Art Styles in 20th century Art Map




see also:

Edward Hicks
Ammi Phillips
Erastus Salisbury Field
Henri Rousseau
Grandma Moses
John Kane
Niko Pirosmani
Henry Darger
Maud Lewis
Nina Barka
Ivan Generalic
Ivan Rabuzin
Charles Wysocki
Josip Generalic
Adrie Martens



I. Birth of Naive Art

II. Back to the Sources: From the Primitives to Modern Art

III. Discoveries in the East

Conclusion: Is Naive Art Really Naive?




III. Discoveries in the East


Aristide Caillaud
(Moulins, 1902 - Jaunay-Clan, 1990)

From modest origins, this painter leaned for a time toward surrealism. His sense of unreality can be particularly seen in his painting Mysterious Town. "When I paint, my painting comes slowly, like a tree which grows in a dream." His filled urban representations which take up all the surface of the canvas, until suffocation, betray his constantly active artistic mind. Facetious, he likes to he impish and to keep in his paintings the soul of a child, which is, with the frontality in the representation of his persona, one of the characteristics of naive painting. "What enchants in naive painting is not so much its decorative simplicity or its primitive method of narrative, but the joy of discovery itself and the infinite richness of the creative imagination. It then becomes art and produces masterpieces."

Aristide Caillaud, Resurrection of Menton, 1972


Aristide Caillaud, The Port of Rouen, 1954


Miguel Garcia Vivancos
(Mazarron, 1895 - Cordova, 1972)

Miguel Garcia Vivancos is the Spanish naive painter of rurality. He was a remarkable soldier during the Spanish civil war. Breton saluted him as "the man that the temporary defeat of his ideas and five years in the concentration camps of France didn't manage to destroy and whose surprising destiny is now able to celebrate like no other what he succeeded in defending: the simplicity of a village, a chestnut tree in spring, the old stones of history the little dreamy shops and the philosophical dazzle of mature wheat." He actually celebrates the aestheticism of simplicity, the rurality in all its quietness and innocence. He picks up the smallest detail and knows how to make it significant like this harmless walk along the booksellers which witnesses the pleasure of the idleness of the French acquired through the third week of paid vacation. And if death is sometimes present in his work, it is only a stage. His painting is not a lament but praise. The fact that nature is in communion with man, like in The Plough where oxen and man unite their strength to plough the furrow, is a sort of prelude to a future life.

Miguel Garcia Vivancos, The Quay of the Seine, 1957


Miguel Garcia Vivancos, Vase with a Lace Narkin, 1958


Orneore Metelli
(Terni, Italy 1872 - Terni, 1938)

A shoemaker by trade and a passionate musician, he has to abandon this because of medical advice, he therefore turns to painting late in life, at around fifty years old, like many of the other naive painters.

He lived in the village of Terni; a small village located in the heart of Italy not far from Orvieto and painted, during the night, mainly its monuments as well as representing its social life. These are a true historical testimony to the traditions and mores of the time. His works underline also the emotion and the freshness of mass movement. His work The Fight at the Fountain is a stolen moment, an open window on the everyday life of the inhabitants. Regarding this, Wilhelm Uhde will underline that, for naive painters, intention was more important than realisation. He also said that they painted "under the power of an emotion experienced in a strange and enchanted world." Rousseau, the best known naive painter himself said: "It is not me who paints, but it is something on the tip of my hand."

Orneore Metelli, Self-Portrait as Musician


Orneore Metelli, The Venus of Terni, 1935


Guido Vedovato
(Vicenza, 1961 - )

Guido Vedovato was born in 1961 in Vicenza in the North of Italy. Self-taught, he progressively became, in the 1970s, a naive painter and sculptor, it started as a hobby then he became more and more professional. His first exhibition was in 1986. Today, his works are exhibited widely, in Italy of course, but also in many other countries in Europe, the United States and Canada. His works have been acquired by the following museums: The Museum of Naive Art in Jagodina (Serbia), The National Naive Art Museum Cesare Zavattini (Italy), The International Museum of Naive Art in Bages (France), The Slovenian Naive Art Museum in Trebnje (Slovenia), The Jaen International Naive Art Museum (Spain), The Museum of Naive Art in Beraut MAN (France), Vihorlatske Muzeum Humenne -(Slovakia), The Republic International Naive Art Museum Y. M. Daigle (Canada), The MIDAN International Naive Art Museum in Vicq (France), The Naive Art Museum in Lauro (Italy).

His work is close to that of Dominique Peyronnet regarding the strange and fantastic atmosphere that is portrayed in his work. The fall of night reveals its mystery through nocturnal birds and other animals. His rejection of perspective reminds us of children's drawings or those of the Egyptians who underlined, by this method, the hierarchical order. The artist, while highlighting a great number of details, forgets reality, making his paintings an invitation to immerse ourselves into his childlike and colourful world.

Guido Vedovato, Pippo's Portrait


Guido Vedovato,
Walk on the Rooftops


Guido Vedovato,
Self-Portrait with Accordion


Guido Vedovato,
The Pumkin Dealer


Guido Vedovato,
On the Way to the Village


Guido Vedovato,
Posina Valley


Morris Hirshfield
(1872 - 1946)

Morris Hirshfield, was from Russian-Polish descent, even if he had been a wood carver since a teenager, in particular of religious subjects, he was not considered as a true artist until much later in life. He went to the United States to work in the clothing trade, as was the case for many Jewish immigrants at the time. He began, with his brother, his own textile business which was a great success. But he retired from business because of an illness. He started painting late, at the age of sixty-five. In his precise line one can see his training as a young man and the refinement of his paintings shows his origins. With an oriental influence, his paintings show a folklore and an unusual originality for which they were appreciated more than for their quality of realism. The overt eroticism displayed in his art gives him a very special place amongst naive painters. Sidney Janis discovered and exhibited him in different museums, notably at the Museum of Modern Art.

Morris Hirshfield, Maternity


Morris Hirshfield, Girl in a Mirror, 1940


Nikifor Krylov (Krynica Wies, Poland 1895 - 1968)

The life of this painter remains an enigma. Originally from Ukraine, it is thought that he lived in the city of Krakow. Poor and orphaned as a young boy, Nikifor (Epifan Drowniak) begged in the streets, he was thought to be deaf and mute because of his difficulty with language. Self taught, he started drawing from the age of thirteen on whatever material he could find: wrapping paper, wood, cardboard, cigarette packets, etc. His work shows a real desire to communicate with the outside world. One says he used to offer a drawing at the merest sign of kindness towards him. He would have painted a lot, more than a thousand works. Even after he became comfortably off, his works keep the same theme, famine.

His works are known for his evasive use of line, transforming landscapes, views of villages, etc. into fantastic landscapes. He drew principally churches, street scenes or stations, symbols of departure, taking off and also that of escape. A very religious man, a number of his paintings represent the Saints. To hide his illiteracy, he often inserted words or letters into his canvases, most of the words being badly spelt. He sometimes used the name 'Mitijko', as a homage to the Polish painter, showing his local culture and the fact that he considered himself as an artist, and therefore being aware of his own talent.

Nikifor Krylov,


Nikifor Krylov,
Triple Portrait


Ivan Generalic (Hlebine, Croatia 1914 - Koprivnica, 1992)

Ivan Generalic was highly influenced, as were a number of others after him, by the Croatian artist Hegedusic. He founded the Zemjla School (the Earth) where he helped
develop the progression and the interest of naive art in the region. "A particular social and aesthetics programme, explains Oto Bihalji-Merin, mixed these artists who, at the time when the people had no access to art, attempted to implant it in the real world and make it understandable by the majority." The meeting of the two great artists, Hegedusic and Generalic then gave birth to the School of Hlebine which was joined by other naive artists such as Mirko Virius. This place is now considered as the little Montmartre of the 1930s.

The evolution of Generalic is very clear, his paintings become more and more poetic and brighter and brighter. The fact he painted on glass is one major explanation. His effects of transparency immediately appeal to the spectator, the deftness of the artist shows in the remarkable absence of brush strokes, which is one of the difficulties of painting on glass. The brightness of paint on glass, and therefore its use, attracted Egyptian, Phoenician and Syrian artists. Present in Rome or in Byzantium, this art grew in the sixteenth century when the glass of Murano was discovered. Often used in the Hapsburg court and in France, this painting on glass developed in the peasant community, thanks mainly to Generalic.

Marcel Arland wrote about him: "He disarms us and convinces us because the little world he brings with him is
really his and he has no need for other guides. Earth itself has given birth to him and he possesses its grace, wisdom and charm. In his paintings, one feels a friendly conversation between animals and people."

Ivan Generalic, Nocturnal Landscape, 1964


Ivan Generalic, Crucified Rooster, 1964


Ivan Generalic, Fluvial Landscape, 1964


Ivan Generalic, On the Meadow


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