Personne ne sait qu'en lisant nous revivons nos tentations d'être poète. Tout lecteur, un peu passionné de lecture, nourrit et refoule, par la lecture, un désir d'être écrivain. Quand la page lue est trop belle, la modestie refoule ce désir. Mais le désir renaît. (…) De toute manière, la sympathie de lecture est inséparable d'une admiration.
—  Gaston Bachelard, La poétique de l'espace

Portrait de Lucie lisant un livre. Jacques-Émile Blanche (French, 1861-1942). Oil on canvas.

Blanche, a writer and painter, had both talent and charm, and he enjoyed a great vogue in his day. His work lacks originality and was much influenced by such contemporaries as Tissot and Sargent. The loose brushwork and subdued colouring of his portraits are also reminiscent of Manet and English 18th-century artists, especially Gainsborough. 

A painting by Le Corbusier, titled “Femme Lisant” or “Woman Reading.” It was painted in 1936.

I’m very aware of Le Corbusier’s architecture and design work, but I was unaware of his involvement in the fine arts. I stumbled onto an article discussing a new exhibit in Paris to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death. Apparently Corbusier spent half of every day drawing and painting, which fills me with envy!

But one thing I envy the most about him is his name. “Le Corbusier” is one of the most hilarious monikers I’ve ever heard. “Le” is of course “the,” which means that he’s saying he’s “The Corbusier.” But the kicker is that “Corbusier” is a complete nonsense word that he made up! So Le Corbusier’s name asserts that he is definitively something that doesn’t exist literally or conceptually! I wish I could get away with calling myself something as mind-boggling as that! (A Humble Professor is a kinda weird name already, so I shouldn’t complain.)

Here’s one more, titled “Duex Femmes”, or “Two Women,” painted in 1948. With both of these paintings I’m in love with the play of solid colors and insanely simple shapes. These paintings are so fun to look at and decipher that I’d almost say they’re interactive.

If you wanna read about the exhibit, click here for the article that I found these images.

Jeune fille lisant (1857). Charles Chaplin (French, 1825-1891). Oil on canvas. 

The figure had an irresistible attraction for Chaplin, and like Kray, who also commenced by painting landscapes, he gradually abandoned his first choice of pursuit for the nobler and more enticing one. His success as a painter of portraits, and especially of portraits of women, continued until his death.