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Alexandre Perrier

L'Uble et le Roc d'Enfer (Paysage de Neige), s.d.
oil on canvas
50.0 x 65.0 cm
Alexandre Perrier was an artist with a great love for silence and solitude. A tireless rambler through nature, he contemplated her spectacles for long stretches of time in order to capture all of their modulations. Perrier would then reproduce them in a sketchbook, where he recorded the chromatic atmosphere of each motif on site and at the very moment it occurred. Back in the studio, he would recreate the coloured ambiance on the canvas from memory. In this way Perrier’s landscapes, so precise in their topographic descriptions, were in fact recomposed and a moment’s impression transposed. As Claude Ritschard describes it, “Perrier takes possession of the motif and steeps himself in that instant when colour changes, the air varies and nature sparkles.”

L’Uble et le Roc d’Enfer (Paysage de neige) [Uble and Roc d’Enfer (Snowbound Landscape)] is characteristic of this synthesising method of working. Rising out of the deep and heavy mass of snow, the row of peaks with their sharp angular rock reflects here and there the dying flashes of the setting sun in a rigorous, pared-down composition. Perrier works the light with tiny linear strokes of his brush, which allow him to recreate the blue-tinged white of the snow and the gilded note added by the sunlight.

After the foreground, all fluid, velvety curves rendered in long brushstrokes, the mountain shoots up at the centre of the canvas, magnified by the delicately drawn ornamental contours, presenting the reality of the site but sublimated by the artist, its projections sculpted by the painter’s brush, its plays of orangey lights and shadows. Pointing skyward, it stands out from the whole of the landscape to become a symbol of it. No other presence than that of an immaculate expanse of snow alters these peaks, rendered eternal here. The painter managed to capture the fleeting appearances of ever-changing nature and place her in a superior reality that tends towards the universal.
Alexandre Perrier, L'Uble et le Roc d'Enfer (Paysage de Neige), s.d.