 9x12 in.

Victor Hugo
Town with tumbledown bridge, 1847 
Ink wash on paper

Victor Marie Hugo (French pronunciation: ​[viktɔʁ maʁi yɡo]; 26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist. He is considered one of the most well-known French Romantic writers. In France, Hugo's literary fame comes first from his poetry but also rests upon his novels and his dramatic achievements. Among many volumes of poetry, Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles stand particularly high in critical esteem. Outside France, his best-known works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and Notre-Dame de Paris, 1831 (known in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame). Though a committed royalist when he was young, Hugo's views changed as the decades passed; he became a passionate supporter of republicanism,and his work touches upon most of the political and social issues and artistic trends of his time. He was buried in the Panthéon. 

 Hugo produced more than 4000 drawings. Originally pursued as a casual hobby, drawing became more important to Hugo shortly before his exile, when he made the decision to stop writing in order to devote himself to politics. Drawing became his exclusive creative outlet during the period 1848–1851. Hugo worked only on paper, and on a small scale; usually in dark brown or black pen-and-ink wash, sometimes with touches of white, and rarely with color. The surviving drawings are surprisingly accomplished and "modern" in their style and execution, foreshadowing the experimental techniques of Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism. He would not hesitate to use his children's stencils, ink blots, puddles and stains, lace impressions, "pliage" or folding (i.e. Rorschach blots), "grattage" or rubbing, often using the charcoal from match sticks or his fingers instead of pen or brush. Sometimes he would even toss in coffee or soot to get the effects he wanted. It is reported that Hugo often drew with his left hand or without looking at the page, or during Spiritualist séances, in order to access his unconscious mind, a concept only later popularized by Sigmund Freud. Hugo kept his artwork out of the public eye, fearing it would overshadow his literary work. However, he enjoyed sharing his drawings with his family and friends, often in the form of ornately handmade calling cards, many of which were given as gifts to visitors when he was in political exile. Some of his work was shown to, and appreciated by, contemporary artists such as Van Gogh and Delacroix; the latter expressed the opinion that if Hugo had decided to become a painter instead of a writer, he would have outshone the artists of their century.

Excerpt from:

Pieuvre avec les initales V.H., ("Octopus with the initials V.H."), 1866.

Le Rocher de l'Ermitage dans un paysage imaginaire("Ermitage Rock in an imaginary landscape")

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