From Thursday 27 September 2018
to Sunday 30 December 2018
Location : The Hammer Museum at UCLA
Address : 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Price : Free
You know Victor Hugo for his epic novels such as Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but do you know him as an artist as well? The drawings of the well-known French novelist will be exhibited at the Hammer Museum at UCLA in Los Angeles from September 27th to December 30th this year, in an exhibit called “Stones and Stains: The Drawings of Victor Hugo.”
The name of the exhibit comes from Hugo presentation of water in many of his drawings; the melange of ink and wash on paper creates a replication of flowing waves. The greater than 75 drawings and other pieces showcased span his entire career, with many dating from Hugo’s 16 year exile during which he created over 3,000 works of art. The pieces in this exhibit come from all over the world, with special loans from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the Maisons de Victor Hugo. Admission to the museum is free so if you’re not interested in the private tour and want to save money, give yourself a self-tour by reading up on Hugo’s art beforehand.
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A rare ink drawing with wash by the French novelist Victor Hugo. Victor Marie Hugo (1802 – 1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. Outside France, his best-known works are the novels 'Les Misérables', 1862, and 'Notre-Dame de Paris', 1831 (known in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame). He produced more than 4,000 drawings, and also earned respect as a campaigner for social causes such as the abolition of capital punishment. Hugo worked only on paper, and on a small scale; usually in dark brown or black pen-and-ink wash, sometimes with touches of white, and rarely with colour. The surviving drawings are surprisingly accomplished and "modern" in their style and execution, foreshadowing the experimental techniques of Surrealism and Abstract expressionism. He would not hesitate to use his children's stencils, ink blots, puddles and stains, lace impressions, "pliage" or folding (i.e. Rorschach blots), "grattage" or rubbing, often using the charcoal from match sticks or his fingers instead of pen or brush. Sometimes he would even toss in coffee or soot to get the effects he wanted. It is reported that Hugo often drew with his left hand or without looking at the page, or during Spiritist séances, to access his unconscious mind, a concept only later popularised by Sigmund Freud. Hugo kept his artwork out of the public eye, fearing it would overshadow his literary work. However, he enjoyed sharing his drawings with his family and friends, often in the form of ornately handmade calling cards, many of which were given as gifts to visitors when he was in political exile. Some of his work was shown to, and appreciated by, contemporary artists such as van Gogh and Delacroix; the latter expressed the opinion that if Hugo had decided to become a painter instead of a writer, he would have outshone the artists of their century.
For a more intimate experience, the Alliance Francaise de Los Angeles will host a private, guided tour for its art club on September 29th at 11:00 am. It costs $20 for members, and $25 for non-members, and places should be reserved in advance.