Farandole: An Elegy in Art and Poetry, presented as a companion exhibition to History’s Shadow: German Art and the Formulation of National Identity, brings together two European cultural figures of the latter part of the twentieth century: artist Hans Hartung (1904-1989) and novelist and poet Jean Proal (1904-1969). Published in 1972 as a portfolio of lithographs by Hartung with an accompanying poem by Proal, Farandole, the title of Proal’s poem and the collaboration itself, is taken from the name of an open-chain community dance popular in Provence.
Hartung, a German-born French artist, became interested in painting following his studies in music, astronomy, philosophy, and religion. His work was strongly influenced by the Expressionists, in particular, Oskar Kokoschka, who is featured in History’s Shadow. Hartung developed his signature calligraphic style in the 1930s. He returned to Berlin in 1935, but left soon after for Paris to escape harassment by the Nazi party. Like several other artists featured in the companion exhibition, Hartung served in the military, in his case, the French Foreign Legion, and he was severely injured.
Proal was a French writer of a dozen novels, a series of nonfiction works, and a number of poems. Proal also served in the military but was discharged after one year for health reasons. Later he moved to Saint-Remy-de-Provence, where he began a friendship with the poet, novelist, and journalist Louis Aragon and such painters as Hans Hartung and Mario Prassinos. Proal received the Grand Prize from the Society of Men of Letters for his novel Salt and Ash in 1953.
On view through June 5, Farandole—An Elegy in Art and Poetry is organized by the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery and curated by Joseph Mella, gallery director.
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, noon to 4 pm, and Saturday, 1-5 pm from May 1-June 5. Free and open to the public, the Fine Arts Gallery is housed in Cohen Memorial Hall, 1220 21st Avenue South, on the western edge of the Peabody College campus. Parking is available in Lot 95 outside Cohen Hall, off 21st Avenue South on the Peabody campus and across from Medical Center East.