Okay, I’ll bite. You see, I have a bit of a problem. Last year, for the birthday post, I did Rosalind Russell. And I would do her again this year. The problem is that wasn’t the only time I’ve written about her. She is one of the great crushes of my life. I have such a crush on her, that I have a residual crush on Jennifer Jason Leigh because she basically did Russell in The Hudsucker Proxy. And I could have done King George III, but about the only thing I have to say about him is that he was not actually cured and lived his whole, very long life, as mad as a hatter. And of course, there is the great Freddy Fender, but really, what do I have to say other than that I really like “Before the Next Teardrop Falls.”
You all know that I’m no fan of abstract expressionism. I’m not one of these fools who think it is easy. In fact, in many ways, it is the hardest form of painting because you have so little to work with. And I think I can tell the difference between reasonable work and total crap. Take Jackson Pollock, for example. Anyone can flick paint on a canvus. But you’ve got to know what colors to flick where and most of all when to stop. I’m actually rather a fan of some of his work.
On this day in 1916, the Canadian abstract expressionist Fernand Leduc was born. And, in fact, he only died earlier this year at the age of 97. In my experience, there are two kinds of artists: eclectic and non-eclectic. The non-eclectics can be very great. I see Pollock as a non-eclectic. He worked on the same idea over and over again. Paul Klee is another who of think of that way. I would even say that Picasso was largely non-eclectic. Leduc was eclectic. All of his work fits very neatly into the abstract expressionist movement, but his renderings were often distinctly different.
With the abstract expressionists, I’m most often interested in how they deal with edges. Leduc was most inclined toward sharp edges, often with naturalistic shapes. But sometimes whole canvases are the same cover, with only subtle changes throughout the canvas. These are the sort of things that photographs can never really capture. He also did more “messy” work while maintaining the same conservative approach to color. Here is one I especially like, Retention Bleu-vert (Retention in Teal?):
Happy birthday Fernand Leduc!