Podcast #8 C’est Francais! Jacques-Louis David and Jean Dubuffet

Oath of Horatii

Oath of Horatii

Bonjour!  Welcome to the next Masters and Mod Pod cast where we feature two French artists! One, Mssr. Jacques-Louis David and our Modern, Jean Dubuffet.  Two very different artists, yet what might they have in common (besides being French)?!

It is 1784, there is considerable unrest in the streets of Paris and France.  People are starving, France is broke, yet the aristocracy are living more decadently than ever.

His influences are Caravaggio (and you will find that many artists claim they were influenced by Caravaggio),

It was his painting, the Oath of the Horatii, HO-RAH-TEE-EYE which created a lot of talk (in historical talk, they say “a sensation”) and became the turning point from the art of the aristocracy to the art of “republic”.  The painting spoke to the people.  And this was the few years before the revolution.  If you need a reference, think of what is happening today in Egypt.  That’s a revolution!  They are calling it the Arab Spring, and now maybe this is an Arab summer, but if you look at how the French revolution unfolded, and look at the events today…

He creates three more paintings that epitomize the cause, using classical references.

Anyway, the arc of David’s career is interesting, because he is so tied into the revolution and eventually Robespierre, that he becomes what they call an art dictator – which is not really what one wants in the art world – and that earns him the nickname the “Robespierre of the brush”.

The artwork he creates is very much along the lines of Ancient Rome and equating it to the new France.

Finally, he creates what is his masterpiece, the Death of Marat.


The Death of Marat, 1793, is an idealized image of David’s slain friend  shown holding his murderess’s (Charlotte Corday) letter of introduction.

The bloodied knife lays on the floor having opened a fatal gash that functions, as does Marat’s very composition, as a reference to the entombment of Christ (reference to the wounds Christ is said to have received in his hands, feet and side while on the cross).

Moving on, Teresa and Suzanne then introduce the modern for today’s podcast, Jean Dubuffet.



A French Avant-garde painter.  Avant-garde is considered experimental or innovative. There are many sub categories such as Abstract expressionism, COBRA, cubism, Primitivism, his was art-brut (raw art) although he did not like to be categorized.0709170078

Derived from Dubuffet’s studies of the art of children and of the mentally ill, art brut is intended to achieve immediacy and vitality of expression not found in self-conscious, academic art. To reflect these qualities, Dubuffet often used crude ideographic images incised into a rough impasto surface made up of such materials as tar, gravel, cinders, ashes, and sand bound with varnish and glue. His drawings and paintings are by turns childlike and obsessive, and their unfinished appearance excited much controversy.

He has a very strong stance on what art is or what it should be, and he writes a lot about it.

Would you say that he is relevant today?

Listen to today’s podcast and send us your comments!  You can email us at:



Masters and Mod(erns) Pod(cast)! Episode #1 Greetings From Wembley!

c. 1937 Student artist from East Lane School.

c. 1937 Student artist from East Lane School.

Welcome to our newest podcast from The Art Garage, located in scenic downtown Montclair New Jersey!  In this episode we take a look at the exhibit, “Greetings From Wembley”.  The art exhibit is on display currently at The Art Garage through April 6th, 2013.

Let’s say a “picker” shows up in your driveway one morning and offers you a dirty wooden box for a certain amount of money, along with other oddities.   Would you buy it?

That is what happened to one of three partners of Blowout / Avis Rara Gallery in Montclair.  In the fall of 2011, somebody showed up – as they sometimes do if you are in the antiques business – and presented Mr. Potters with some interesting items.  A quick peek into the box revealed a few simple drawings.  Potters, who loves outsider and folk art and is also a big history buff, thought it might be interesting.  So he bought it.

Popping the box open in the gallery, he slowly peeled back wrapped pages of what turned out to be an impeccable collection of “naive” art, wrapped in tissue paper, of pastels, watercolor , pencil and ink; a landslide of expression.  “Not necessarily Picasso, but really cool stuff”, says Potters.

“I then triaged it, taking out each item and organizing them.  At that point I needed to make sense of what I had.”  After a few hours of carefully unpacking and arranging, the collection began to take shape.  At the bottom of the box was a catalog which turned out to essentially be the narrative of the entire show: an art exhibit and cultural exchange between the East Lane Senior School in North Wembley, England and the Mary C. T. Williams School in Wilmington, Delaware.  All of the drawings and paintings were done by the students, ages 10 through 15 years.IMG_4128

Potters then began searching the internet to see what else he could find, with amazing results.  It turned out that the cultural exchange was a big hit in Delaware when it first debuted.  He found a short article with pictures from a local newspaper which had made it onto the front page June 27th, 1937.  The pictures even included some of the students holding the work, and a sampling of the art in the background.  “This is when a collector like myself gets excited” says Potters. “There is a solid connection with the box that was found and a day in the life of America, circa 1937.”

The box, with hundreds of individual works, unopened for 75 years, a perfect time capsule.  Unopened, that is, until now.

Potters brought his find upstairs to his business neighbor, Suzanne O’Connor, owner of The Art Garage, also in Montclair.  “Being an art studio and having a great art program for kids, I knew she would find this interesting”.  She did, and was thrilled.  “This is fascinating work.  It shows the exuberance of children making art, and how important it was to a child’s education in one of the worlds most advanced countries in the early 20th century.  I was bowled over!” said O’Connor.

On display at The Art Garage.

On display at The Art Garage.

They decided that they would put together one big art show, putting the work on display as it was in 1937, before the collection was sold as individual pieces. “The work is wonderful and will probably do well at auction” says O’Connor.  “What a phenomenal opportunity to show a collection of children’s artwork, exactly as it was 75 years ago. This is a once-in-a-lifetime art show.  A must-see for art educators, lovers of Outsider and Naive art, and history buffs”.

“It reminds me of a quote from Picasso” says Potters, “ All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

A Hearty Greeting! An art time capsule featuring the artwork of the East Lane Senior School, Wembley, England, 1937.