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Alexandre Perrier

Vue du Mont-Blanc, s.d.
oil and tempera on canvas
100.0 x 194.0 cm
Vue du Mont-Blanc (View of Mont Blanc) corresponds to the Alpine landscape that Alexandre Perrier most frequently reproduced in his lifetime, playing on different points of view, according to the weather conditions and innumerable variations of light that the subject afforded him. Here the massif emerges from the atmospheric haze that wraps the whole composition like a vision between a recollection and an apparition. The white light of day lends the landscape a serene and silent clarity, which is further emphasised by the misty rendering of certain surfaces.

This blurry soft-focus treatment is characteristic of a new technique developed by Perrier in 1908 when he begins to dilute his pigment and the paint on the canvas takes on the look of watercolour. During this period, the effects of the Divisionism of his early years practically disappear, proof of the constant stylistic evolution of a painter who is endlessly in search of the most fitting manner to translate what he sees and feels before nature.

Like all of Perrier’s landscapes, this one is meticulously constructed. In the foreground, a merry dance of wild flowers stands out against a background of green pasture in a contrast that pits an exacting treatment of plant details against a more general view of the landscape, with Mont Blanc rising in the centre of the image. Like a dainty lace edge, the peak cuts a neat figure against the sky with a precision that runs counter to the patches of mist that trim the landscape like an ether wrapping and softening its outlines. In Perrier’s work, the pigments themselves are so attenuated, the layers of colour so thin that this Alpine panorama seems to spring from the canvas like a furtive vision. The spatial arrangement of the motif and its pictorial treatment transform it into a timeless image that works toward an “interpenetration of the real world and the world of the mind”, to borrow Christoph Vögele’s terms.
Alexandre Perrier, Vue du Mont-Blanc, s.d.