March 15, 2016

Rainy Day

        March is behaving properly today with a steady, chilly rain, so I’m celebrating with this relief block print of another rainy day.  I don’t have much information about this one, but I’m guessing late 1920’s and linoleum.  The artist is Robert Bonfils (French, 1886-1972), not to be confused with an American Robert Bonfils who painted many trashy pulp paperback covers around the 1960’s.  Our Bonfils had this piece featured in The New Woodcut compiled by Malcolm C. Salaman in 1930, so he was clearly sufficiently prominent in the fine art establishment to be recognized in that book.
        I like the funny perspective, where the street seems to be arced over the top of a hill.  I like the suggestion of reflection at the people’s feet, making the ground look wet - in fact the street looks streaming.  The two women seem to be having an unpleasant time of it, one hunched against the rain, the other with her skirt blowing and her umbrella closed, presumably due to the wind - this piece is entitled “The Storm.”  The man, however, looks quite insouciant.  He might almost break out singin’ and dancin’ in the rain.  (Interestingly, the song “Singin’ in the Rain” by Freed and Brown was published in 1929, written somewhere right around the same time as this piece was made, despite not becoming popularized in the movie of the same name until 1952.)
        Personally, I’m happy enough to stay inside today, and get my rain at second hand, transformed through art from dreariness to beauty.

[Picture: L’Orage, relief block print by Robert Bonfils, c 1920’s (Image from The New Woodcut, Malcolm C. Salaman, 1930)]

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