Constantin Meunier was a Belgian painter and sculptor. He made an important contribution to the development of modern art by elevating the image of the industrial worker and miner to an icon of modernity, his work is a reflection of the industrial and political developments of his day and represents a compassionate and committed view of man and the world. Constantin Meunier was born in the traditionally working-class area of Etterbeek in Brussels, his family was poor and suffered from the negative economic impact caused by the Belgian Revolution which had taken place the year before Meunier's birth. Meunier's father committed suicide, he began studying sculpture at the age of 14 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels in September 1845. He studied under the sculptor Louis Jehotte from 1848, he attended from 1852 the private studio of the sculptor Charles-Auguste Fraikin. While he encountered modestly success as a sculptor, his encounter with Gustave Courbet’s social realist painting The Stone Breakers in 1851 caused him to doubt the ability of sculpture to adequate represent the contemporary social and artistic issues that were of concern to him.
He therefore gave up sculpture in favour of painting which he practised exclusively for the next thirty years. His first exhibit was a plaster sketch, The Garland, shown at the Brussels Salon in 1851, his first important painting, The Salle St Roch, was followed by a series of paintings including A Trappist Funeral, Trappists Ploughing, in collaboration with Alfred Verwee, Divine Service at the Monastery of La Trappe and episodes of the German Peasants' War, as well as of Belgium's own historical Peasants' War. About 1880 he was commissioned to illustrate those parts of Camille Lemonnier's description of Belgium in Le Tour du monde which referred to miners and factory-workers, produced In the Factory, Smithery at Cockerill's, Melting Steel at the Factory at Seraing, Returning from the Pit, The Broken Crucible. In 1882 he was employed by the government to copy Pedro de Campaña's Descent from the Cross at Seville, in Spain he painted such characteristic pictures as The Café Concert, Procession on Good Friday, The Tobacco Factory at Seville.
On his return to Belgium he was appointed professor at the Louvain Academy of Fine Arts. In 1885 he returned to sculpture and produced The Puddler, The Hammerer, Firedamp, Le Débardeur, Ecce Homo, The Old Mine-Horse, The Mower, The Glebe, the monument to Father Damien at Louvain, Puddler at the Furnace, the scheme of decoration for the Botanical Garden of Brussels in collaboration with the sculptor Charles van der Stappen, The Horse at the Pond, in the square in the north-east quarter of Brussels, two unfinished works, the Monument to Labour and the Émile Zola monument, in collaboration with the French sculptor Alexandre Charpentier; the Monument to Labour, acquired by the State for the Brussels Gallery, comprises four stone bas-reliefs: Industry, The Mine and the Harbour. He was one of the co-founders of the Société Libre des Beaux-Arts of Brussels and was a member of the International Society of Sculptors and Gravers. Meunier was a freemason, a member of the lodge Les Amis Philanthropes of the Grand Orient of Belgium in Brussels.
Meunier died in Brussels on 4 April 1905. Paintings Sculptures In 1939, the Musée Constantin-Meunier dedicated to his work was opened in the last house in which Meunier lived and worked, in Ixelles, Brussels. Today about 150 of his works are displayed there. M - Museum Leuven holds a number of important works by Meunier, as does Brussels' Fin-de-Siècle Museum. Saemann This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Meunier, Constantin". Encyclopædia Britannica. 18. Cambridge University Press. P. 315. P. & V. Berko, "Dictionary of Belgian painters born between 1750 & 1875", Knokke 1981, pp. 466–467. Media related to Constantin Meunier at Wikimedia Commons Works by or about Constantin Meunier at Internet Archive
Le Chat Noir
Le Chat Noir was a nineteenth-century entertainment establishment, in the bohemian Montmartre district of Paris. It opened on 18 November 1881 at 84 Boulevard de Rochechouart by the impresario Rodolphe Salis, closed in 1897 not long after Salis' death. Le Chat Noir is thought to be the first modern cabaret: a nightclub where the patrons sat at tables and drank alcoholic beverages while being entertained by a variety show on stage; the acts were introduced by a master of ceremonies who interacted with well-known patrons at the tables. Its imitators have included cabarets from St. Petersburg to Barcelona. Best known now by its iconic Théophile Steinlen poster art, in its heyday it was a bustling nightclub, part artist salon, part rowdy music hall. From 1882 to 1895 the cabaret published a weekly magazine with the same name, featuring literary writings, news from the cabaret and Montmartre and political satire; the cabaret began by renting the cheapest accommodations it could find, a small two-room site located at 84 Boulevard Rochechouart.
Its success was assured with the wholesale arrival of a group of radical young writers and artists called Les Hydropathes, a club led by the journalist Émile Goudeau. The group claimed preferring wine and beer, their name doubled as a nod to the "rabid" zeal with which they advocated their sociopolitical and aesthetic agendas. Goudeau’s club met in his house on the Rive Gauche, but had become so popular that it outgrew its meeting place. Salis met Goudeau, whom he convinced to relocate the club meeting place across the river on rue de Laval. Le Chat Noir soon outgrew its first site. In June 1885, three and a half years after opening, it moved to larger accommodations at 12 Rue Victor-Massé; the new venue was the sumptuous old private mansion of the painter Alfred Stevens, who, at Salis' request, transformed it into a "fashionable country inn" with the help of the architect Maurice Isabey. On 10 June 1885, with great fanfare, Salis moved to new premises at 12 Rue Victor-Massé. Soon, a growing crowd of poets and singers gathered at Le Chat Noir, which offered an ideal venue and opportunity to practice their acts before fellow performers and colleagues.
With exaggerated, ironic politeness, Salis most played the role of conférencier. It was here that the Salon des Arts Incohérents, shadow plays, comic monologues got their start. Famous men and women to patronize the Chat Noir included Jane Avril, Franc-Nohain, Adolphe Willette, Caran d'Ache, André Gill, Émile Cohl, Paul Bilhaud, Sarah England, Paul Verlaine, Henri Rivière, Claude Debussy, Erik Satie, Charles Cros, Jules Laforgue, Yvette Guilbert, Charles Moréas, Albert Samain, Louis Le Cardonnel, Coquelin Cadet, Emile Goudeau, Alphonse Allais, Maurice Rollinat, Maurice Donnay, Armand Masson, Aristide Bruant, Théodore Botrel, Paul Signac, Porfirio Pires, August Strindberg, George Auriol, Marie Krysinska, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec; the last shadow play by Salis's company was staged in January 1897, after which Salis took the company on tour. Salis was talking of plans to move the cabaret to a location in Paris itself, but he died on 19 March 1897; the death of Rodophe Salis in 1897 spelled the end of the Chat Noir.
By that time, the fascination for Montmartre had diminished, Salis had disposed of many of the club’s assets and facilities. Soon after Salis’ death, the artists dispersed, Le Chat Noir disappeared. Ten years in 1907, Jehan Chargot opened an eponymous café in an effort to resurrect and continue the work of his illustrious predecessor; this new Chat Noir, located at 68, boulevard de Clichy, remained popular into the 1920s. Today, a neon sign which incorporates Steinlen’s iconic Chat Noir image is on display at 68, Boulevard de Clichy, now the site of a hotel by the same name. Other cabarets copied and adapted the model established by the Chat Noir. In December 1899, Henri Fursy opened his Boîte à Fursy cabaret in the former Chat Noir hôtel on rue Victor-Massé, he claimed to have inherited the mantle of Salis, said his cabaret "has thanks to Fursy become once again the goal of all who'climb Montmartre' to hear their favorite chansonniers..." Under the management of Rodolphe Salis, Le Chat noir produced 45 théatre d'ombres shows between 1885 and 1896, as the art became more popular in Europe.
Behind a screen on the second floor of the establishment, the artist Henri Rivière worked with up to 20 assistants in a large, oxy-hydrogen backlit performance area and used a double optical lantern to project backgrounds. Figures were cardboard cutouts, but zinc figures were used after 1887. Various artists took part including Steinlen, Adolphe Willette and Albert Robida. Caran d'Ache designed around 50 cutouts for the popular 1888 show L'Epopée. A poster of "Le Chat Noir" may be seen prominently in the crime scene photographs from the 2001 murder of Kathleen Peterson by her husband and novelist Michael Peterson. Le Chat Noir is the name of the nightclub where Frank Sinatra and Natalie Wood rekindle their relationship, in the 1958 movie Kings Go Forth. There is the famous cat painting with blinking eyes on the entrance wall. Le Chat Noir was referenced in Sakura Taisen. Sources Le Chat Noir 1892-1891 at BnF
Charles Plumet was a French architect and ceramist. Charles Plumet was born in 1861, he designed buildings in medieval and early French Renaissance styles. He collaborated with Tony Selmersheim on interiors and furniture design in Art Nouveau forms. Charles Plumet became a member of l’Art dans Tout, an association of architects and sculptors, trying to renew decorative art between 1896 and 1901, following styles from adapted medieval to Art Nouveau. Other members were Tony Selmersheim, Henri Sauvage, Henri Nocq, Alexandre Charpentier, Félix Aubert, Jean Dampt and Étienne Moreau-Nélaton. Plumet was committed against the academic approach of the École des Beaux-Arts. In 1902 he expressed the principle that "forms derive from needs". In 1907 he published two articles on regional architecture in L'Art et les artistes in which he said architecture should be united with the landscape, he wrote an article that praised Louis Bonnier, who he thought had adapted forms to contexts and needs, but he rejected architecture that imitated the landscape.
He said architecture should "develop in its setting like a flower or plant." However, he gave the functionalist view that designers should add elements such as balconies, porches or gables "as context suggested" to express "the dweller's needs with regard to the climate, the orientation and the view."By the start of the 20th century the partnership of Selmersheim and Plumet had become the leading Art Nouveau company in Paris. They tried to combine Belgian design innovations with French taste; the results could be graceful. Plumet's façades included polychrome materials, bay windows and galleries open on one side. However, the buildings were not innovative apart from the addition of curvilinear ornamentation, unusual at the time. Gustave Soulier considered Plumet and Selmersheim were innovative in their furniture designs, which combined workmanship and functionality. In 1908 Frantz Jourdain was president of the Salon d'automne, Plumet was vice-president and Henri Sauvage was sectional president for architecture.
These three were visited in turn by Charles-Edouard Jeanneret known as Le Corbusier, looking for work. None of them could offer anything significant. Plumet was chief architect of the Exposition Internationale des Arts Paris. Charles Plumet died in 1928. Plumet was the architect of many apartment blocks and hôtels particuliers in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. Examples of his expensive residential buildings in Paris are 67 Avenue de Malakoff, 50 Avenue Victor Hugo, 15 and 21 Boulevard Lannes; the house on Avenue de Malakoff, completed in 1898, was the first major work by Plumet and Selmersheim. It had a simple rectilinear form with restrained use of Belgian-style decoration, seems to be derived from Renaissance revival. A contemporary praised the building on Boulevard Lannes for "the play of solids and voids, the undulations of the facades in agreement with the layout of the apartments. Other buildings include the Château de Chênemoireau, Loire-et-Cher, an office block at 33 Rue du Louvre, Paris.
Plumet was charged with designing the outside entrances to the Pelleport, Saint-Fargeau, Porte des Lilas stations on the Paris Métro Line 3bis, completed in December 1920. Plumet designed the stations; the three stations are made of ciment de Grenoble. The stations are accessible only by the elevators. Plumet designed four towers for the 1925 exhibition, each with a regional restaurant from which the diners could look out over the city, he designed the crafts palace
National Library of the Czech Republic
The National Library of the Czech Republic is the central library of the Czech Republic. It is directed by the Ministry of Culture; the library's main building is located in the historical Clementinum building in Prague, where half of its books are kept. The other half of the collection is stored in the district of Hostivař; the National Library is the biggest library in the Czech Republic, in its funds there are around 6 million documents. The library has around 60,000 registered readers; as well as Czech texts, the library stores older material from Turkey and India. The library houses books for Charles University in Prague; the library won international recognition in 2005 as it received the inaugural Jikji Prize from UNESCO via the Memory of the World Programme for its efforts in digitising old texts. The project, which commenced in 1992, involved the digitisation of 1,700 documents in its first 13 years; the most precious medieval manuscripts preserved in the National Library are the Codex Vyssegradensis and the Passional of Abbes Kunigunde.
In 2006 the Czech parliament approved funding for the construction of a new library building on Letna plain, between Hradčanská metro station and Sparta Prague's football ground, Letná stadium. In March 2007, following a request for tender, Czech architect Jan Kaplický was selected by a jury to undertake the project, with a projected completion date of 2011. In 2007 the project was delayed following objections regarding its proposed location from government officials including Prague Mayor Pavel Bém and President Václav Klaus. Plans for the building had still not been decided in February 2008, with the matter being referred to the Office for the Protection of Competition in order to determine if the tender had been won fairly. In 2008, Minister of Culture Václav Jehlička announced the end of the project, following a ruling from the European Commission that the tender process had not been carried out legally; the library was affected by the 2002 European floods, with some documents moved to upper levels to avoid the excess water.
Over 4,000 books were removed from the library in July 2011 following flooding in parts of the main building. There was a fire at the library in December 2012. List of national and state libraries Official website
Théo van Rysselberghe
Théophile "Théo" van Rysselberghe was a Belgian neo-impressionist painter, who played a pivotal role in the European art scene at the turn of the twentieth century. Born in Ghent to a French-speaking bourgeois family, he studied first at the Academy of Ghent under Theo Canneel and from 1879 at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels under the directorship of Jean-François Portaels; the North African paintings of Portaels had started an orientalist fashion in Belgium. Their impact would influence the young Théo van Rysselberghe. Between 1882 and 1888 he made three trips to Morocco, staying there a total of one half. 18 years old, he participated at the Salon of Ghent, showing two portraits. Soon afterwards followed his Self-portrait with pipe, painted in somber colours in the Belgian realistic tradition of that time, his Child in an open spot of the forest departs from this style and he sets his first steps towards impressionism. Yet soon he would develop his own realistic style, close to impressionism.
In 1881 he exhibited for the first time at the Salon in Brussels. The next year he travelled extensively in Spain and Morocco together with his friend Frantz Charlet and the Asturian painter Darío de Regoyos, he admired the'old masters' in the Museo del Prado. In Seville they met Constantin Meunier, copying Pedro Campaña's Descent from the Cross. From this Spanish trip stem the following portraits: Spanish woman and Sevillan woman completely different in style; when he set foot in Tanger at the end of October 1882, a whole new world opened up for him: so close to Europe and yet different. He would stay there for four months and painting the picturesque scenes on the street, the kasbah and in the souk: Arabian street cobbler, Arabian boy, Resting guard Back in Belgium, he showed about 30 works of his trip at the "Cercle Artistique et Littéraire" in Ghent, it was an instant success The kef smokers, The orange seller and a seascape The strait, Tanger. In April 1883 he exhibited these scenes of everyday Mediterranean life at the salon L'Essor, in Brussels before an enthusiast public.
It was around this time that he befriended the writer and poet Emile Verhaeren, whom he would portray several times. In September 1883 van Rysselberghe went to Haarlem to study the light in the works of Frans Hals; the accurate rendering of light would continue to occupy his mind. There he met the American painter William Merritt Chase. Théo van Rysselberghe was one of the prominent co-founders of the Belgian artistic circle Les XX on 28 October 1883; this was a circle of young radical artists, under the patronage, as secretary, of the Brussels jurist and art lover Octave Maus. They rebelled against the outmoded academism of the prevailing artistic standards. Among the most notable members were James Ensor, Willy Finch, Fernand Khnopff, Félicien Rops, Auguste Rodin and Paul Signac; this membership brought van Rysselberghe in contact with other radical artists, such as James Abbott McNeill Whistler, who had exhibited in Les XX in 1884. His influence as a portrait painter can be seen in van Rysselberghe's portrait of Octave Maus as a dandy.
Van Rysselberghe would paint several portraits of Octave Maus and his wife between 1883 and 1890. In November 1883 he left together with Frantz Charlet, for Tanger. During his stay of one year, he was in constant correspondence with Octave Maus, urging him to accept several new names for the first exhibition of "Les XX": Constantin Meunier, Alfred Verwee, William Merritt Chase. In April 1884 he visited Andalucia in the company of the American painter John Singer Sargent and the gentleman-painter Ralph Curtis, he invited them to the exhibition in Brussels. This time, van Rysselberghe tried to surpass himself, his large, exotic painting Arabian phantasia, a theme introduced by Eugène Delacroix, is his best known work from this period. It is bathed in the harsh light of the hot Moroccan sun. From now on van Rysselberghe would be obsessed by light, but lack of funds forced him to return to Belgium at the end of October 1884. At the second show of Les XX in 1885 Théo van Rysselberghe showed his Arabian phantasia and other images and paintings from his second Moroccan trip, such as Abraham Sicsu.
Yet his next portraits are in rather subdued colours, using different black or purple gradations contrasting with light colours: Jeanne and Marguerite Schlobach, Octave Maus, Camille Van Mons, Marguerite Van Mons. He saw the works of the impressionists Monet and Auguste Renoir at the show of Les XX in 1886, he was impressed. He experimented with this technique; this impressionist influence became prominent in his paintings Madame Picard in her Loge and Madame Oscar Ghysbrecht. In 1887 he painted some impressionist seascapes at the Belgian coast: Het Zwin at high tide Because of his growing ties with the Parisian art scene, Octave Maus sent him as a talent scout to Paris to look out for new talent for the next exhibitions of Les XX, he discovered the pointillist technique when he saw Georges Seurat's La Grande Jatte at the eighth impressionist exhibition in Paris in 1886. Together with Henry Van de Velde, Georges Lemmen, Xavier Mellery, Willy Schlobach and Alfred William Finch and Anna Boch he "imported" this style to Belgium.
Seurat was invited to the next salon of Le
André Antoine was a French actor, theatre manager, film director and critic, considered the father of modern mise en scène in France. André Antoine was a clerk at the Paris Gas Utility and worked in the Archer Theatre when he asked to produce a dramatization of a novel by Émile Zola; the amateur group refused it, so he decided to create his own theatre to realize his vision of the proper development of dramatic art. Antoine founded the Théâtre Libre in Paris in 1887; this was a théâtre d'essai, a workshop theatre, where plays were produced whether they would perform at the box office or not. It was a stage for new writing whose subject matter or form had been rejected in other theatres. Over a seven-year period, until 1894, the Théâtre Libre staged some 111 plays, his work had enormous influence on the French stage, as well as on similar companies elsewhere in Europe, such as the Independent Theatre Society in London and the Freie Buhne in Germany. Antoine opposed the traditional teachings of the Paris Conservatory, focused on a more naturalistic style of acting and staging.
In particular, Théâtre Libre productions were inspired by the Meiningen Ensemble of Germany. They performed works by Zola, Becque and plays by contemporary German and Russian naturalists. In 1894, Antoine was forced to relinquish the theater due to financial failure, but he went on to form Théâtre Antoine, which followed the traditions established by Théâtre Libre until its demise 10 years later; the work of the Theatre Libre was said to embrace both Naturalism. In theatre, Realism is thought to be a 19th-century movement which uses dramatic and stylistic conventions to bring authenticity and'real life' to performances and drama texts while Naturalism is seen as an extension to this where an attempt is made to create a perfect illusion of reality. Naturalism is said to be driven by Darwinism and its view of humans as behavioral creatures shaped by heredity and environment. Antoine believed that our environment determines our character and he would start rehearsals by creating the set, settings or environment which would allow his actors to explore their characters and their behaviors with greater authenticity.
He would only hire untrained actors since he believed that the professional actors of his time could not realistically portray real people. Antoine's Theatre Libre dedicated itself more to the Quart d'heure or short, free, one act play performances, he concentrated on script development but advocated naturalistic, behavioral acting dependent on the interaction of actors and helping acting to find their psychological motivations. Discussions on matters of interpretation and setting were a normal part of rehearsals with actors. Antoine believed each play had its unique mood or atmosphere and he hardly reused sets and settings, he literally believed in the notion of removing the fourth wall. With some plays he would rehearse in the space with four walls around the action, natural set and actors and decide which fourth wall to remove and thus deciding which side or perspective to place the audience on. Plays performed at the Théâtre Libre were "thin on plot, dense in social and psychological implication".
Productions rejected formal acting styles that were prevalent at the time and they built the "fourth wall." Despite being proponents of naturalism, they still adhered to some ideas of "playing for the audience" – there is no evidence that Antoine set any chairs facing away from the audience, the actors still had to make sure that their voices could be heard to the back of the house—so, in a way, their "naturalism" was just a higher level of illusion than theatre had been up to that point. In 1894, Antoine gave up the direction of his own theatre, became connected with the Gymnase, two years with the Odéon theatres. Indebted, he left the Odéon in 1914 and turned to the cinema. Meanwhile, he stayed a short period in Istanbul. Once World War I started. Between 1915 and 1922, he directed several films under auspices of the Société cinématographique des auteurs et gens de lettres of Pierre Decourcelle, adapting literary or dramatic works, such as La Terre, Les Frères corses and Quatre-vingt-treize.
He applied the principles of naturalism to film, giving importance to the scenery, natural elements that determine the behavior of the protagonists, by using non-professional actors who were not tied up in the old forms of theater. For Jean Tulard, his literary reputation and is involved in "giving the film its sense of nobility". Influencing film makers like Mercanton, Capellans Hervil and he is "the true father of neorealism". Antoine concluded his career as a theatre and film critic beginning in 1919. For twenty years, his commentary was published by L'Information, more sporadically in Le Journal, Comœdia, Le Monde illustré. Two volumes of memoirs were published in 1928, appeared in the journal Théâtre from 1932 to 1933. Mes souvenirs sur le Théâtre-Libre, 1928 Mes souvenirs sur le Théâtre Antoine, 1928 The Corsican Brothers Le Coupable Les Travailleurs de la mer L'Hirondelle et la mésange Quatre-vingt-treize Mademoiselle de la Seiglière La Terre L'Arlésienne "André Antoine." International Dictionary of Theatre.
Vol. 3. Gale, 1996. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 24 Sep. 2011. André Antoine, at Cinéclub de Caen