"Florence Baumgartner: The Mystery of Stillness"
from Saturday, September 17, 2022 to Saturday, October 29, 2022
Galerie XII Los Angeles
“ The California and Utah hills captivate me. Loneliness, kindness and mystery emanate from them. I love places that appear silent, but you know there’s a life under that you don’t quite catch. The same seems to me found in an empty airport, during pandemic, or in those silhouettes in an Apple Store, each one with their own private thoughts and desires. “
Many painters who celebrated California landscapes in the late 19th and early 20th century were coming from Europe. Florence Baumgartner is not an exception. Born in Paris, France, in 1946, she started drawing as early as she can remember. At 14 she started to study the technique of engraving on copper, for four years, with French master Jean-Jacques Houplain. She prepped for the design school, the Arts Décoratifs, but realized she just wanted to draw and paint. She worked in France, England and Switzerland from 1968 to 1978, moved to New York in 1979 and has been based in Los Angeles since 1981.
Throughout the years, Baumgartner has sharpened her vision and perfected her technique. Her paintings are loosely based on photographs but she wants to express the mystery of seemingly simple places. For small pieces, she uses oil on wood panels which she prepares herself with several layers of gesso. Using primary colors, she paints with soft brushes using glazing which gives the illusion of depth to the painting. It is a long process because of the time needed for drying between each layer but it magnifies colors. Larger paintings are made on canvas, again prepared with additional layers of gesso.