By Ellen Turner Hall

16th June to 30th September


The drawings and oils of Leopold Survage created in Collioure from 1925 to 1932 are on display in its Museum d’art moderne.  These works by the Russian-born artist seem timeless, serene and oriental.

A pencil portrait of his sleeping wife displays the economy and flow of line reminiscent of Matisse. Unlike the master Fauve’s red beaches and pink hills, however, Survage’s palette is subdued: brown and beige, black and grey.

His focus is on form and one form in particular – woman. Rather than portraying the cliché of the happy peasant, here the inward-looking fishwives show the mark of hard work and suffering. Even when the women dance, an antique mood of stillness pervades, as if they are suspended in time.

Women carry baskets of fish and bread, jugs of water, oil and wine. They are the givers of nourishment, the bearers of life. Like emblems of nature – a fish, a bird or an olive leaf – they fascinate the artist.

In the monumental “La Dispute”, two women confront each other with looks of fury over a fish held firmly in the fist of one. In contrast, “Deux pechereuses de poisson” binds the women together with one continuous flowing line, their hands joined in offering.

The landscape in “Une femme à la fenetre” is almost Chagallesque, with its suspended cow and tilting buildings, yet the face in the window draws our gaze. “Le regard” shows a man in the street watching a woman framed by an archway.  Is this Survage, observer of women, seeking them out, worshipping the eternal female in the only way he knew – with pencil and brush?

Over 60 works from public and private collections (from Russia, the United States, England, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Finland and France), some shown for the first time, have been brought together for this exhibit in Collioure from 16June to 30 September. Don’t miss it!

For further information:


Leave a Comment