Henri Rivière

France / 1864 - 1951 / wikipedia
Henri Rivière (March 11, 1864 – Aug. 24, 1951); French artist and designer best known for his creation of a form of shadow play at the Chat Noir cabaret, and for his post-Impressionist illustrations of Breton landscapes and the Eiffel Tower.

...In 1886 Rivière created a form of shadow theatre at the Chat Noir under the name "ombres chinoises".... He used back-lit zinc cut-out figures which appeared as silhouettes.

...According to historians Phillip Cate and Mary Shaw, Rivière's work involved both aesthetic and technical innovations: "Essentially, Rivière created a system in which he placed silhouettes of figures, animals, elements of landscapes, and so forth, within a wooden framework at 3 distances from the screen: the closest created an absolutely black silhouette, and the next two created gradations of black to gray, thus suggesting recession into space. Silhouettes could be moved across the screen on runners within the frame."

...Between 1882-86 Rivière created a large number of etchings. He also showed an interest in photography, making a series of picturesque scenes of everyday life. He later experimented with color woodcuts and chromolithography in the late 1880s....

Rivière’s prints were generally intended to be published as collections. These include 40 images used in Breton Landscapes, created between 1890-94. He also made color woodcuts for The Sea: Studies of Waves, and prepared other sequences that remained unfinished, including 36 Views of the Eiffel Tower, which were eventually published as lithographs. These were influenced by the vogue for Japonism at the time, modernizing the famous prints by Hiroshige and Hokusai of 36 Views of Mount Fuji.

Rivière ceased making prints in 1917, effectively retiring as a professional artist, but continued to work on watercolours in his later years. He died on August 24, 1951.
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Sylvie Hofstetter


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landscape reflection puddle trees