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Jenny Montigny. (1875-1937). 

The Gardener.
Museum of Gent.


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Jenny Montigny. (1875-1937). The Gardener. Museum of Gent. 

Jenny Montigny is originating in Ghent, port river of the West of Belgium, chief town of the Eastern Flanders. Her mother is of English origin, her father is lawyer, civil servant, politician and he teaches the right to the university of Ghent. Its family is completely opposed to her career of artist, her father declares at the municipal council of the town of Gent that : “ arts leave me completely cold ”. At 17 years, after having seen a painting of Emile Claus, The Ice Birds, she decides to become artist. This picture does not represent birds but the children of a village (Saint Martin) who fish on the ice. It becomes the pupil of Emile Claus and enters in his workshop in Deinze, this one teaches art to her and to paint in open air. Although Emile Claus is married, that it has children and is older than 26 years she will maintain with him an emotional relation which will last until the death of Emile Claus in 1924. She exposes to Gent, with Paris and fact part of the group Life and Light. During the First World War, the area of Gent being occupied by the Germans, she follows Emile Claus who exiles himself in London. Its topics of predilection are the same ones as those of Berthe Morisot : nature, children, maternity and the relation mother-child. Curiously its style is very different from that of Emile Claus. Its key is divisionnist but its pointillism is much less tight that of Emile Claus. The key of Emile Claus is close to that of Camille Pissarro, that of Jenny Montigny intrigued us a long time and we ended up finding a painter impressionist little known who inspired certainly it, Armand Guillaumin. As him she uses broad brushes, strong and luminous colours, sometimes close to the Fauvism, and especially its keys are often geometrical, square or rectangular as one sees it here with the zoom on the shirt of the gardener or the alleys of the garden. Armand Guillaumin (1841 - 1927) is a little atypical impressionist painter. He takes part in six of the eight exposures of the impressionist painters. It Marie in 1887 with teaching originating in Creuse and especially painted the surroundings of Crozant, into Creuse in the area of Fresselines. In 1892, it gains 10.000 francs with the national Lottery, which consequently enables him to be devoted to painting and not to need the merchants to sell its pictures. Jenny Montigny saw certainly his works in Paris. After the death of Emile Claus in 1924 Jenny knows serious financial problems, her paintings are not sold. She must sell her house where she lives with her younger brother and moves in a smaller apartment. After its disappearance in 1937 its work falls into the lapse of memory until its paintings are again revealed during an exposure to Deurle during the summer 1987, then in Deinze of October 1987 in January 1988. In 1995 the Museum Camille Pissarro of Pontoise organizes in its turn a broad retrospective exposure devoted to this artist. Although having remained a long time in the shade of its Master Emile Claus his paintings its quite different, it brings to Luminism a new vision which is a synthesis of several currents. (Impressionism, Divisionnism, Fauvism). 

The point of view of the spectator is located on the face of the gardener at the foreground. The horizon is well above one the higher third of the painting. The glance goes up because it is attracted by the character in the foreground, then it details the multitude of colours on the right and on the left and the other characters before going down again to contemplate the flowers of the foreground. 

The gardener is located on the left tension field on 2 natural points of interest.
The flowers in the foreground are located on one 3rd natural point of interest. 

Flowers and gardeners occupy the 2/3 inferiors of pictorial surface. 

The artist uses simultaneously the 2 large diagonals to compose his picture. 

Details : 

The central alley is made up of a mosaic of geometrical forms to the bright colours traced with a broad brush.
The flowers and the water which runs out of the watering-cans were carried out with a fine brush. The keys are precise and fine for the flowers but in the middle of water one finds square geometrical forms. 

Clothing of the gardener, like the central alley, consists of a patchwork of geometrical forms. 

Light: The light comes from in top on the right. It is the light of an end according to midday. One clearly distinguishes the rays from the sun among the flowers. 

Colours: Contrast between hot and cold, complementary colours.

Similar Painting : 

Jenny Montigny. The Nursery school with Deurle.

Jenny Montigny. Orchards in flower and Schoolboys.

Armand Guillaumin. The Valhubert Place.

Armand Guillaumin. Notre Dame of Paris.