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Jared French (1905–1988) was an American painter who specialized in the medium of egg tempera. He was one of the artists attributed to the style of art known as magic realism. Other artists of this movement included George Tooker and Paul Cadmus.
French received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Amherst College in 1925. Soon after this he met and befriended Cadmus in New York City. French persuaded Cadmus to give up commercial art for what he deemed, "serious painting".[this quote needs a citation] In 1937 French married Margaret Hoening, also an artist. For the next eight years Cadmus and the Frenches summered on Fire Island and formed a photographic collective called PaJaMa ("Paul, Jared, and Margaret"). During this period French painted murals for the WPA.
French's early paintings are eerie, colorful tableauxs of still, silent figures derived from Archaic Greek statues. His later work shows "a kind of classical biomorphism," strange, colorful, suggestive organic forms.[this quote needs a citation]
Jungian psychology is thought to have played an important influence upon the dream-like imagery in the paintings of French's maturity. The highly stylized, archaic-looking figures in his paintings suggest that they are representative of the ancestral memory of all mankind, what Carl Jung called "the collective unconscious". French himself was never explicit about the sources of his imagery, although on a stylistic level, the influence of early Italian Renaissance paintings by such masters as Mantegna and Piero della Francesca is evident, as it is also in the work of both Tooker and Cadmus. On the level of content, he made only one, short, public statement regarding his intentions:
My work has long been concerned with the representation of diverse aspects of man and his universe. At first it was mainly concerned with his physical aspect and his physical universe. Gradually I began to represent aspects of his psyche, until in The Sea (1946) and Evasion(1947), I showed quite clearly my interest in man's inner reality.1
Career and life
French entered the Mural and Easel Painting Section of the Public Works of Art Project, initiated by the Department of the Treasury in 1933, after which he produced murals for the post office in Plymouth, Pennsylvania (1937), and for the Parcel Post Building in Richmond, Virginia (1939).
- Amherst College, 1925
- Travels through Europe, 1931–1933
- Panzetta, Alfonso (2010). Jared French by Jared French. Italy: Torino: Allemandi.
List of works
- Seat by the Sea, 1988, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
- Nude and Dress Suit, 1950, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
- Evasion, 1947, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
- State Park, 1946, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York
- Learning, 1946, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
- The Sea, 1946
- John Pelham, 1939, Court House Annex, Richmond, Virginia
- Cavalrymen Crossing a River, 1939, Court House Annex, Richmond, Virginia
- Mealtime, The Early Coal Miners, 1937, Plymouth Post Office, Plymouth, Pennsylvania.
- Mealtime, The Early Coal Miners (Mural Study), 1936, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
- Mealtime, The Early Coal Miners (Mural Study), 1935, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
- Safe, 1937, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, New York
- Banfer Gallery, New York, 1969
- Banfer Gallery, New York, 1967
- Banfer Gallery, New York, 1965
- Robert Isaacson Gallery, New York, 1962
- Edwin Hewitt Gallery, New York, 1955
- Edwin Hewitt Gallery, New York, 1950
- Julien Levy Gallery, New York, 1939
- Morgan Hall, Amherst College, Massachusetts, 1939
- Vassar College Art Gallery, New York, 1939
- Grimes, Nancy (1993). Jared French's Myths. San Francisco, California: Pomegranate Artbooks. ISBN 1-56640-322-7.
- Jerry Wechsler (1992) The Rediscovery of Jared French. New York: Midtown Payson Galleries