Homage to Bernard Dorival, art expert extraordinaire
Experts are coming and going but some experts leave behind them an enormous legacy. Bernard Dorival, who I met several times, for Rouault, Pevsner, Matisse etc was an extraordinary gentleman, I have the highest esteem for him. I remember his place in Saint Germain, art books were welcoming you in the entry, they were everywhere.
This is a long blog page but not long enough to explain all what this man did.
Information from wikipedia. Bernard Dorival, born on September 14, 1914, in Paris and died on December 11, 2003, in Thiais, is a French art historian and critic. Biography Appointed assistant curator of the National Museum of Modern Art in 1941, he will contribute alongside Jean Cassou to the enrichment of contemporary painting collections. At the same time, he taught at the École du Louvre from 1941 until 1965, where he successively occupied the chairs of history of modern French Painting and history of ancient French Painting. He organized many retrospective exhibitions of 20th-century painters there. Although still curator at the Museum of Modern Art, he was in charge of the Musée national des Granges de Port-Royal organization. Bernard Dorival wrote the catalog raisonné of Philippe de Champaigne in 1976 . Childhood Bernard Dorival was born into an environment of collectors and artists. His mother's family, Suzanne Beurdeley (1889-1943), reached prosperity around 1830 originally from Burgundy , his great-great-grandfather, Jean Beurdeley (1772-1853), who had served in the Russian campaign as a quartermaster, was a modest upholsterer and furniture merchant from rue Saint-Honoré when, thanks to a bequest made to his children by an Englishman, he was able to buy the Pavilion of Hanover. It was there that in 1840 his son Louis-Auguste-Alfred Beurdeley (1808-1883) was a "merchant of curiosities". As shown by the nine sales he organized in Paris or London, he became an important art dealer between 1846 and 1868. At the same time, he was a prominent cabinetmaker who obtained a gold medal at the Universal Exhibition. At his death, his collections of works of art are dispersed in four sales. His son, Alfred Beurdeley (1847-1919), was a famous manufacturer of bronzes and cabinetmaking whose works were admired at the Universal Exhibitions in Amsterdam (1878) and Paris (1889). He is also a passionate collector of paintings and drawings, specializing in particular in the "little masters" of the 19th century. On the death of his wife in 1895, he closed his factory, selling the models, and disposing of around 11,000 drawings and works of art. Remarried in 1899, he reconstituted an enormous collection of paintings, drawings, and prints, which were dispersed upon his death during nineteen sales between 1920 and 1922. The son born from his second marriage, Marcel (1899-1978), a lawyer at the Council of State and at the Court of Cassation, bought a small part of his father's collection and decided to complete it. Under the influence of his nephew Bernard, he opened it up to modernity, especially to abstracts. Like the Beurdeleys, the Dorivals have been a Parisian family for several generations, but it is more modest financially. One of Bernard's uncles, Géo Dorival, was a famous poster artist who, through his marriage, would become the director of L'Art et la Mode (see national archives F/7/15299). His father, André (1886-1956), won first prize in piano at the Conservatoire de Paris. Bernard Dorival's father remains in the musical world, since he takes care of the tours abroad of the first prizes of the Paris Conservatory. André Dorival liked French and Germanic music. He was a friend of André Messager and Maurice Ravel. Bernard Dorival inherited his father's musical tastes, with the exception of Wagner. But he also appreciated Offenbach and the composers of the 20th century. Bernard also owes his love of the mountains to his father. André Dorival first stayed in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains in 1904. Later, he became president of the Paris-Chamonix section of the Club Alpin Français and, every year until 1955, the year before his death, as soon as he arrived in Saint-Gervais during the holidays, he climbed Mont-Blanc and inspected the various refuges managed by the Club Alpine. Bernard Dorival's sister, Janine (1920-2010), was the godmother of one of these shelters. Studies Bernard follows his schooling at the Lycée Carnot. Scientific subjects interest him moderately. On the other hand, he is passionate about French literature and history. His tastes lead him more particularly towards the French 17th century, in particular the environment of Port -Royal . In the general competition, he obtained the first accessit of French in 1930 and the first price of history in 1931. From then on, the path was traced. A pupil of hypokhâgne and khâgne at the Lycée Condorcet , he was admitted to the École Normale Supérieure on rue d'Ulm in 1934.A close friendship binds him to Jean Bousquet, a few years older than him, who introduced him to a student at Sorbonne, the future historian of the Vandals, Christian Courtois, who was to become one of his best friends. Several of his classmates will remain close friends for life : François Chamoux , Paul-Marie Duval , Jacques Voisine. His vocation for the history of art asserts itself at this time: he read the works of Émile Male, followed the courses of Henri Focillon and Pierre Lavedan, met Louis Hautecœur, to whom he would always remain close. Later, he will follow the seminar of Ignace Meyerson, who counted a lot in his thinking. In 1935-1936, he wrote a diploma of higher studies on the painted representations of Saint Jerome and, on this occasion, brought together photographic documentation of exceptional breadth. In 1937 he was graduate of letters and was appointed first year teacher at the Lycée de Laon, a city whose cathedral fascinated him. However, he keeps ties with the Ecole Normale Supérieure through Robert Garric's Social Teams. It was thanks to the Social Teams that he met students younger than him, such as Philippe Rebeyrol, future French ambassador, Pierre Golliet, future oratorian and professor at the University of Nijmegen, Gilles Chaîne, resistance fighter who died in 1944, or Maurice Besset, whom he helped bring to the National Museum of Modern Art in the early 1960s. Thanks to the Teams too, his Catholicism , marked by Jansenism, the rejection of worldly values , and a certain Gallicanism , acquires a dimension of openness to society and, later, to the Third World. If he appreciates in part the pontificate of Pius XI , he passes a severe judgment on that of Pius XII. Later, he is in tune with the great wind that John XXIII and the Vatican II Council blow on a Church that he considers too centered on itself and insufficiently concerned about the poor. His contacts with the Dominican Father Boisselot, who ran the newspaper Sept, and with François Mauriac, whose work he admired and whom he consulted regularly, also helped in this development. However, Bernard Dorival will never be a leftist Catholic. What mobilizes him is the transmission of the faith: he trains several catechumens who will maintain relations with him marked by affection and respect. He distrusts discourse on social justice, which too often leads to the establishment of totalitarianism. After the war, he was close to the People's Republican Movement (MRP). In 1969, following the failure of the referendum, he will become, like many, an orphan of de Gaulle. Then he will be a faithful voter of General de Gaulle, in whom he discerns a desire for social openness and whose decolonizing action he appreciates, but also the sense of the greatness of France. If he tolerates Georges Pompidou , perhaps because he is an archicube, he judges Valéry Giscard d'Estaing with severity, he describes François Mitterrand as "François III" and Jacques Chirac appears to him devoid of any conviction. The National Museum of Modern Art After the year spent at the Lycée de Laon (1938-1939), Bernard Dorival was appointed resident of the Thiers Foundation. At the time of the declaration of war, as he has been reformed since 1934, hecould not be mobilized. At the start of the 1939 school year, he was preparing to join the Lycée du Val-André, an annex to the Lycée de Rennes, when he was appointed resident of the Casa Velasquez in Madrid (December 1939). In February 1940, he became a professor at the French Institute and at the Barcelona high school. He takes advantage of this year spent in Catalonia to learn Castilian(the use of Catalan is then severely repressed). In 1941, his career underwent a major reorientation. He left the world of public education for that of museums. On January 1, 1941, thanks to Louis Hautecœur , he was appointed project manager at the National Museum of Modern Art (MNAM), which no longer has a curator since Vichy dismissed Jean Cassou in September 1940. In May of the same year, he became assistant curator of the same museum. His artistic tastes for "degenerate art" earned him to be violently taken to task by the Vichyssoise press. The National Museum of Modern Art partially opened to the public on August 6, 1942 at the Palais de Tokyo. At the Liberation, he was called upon to fulfill official cultural missions in Germany, England, Austria, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, then, in August 1946, he was send to UNESCO, in London, as an adviser in the section of Culture. But he resigned after six months and resumed his duties as assistant curator of the MNAM to Jean Cassou, who returned to his post in 1945. The National Museum of Modern Art was officially inaugurated on June 9, 1947 at the Palais de Tokyo. The two men have a deep esteem for each other, and the generational gap that separates them allows them to complement each other very well and define an intelligent and open policy for enriching the collections. In nearly twenty years of joint work, until 1964, they were to constitute one of the most important museums of contemporary art in the world, despite limited budgetary means, mainly thanks to donations, donations and bequests from artists and collectors. In 1967, Bernard Dorival became chief curator of the MNAM. Art historian Entering the world of museums does not cut Bernard Dorival off from teaching. From October 1941, he was a substitute professor at the École du Louvre. Then he occupied the chair of history of modern French Painting from 1942 to 1946 and from 1956 to 1965, the chair of history of ancient French Painting from 1946 to 1954. It was there that he trained young women and young men of quality, some of whom will assist him in his duties as curator, and which will then become renowned curators : for example, Françoise Cachin , Françoise Debaisieux, Jean-Luc Dufresne, Danièle Giraudy, François Gobin, Michel Hoog, Michel Laclotte , Bernard de Montgolfier, Mady Ménier, Denis Milhau, Thérèse Picquenard, Gérard Régnier , Daniel Ternois. He also exercises his talents as a pedagogue in the numerous conferences that he gives in France and in about fifteen European countries, in Latin America, in Canada, in Morocco, in India and in Japan, a country who will be particularly dear to him. It was at the École du Louvre that at the start of the 1942 academic year, he met a student eight years his junior, Claude de la Brosse, who would become his wife. From their marriage, celebrated in May 1944, four children were born: Gilles (born in 1945, retired university professor), Anne (born in 1946, psychotherapist), Pascal (born in 1949, retired company director) and Jérôme (born in 1950, composer and musicologist). These four children will give Bernard and Claude thirteen grandchildren. Bernard Dorival was the man of European abstract art and the movements that preceded or accompanied it, the Nabis, Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism, Dadaism, and Surrealism. However, he was well acquainted with the general history of French Painting, to which he devoted his first book published in 1942, La Peinture française ; in 1953 and 1961 he edited The Famous Painters in two volumes. But very quickly it was French and European Painting of the end of the 19th century and the 20th century which mainly held his attention: between 1943 and 1946, he published the three volumes of Stages of contemporary French Painting; other important books will follow: La Belle Histoire de la Fée Électricité by Raoul Dufy, Paris, 1953; Five studies on Georges Rouault, Paris, 1956; The Painters of the 20th Century ( volume 1 Nabis, Fauves, Cubism; volume 2 From Cubism to Abstraction), Paris, 1957; The School of Paris at the Museum of Modern Art, Paris, 1961; Contemporary Painters, 1964 (= Volume 3 of Famous Painters ); Drawing in the work of Antoine Pevsner, Paris, 1965; the fourth volume of the History of Art of the Encyclopedia of the Pléiade, From Realism to Our Days, Paris, 1969. He also publishes exhibition catalogs, as well as numerous articles and prefaces. Pablo Picasso's creativity fascinated him, but he probably preferred his sculptures to his Painting. Among the artists of the 20th century, he perhaps put [Personal interpretation?] above all Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque, Paul Cézanne (to whom he devoted a book in 1948, Cézanne ), Paul Gauguin (whose he published the Notebook of Tahiti in 1954), Henri Matisse and Auguste Rodin . Among other painters, he admired Robert and Sonia Delaunay(to each of whom he devoted a study), Raoul Dufy (on whom he wrote a monograph), Kupka (whom he held to be the inventor of abstraction), Georges Rouault (on whom he published several works), Félix Vallotton (on whom he gave a study), Paul Krôn (on whom he also wrote, Jacques Villon (who presided over a memorable dinner which will be discussed later; among the sculptors, we can cite Constantin Brancusi (who bequeathed his workshop to the MNAM), Antoine Pevsner(on whom he published a book), Germaine Richier (whom, with others, he obtained the return of Christ on the cross in the nave of the Plateau d'Assy church; the architect Le Corbusier , whose Notre-Dame-du-Haut de Ronchamp chapel he liked to visit. Bernard Dorival brought in works by many of the artists he appreciated at the MNAM and he obtained several bequests and donations from them (thus, the Brancusi workshop, the Delaunays, Dufy, André Dunoyer de Segonzac , Wassily Kandinsky 15 , Zoltán Kemény , Kupka , Antoine Pevsner , Rouault), the Greek Alkis Pierrakos . He has devoted exhibitions to several of them, at the MNAM and in various provincial towns: among others, Bonnard, Alexander Calder , Marc Chagall , Delaunay, Dada , Maurice Denis ,Kees van Dongen , Dufy, Kemeny, Paul Klee , Amédée de la Patellière , Le Corbusier , Albert Marquet , Constant Permeke , Pevsner, Rouault, Paul Signac , Pierre Soulages , Édouard Vuillard , the Fauves . Among the painter and sculptor friends of his generation, we can cite Jean-Michel Atlan (to whom he devoted a monograph in 1962, Atlan, artistic biography essay ), Jean Bazaine (whose stained glass windows of the Saint-Séverin church he admired ), Hans Hartung (who had to organize himself his retrospective following the resignation of Bernard Dorival from his duties at the MNAM), Ladislas Kijno (whom he knew from the Plateau d'Assy), Alfred Manessier (whose spirituality he felt close to), Jean The Moal(whose retrospective exhibition in Metz in 1963 he prefaced), Nicolas de Staël (from whom he bought Composition en gris et vert in 1950 for the MNAM), Édouard Pignon , Pierre Soulages , Árpád Szenes , Maria Elena Vieira da Silva and Zao Wou-Ki (all of whom were close friends). Bernard Dorival was not exclusively interested in French art, in Europe, he admired the Germans Otto Dix and Ferdinand Springer; the Austrians Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Egon Schiele ; Belgians James Ensor and Constant Permeke; the Spaniards Eduardo Chillida, Pablo Gargallo, Juan Gris, Joan Miró, Pablo Palazuelo, Antoni Tapies; the Dutch Piet Mondrian and Bram Van Velde; the Italians Alberto Magnelli, Gino Severini, Zoran Mušič; Norwegian Edvard Munch; the Swiss Paul Klee. In Latin America he appreciated Rufino Tamayo, Sesostris Vitullo. He was fond of Quebecers Paul-Émile Borduas and Jean-Paul Riopelle . In Asia, he tasted Domoto Hisao, Nam Kwan, Sato Key. He devoted a study to the Israeli painter Yona Lotan. He admired the architect Walter Gropius. When the art market left Paris for New York in the 1960s, he was blamed for it. On the other hand, he felt relatively foreign to Anglo-Saxon art, except Francis Bacon, Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland, Mark Tobey. He was a remarkable ambassador of French Painting in foreign countries, organizer of landmark exhibitions in various cities in Latin America ("Contemporary French painting", 1966-1967), in Argentina ("From Manet to our days", 1948), in Belgium ("French drawing from Toulouse-Lautrec to Chagall", 1955), in Brazil ("Contemporary French art", 1953), in Canada ("Rouault", 1965), in Denmark ("Twenty French painters", 1966- 1967), in Japan ("French art from romanticism to surrealism", two million visitors in 1962; "Dufy", 1967; "Rouault", 1969). This means that he was a perfect connoisseur of the painters of his time. He systematically visited all the exhibitions of all the Parisian galleries. He visited painters in their studios. Those among them who died sometimes left widows who wanted to promote the works of their deceased husbands. He went to see their workshops, where he happened to make finds. He had a high conception of his profession, but he also exercised it with a rare ethical requirement. This is how, at the time of the Delaunay donation, Sonia wanted to offer him a painting by her husband. Bernard Dorival couldn't accept such a gift, but he didn't want to offend Sonia. They agreed that the Painting thus offered be given without delay by Bernard Dorival to the MNAM. Bernard Dorival had his preferences. He did not like the Painting of two other Bernards, Buffet and Lorjou, and had made this known in his 1957 book. He wrote of the former that he had the "merit of having challenged the Régie Renault for the record of French productivity and elevated the painting to the dignity of a mass-produced industrial object". He presented Lorjou as a "Tartarin of painting, for whom eloquence equals fertility and talent 'temperament', who committed another confusion and identified expressionism and exhibitionism". The painter thought of taking him to court, but finally gave up. As for Lorjou, he was the author of a famous formula on abstract painting "which makes donkeys bray, monkeys bay, chickens swoon. At the end of a correctional trial, his publisher, Tisné, and himself were sentenced to redact a few lines of the book, as well as to the symbolic franc (October 30, 1959) . They decided not to appeal. Artists close to Bernard Dorival organized a support dinner at the Coupole on December 18, 1959. It was chaired by Jacques Villon. Chagall and Picasso had sent telegrams of support. A minister of General de Gaulle, Robert Buron, was present. Almost the entire generation of abstract painters was there. A friend of Lorjou came and slapped Bernard Dorival, who knocked him down with his fist. On leaving, César, Soulages, and others served as bodyguards for Bernard Dorival and his wife to their home. Some time later, during a debate on contemporary art organized by the Catholic Center of French Intellectuals (CCIF), he took a position in favor of abstracts, a fight broke out, and the police had to evacuate the room. We were in the midst of the Algerian war, at a time when the CCIF had invited speakers to express sometimes very opposing opinions on the subject, and everything had taken place, then, in calm! The National Museum of Port Royal Barns Essay on the spiritual itinerary of Racine, all quotations from the poet and playwright are made from memory . While he was curator at the MNAM, Bernard Dorival was in charge of the organization of the National Museum of the Granges of Port-Royal. His taste for Pascal, Racine, the world of Solitaires, and the Painting of Philippe de Champaigne was old. In 1944, while at the Château de Cheverny, he ensured the conservation of part of the collections of the Louvre Museum, which had been evacuated, he had written a study on Racine's theater analyzed in the light of the education received from these gentlemen; in this book, published in 1946 under the title Du Côté de Port-Royal. In 1952, he participated in organizing a major Philippe de Champaigne exhibition at the Orangerie des Tuileries. The same year, he became President of the Society of Friends of Port-Royal, a position he held for twenty-five years until 1977. In 1955, he was given the task of setting up the Musée des Granges de Port-Royal (today Musée national de Port-Royal des Champs ) in the buildings that the State had just purchased. He is the first curator of this museum. The 17th century building, known as the "Small Schools", was restored between 1958 and 1962. The museum was inaugurated on June 14, 1962, in the presence of André Malraux, Secretary of State for Cultural Affairs. Bernard Dorival organized several exhibitions there, for which he wrote the catalogues: Racine and Port-Royal in 1955; Pascal and the Provincials in 1956; Philippe de Champaigne and Port-Royal in 1957. A performance of Esther was given. In 1963, he published Le Musée National des Granges de Port-Royal. When he left the museums, in 1968, Bernard Dorival had not finished with the Solitaires, since in 1978 he published L'Album Pascal in the collection of Albums of the Library of the Pléiade. Bernard Dorival saw his merits recognized in 1954, when he was named Knight of the Legion of Honor. He is also a knight, then an officer of arts and letters. He was an associate member of the Royal Academy of Archeology of Belgium and holder of numerous foreign decorations. But, from his Jansenism , he retained a certain distrust of social success, official honors, and worldliness. He was not wearing his decorations. He was also a Knight and Officer of the Academic Palms and corresponding member of the Barcelona Academy. When Louis Hautecoeur died, he was approached to succeed him at the Institute. He refused. Not that he had anything against the Institute, but this type of honors seemed to him a bit ridiculous. The last years at the MNAM were not easy for Bernard Dorival, who got along badly with his supervising minister, André Malraux , and even more so with the members of his cabinet. The Center national d'art et de culture Georges-Pompidou was then in the making, and Bernard Dorival disagreed with the design of the Center on a whole series of points: the choice of canvases, the manner of exhibiting them and to rotate them, etc.. After the departure of Jean Cassou, who left in 1964 to join the Hautes Études, the post of director of the MNAM remained vacant for more than two years, before being officially awarded to him. Thesis on Philippe de Champaigne He decided to give a new direction to his career. In 1968, he presented his candidacy as a research fellow at the CNRS to complete his thesis on Philippe de Champaigne. He was recruited. In September 1968, shortly after the events of May , during which the MNAM, threatened with being occupied by artists, had been closed, he resigned as chief curator. At the instigation of Isabelle Rouault, daughter of the painter Georges Rouault, and despite unworthy ministerial pressure, a meal of support and farewell was organized in January 1969. That day, the presence of friends, artists, collectors, art critics, curators, allowed Bernard Dorival to take the measure of the esteem in which he was held. The years that followed were a happy time. He completed his thesis on Philippe de Champaigne in less than five years, defending it in February 1973 and, in the process, was elected professor of contemporary art history at Paris IV-Sorbonne. He introduced his artist friends there, whom he invited to talk about their creative activities during his seminars. He took his students to the great museums of France and Europe. He supervised theses and trained students, several of whom, like Guila Ballas, Philippe Dagen, Philippe Grunchec, Jean-Michel Léniaud, François Lenell, Jean-Claude Lesage, Anne Maisonnier, Arnaud Pierre, Alain Vircondelet, have become renowned specialists. He published several books: Robert Delaunay, 1885-1941, Paris, 1975; Rouault , Tokyo, 1976; Philippe de Champaigne (1602-1674), life, work and the catalog raisonné of the work , two volumes, Paris, 1976; in the volume Baroque and Classicism in the XVII tCentury in Italy and France of the Universal History of Painting , the pages devoted to French Painting in the xvii th Century (1610-1715) , Geneva, 1979; Rouault , Paris, 1982. In 1983 he retired and was professor emeritus until 1989. For a few years he continued to write books, articles and prefaces, notably Vallotton , 1985 (in collaboration); Sonia Delaunay. His life, his work, 1885-1979. Biographical notes , Paris, 1988; the same year, in collaboration with Isabelle Rouault, Rouault. The painted work , two volumes, Monte-Carlo; the Supplement to the catalog raisonné of the work of Philippe de Champaigne , 1992; Jean-Baptiste de Champaigne (1631-1681), life, man and art , 1992. Pascal Dorival speaks about his father:
Experts are coming and going but some experts leave behind them an enormous legacy. Bernard Dorival, who I met several times, for...