Compare/contrast exercise: 2 paintings from the Brian Sewell collection auction.

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Camden Town School: A sunlit interior (20th C)
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Circle of Paul Camille Guigou (1834 -1871) A French Farmhouse

These are 2 paintings that I was drawn to when looking around the sale of Brian Sewell’s art collection at the Christie gallery last month. I have now realised that they are not 21st C (which is what I was set) but never mind, I will do this again at some point!

They are both interior scenes and both have a lovely use of  warm sun-light coming in the one, prominent window, thus allowing for good tones, interesting shadow areas and bright beams of light.  In terms of use of perspective, particularly on the floors, in the farmhouse the floor tiles, in the house rugs are described. Both draw you in and add interest. The colours in both are fairly muted, although the house uses a brightish green; in the farmhouse the old curtain is a darker, heavier green. Both have reds, oranges, brownish colours.

The style of the farmhouse I would describe as more realistic than the house. The house has unfinished areas: to the left a sofa(?) is drawn in but unfinished, the eye does not focus on this straight away. The house scene looks to be more sketched, and the colours washed in -(it may be water colour?) whilst the farmhouse is painted most likely in oil paint. The house has a warmer, more comfortable ambiance, whilst the farmhouse has a faded, shabby grandeur and decay, neglect and a coldness are described in the use of darker colours away from the window. I love the old curtain hanging on a string! But look at the ceiling, it was a grand house once. A painting still hangs on the wall, although some other are stacked on the floor in the corner. I think this tells us that the owners have left and were not able to take everything with them. The colours are cooler than the house, evoking a more melancholy feeling. The house looks lived in with pictures on the wall; the objects look clean and tidy; it is a warmer, happier,  more welcoming scene.

I chose these 2 paintings as I enjoyed them very much ‘in the flesh’, and felt there were similarities and differences to make a good comparison.  The house I was staying in at the time of the gallery visit had a  door with glass panels and I managed to take a picture of the light coming through the coloured glass; the colours and the feeling evoked by this reminded me also of these paintings and I feel inspired to try and paint a version of this scene at some point.

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Author: Wendy Kate

Happily sharing my life with a tall bearded man from Dorset and a crazy wild animal masquerading as a tabby cat.

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