“Over the course of his 60-year career, Rimbert produced only 276 paintings and his work is very rarely accessible to the public,” said Sofia Komarova, director of Artvera’s. “This exhibition presents an exceptional selection reflective of the artist’s career and search for the Ideal and the Beautiful.”
Beginning with Rimbert’s early still lifes, characterized by their quiet compositions and still strongly influenced by Cubism, the exhibition illuminates an artist deeply sensitive to the symbolism of everyday objects and scenes. Most of the displayed works consist of street scenes, painted with extraordinary intimacy and insight, achieving mastery in his depictions of “unknown Paris” – a series of contemplative cityscapes.
Rimbert’s artistic references range from the Flemish painting of the 17th century to the avant-garde styles of his contemporaries. Rimbert was fascinated and deeply affected by the Delft School and Johannes Vermeer’s paintings. Flemish influences are felt through both the subject and the style of the works, such as Flemish Landscape (1972) and The Antique Dealer (1964).
The most celebrated Rimbert’s piece, The Douanier Rousseau Ascending to Glory and Reaching Posterity (1926), shown here in two media (oil on canvas and charcoal and pencil on paper), pays tribute to Henri "Douanier" Rousseau, another self-taught modernist – Rimbert worked as a postman all his life. The painting was exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants in 1926 and achieved a wide critical acclaim but also brought the two painters closer together in the eyes of the critics who were quick to classify Rimbert among the naïve painters.
The most representative works by Rimbert in this exhibition are the cityscapes. “There is in the deserted streets, in his Dead End Street, an impressive silence, a poetry without literature. Isn’t the sky of a miraculous purity?...” wrote Journal des Débats in 1928 about Rimbert’s city scenes. In over 20 paintings shown at Artvera’s, assorted structures, churches, chapels, bridges, houses, streets, squares, and dead-end alleys abound. Like a photographer, Rimbert captures the moment of stillness. Serenity pervades the street scenes where the seldom passers-by are discreetly made a part of the composition or nearly disappear into a corner of a painting. These paintings possess sophisticated linear construction characterized by handling of lights and shades, and a luminous, mysterious color palette.
René Rimbert: Poetry of Silence and Flemish Reminiscences is on view through April 25, 2014. A fully illustrated 88-page catalog, featuring over 40 color reproductions, has been published by Artvera’s gallery to accompany the exhibition.
High resolution files available upon request
Artvera’s is a Geneva-based art gallery specializing in European and Russian masters of modern art. Since opening its doors in 2007, Artvera’s has offered museum-quality exhibitions and promoted the discovery and rediscovery of prominent artists, sometimes overlooked by art historians and scholars. The 5,400 square-foot gallery occupies a lovingly restored medieval building in the heart of Geneva’s old town.
The gallery has presented individual and group exhibitions, including “Der Blauer Reiter, Die Bruecke, The Knave of Diamond” (2008-2009), “Serge Charchoune: Retrospective”
Artvera’s collaborates closely with museums, and regularly lends artworks to prestigious exhibitions worldwide.
The gallery is led by director Sofia Komarova. Schooled in St. Petersburg and Geneva, Komarova possesses a vast wealth of knowledge and a wide range of expertise in acquisition and appraisal.