Following on the heels of exhibiting thirteen works at the ground breaking 1913 Armory Show, Pascin immigrated to the United States in 1914. Pascin is noted for melding elements of Cubism into his work.
Following on the heels of exhibiting thirteen works at the ground breaking 1913 Armory Show, Pascin immigrates to the United States in 1914. Printemps was painted in 1917 and is a fascinating work by Pascin for a number of artistic reasons. Pascin is noted for melding elements of Cubism into his work yet few of his canvases so clearly demonstrate this as Printemps. There is a cubist approach to the division in the women's clothing and in the foliage. The foliage demonstrates a softer Cezannesque brushstroke but these two approaches create a unique movement and vignette feel to the landscape. It is unusual for Pascin to concentrate on a background as often his sole focus and interest is the figure. His delicate sense of line, for which he is celebrated, appears in the clothes and faces. What particularly catches the eye in this painting is his artistic rendering of the hat on the woman on the left. The pointy and spiky delineation gives the painting an "edge" and reminds us of Pascin's expressionist leanings. This is a subtle device often seen in the works of Egon Schiele and Pablo Picasso which imparts a darker or aggressive edge to the subject. The softness of the palette is typical of Pascin but there is a greater range of pleasing color than normal which reinforces the spirit and feel of his title "Printemps". It was not uncommon for Pascin's women to convey a sense of malaise. Perhaps due to the fact that he was doing a spring landscape and the women are out of doors, his tone imparts a lightness of spirit that is unusual in his work. While it is a work painted with ease and fluidity it achieves a sophisticated complexity in its fragmented, cubist approach. Early canvases such as this were what cemented Pascin as a great Modernist in the classical sense, as the work today still reads in a modernist vein.
It is important to note that this is a double - sided canvas. On the verso is another scene titled Deux Femmes dans un Paysage. It was very common for Pascin to work on both sides of the canvas. The work on the reverse of this is a viable composition and perhaps more expressionist in manner but upon study is a far less refined and resolved work. The fact that Pascin dated and titled the side we present affirms that this was the successful and finished side.
Printemps in fact is a comprehensive work that draws many correlations with different movements, influences and artists of the time. Pascin had a stand alone style that influenced many important American artists but one can reference much of what was great in the early twentieth century in this canvas. The Cezanne like approach to the landscape, the work of other expressionists such as George Grosz and certainly much of what was occurring in Secessionist circles as well as the unique vision that grew within the Montparnasse circle all speak from the core of this delightful work.