Thursday, August 4, 2011

Three Orianes

James Everett of Proust Reader wrote in an email conversation that time creates new versions of the characters of In Search for Lost Time and led me to this question:

Supposing the duchess of Guermantes could be reduced in the manner of classical painting to The Three Ages of Man, might the first age be she at the wedding of Dr. Percepied's daughter where young Marcel spies her with a pimple on her nose in Gilbert the Bad's Chapel and a wash of red light from the window depicting her ancestor Geneviève de Brabant fills the church, might the second age show her later, flashing her dazzling smile to Marcel at the opera at the height of her power, and might the third show her near the end of the trail at the matinée Guermantes where she surprises Marcel by exclaiming it wonderful to see "her oldest friend"?

A similar format could be given to all the major characters of course, most of the minor as well. Where and how does Proust show us changes in character, how does he lead the us through lives that are physically and emotionally redefined by incident, experience and time? At what point for instance does Charles Morel change his evil way to those of a family man, when does Miss Sacripant become Mme Swann and Mme Swann Mme de Forcheville, what changes come over Saint-Loup's face between his table jumping at Doncieres, his coming out at the brothels and his hero's death in the trenches? And could we look each in the face and tell them, "Oh, I know who you are" at each point along the path?

Here is Oriane at the wedding...
At the Opera...
At the matinée...

Each panel is acrylic on masonite, 5x7 inches.
Each image expands when clicked.
Here they are as a tryptych...

As well as James Everett I'm grateful to Patrick Alexander and Dr. William C. Carter for their contributions to my attempt with the subject.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Charlus as Lear

"But good heavans!" cried Jupien, "I was right not to want to go too far. Look! He's already managed to get into a conversation with the gardener's boy. I had better say good-bye to you, sir, I must not leave my invalid alone for a second, he's just really a big baby now."
~Time Regained, page 897.

But how can we go too far with Charlus, or say good-bye to Marcel's characters? I'd sit with the baron for awhile, let him flatter and ramble, keep his hand off my knee, replace his wilted boutonnière with  a fresh blossom and think, were I myself, of painting him again.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Illustrated Proust

Update: It should be noted that "The Illustrated Proust" is in manuscript and not available for sale.

Patrick Alexander and I have put together a draft version of "The Illustrated Proust". It includes 16 illustrations painted over the last nine months. They will accompany Patrick's tweets of In Search of Lost Time in a final version. The draft can be seen here: The Illustrated Proust. It is listed in the links to the right.
Here are three scenes...
Marcel and the madeleine

Mlle Swann and the Duke and Duchess de Guermantes

Charlus hosting Mme Verdurin's soirée