John Peter RUSSELL (1858–1930)
An Australian impressionist painter, Russell spent most of his life as an artist in Europe, principally in France. Following intermittent studies under Legros at the Slade School of Art in London (1881-1884), he enrolled at Cormon’s Academy in Paris (1885-1887) where he made friends with Anquetin, Bernard, Toulouse-Lautrec and van Gogh. In 1888, he moved to Belle-Ile with his newly wed Italian wife Marianna, a former model of Rodin. There they raised their daughter and six sons in a large house, with a studio facing the sea, built at Goulphar on the rugged west coast of the island. During his twenty year stay on Belle-Ile Russell accomplished his finest work, inspired largely by Monet whom he met on his first visit to the island in 1886. Among the numerous artists he received as guests on the island were Matisse (1896, 1897) and Rodin (1902). Following the tragic death of his wife in 1908, Russell left Belle-Ile and lived in Italy (where he met his second wife, Caroline de Wit Merrill in 1913), Switzerland and England, before returning to Australia definitively in 1924.

In August 2000, a former pupil of Jeanne Jouve (the artist’s eldest child and only daughter), contacted David Butcher with news of a collection of works by Russell that had been stored away for over fifty years. A close relationship had developed between the ageing “cantatrice” and her favourite singing pupil to the point where, shortly before her death in 1948, she gave him over sixty works by her father, including oil paintings, watercolours, drawings and a photograph dedicated to Russell by Rodin. The collection covers the entire period of Russell’s life in Europe, including: drawings from Cormon’s Academy and of his young wife, Marianna, and daughter, Jeanne; watercolours from Belle-Ile, Italy, Switzerland and England and oil studies painted at various locations in France.

Photo_1_John Peter_231
John Peter RUSSELL
Belle-Île, la mer

Othon Friesz (1879-1949) le fauve baroque.
Curator : David Butcher.
La Piscine, Roubaix, 17 February – 20 May 2007.
Musée d’Art Moderne, Céret, 23 June – 30 September 2007.
Musée Malraux, Le Havre, 20 October – 27 January 2008.
The first museum exhibition on Othon Friesz in 30 years, this major retrospective assembled 170 works from 50 collections (public and private) in 10 countries. It was one of only a small number of exhibitions each year to receive the honour of being recognised by the French Ministry of Culture as being of public utility.


George Bouche (1874 - 1941) l’excitation de la solitude.
Curator : David Butcher
During his career as an artist, George Bouche traversed a period marked by late impressionism, fauvism, cubism, Dada and surrealism without being influenced by any of these movements. His refusal to identify with a group or artistic movement and the unclassifiable nature of his painting have not facilitated the promotion of his work, despite the support of several renowned dealers: Berthe Weill, Eugène Blot, Georges Bernheim, Katia Granoff. This explains, at least partly, why the name Bouche is known today only by certain specialists and a small number of fervent collectors.

Supported by research on previously unexploited archives, critical reception, forgotten exhibitions and a wide search for little known examples of his painting, this exhibition aims to determine the approach of an artist often misunderstood whose work has long been ignored.


Anne Dangar, Albert Gleizes & Moly Sabata :
du cubisme aux arts traditionnels.


André Lhote and his Australian pupils.


D. Butcher, Othon Friesz (1879-1949) Le Fauve baroque, Gallimard, Paris, 2007.

Available on

Le Tournant : l’art en France 1900-1920.
Author: David Butcher
A reflection on what constitutes a major turning point in the history of Western art : the end of the subordination of art to religion, history, nature or anecdote. At the beginning of the twentieth-century, for a growing number of young avant-garde painters, the subject in painting becomes a simple pretext to produce a work of art that is above all else expressive and decorative. More than just a revolution of colour or explosion of form, this new effort in Western art at the beginning of the twentieth-century marks the end of narrative, sentiment or mystical meaning dear to the symbolists. At last there is room for the artist to exist in the work of art which is a pure manifestation of his temperament and emotion.