Etude de Rhythm

The blend of vibrant colour and dark outline in this picture, and the title, link it to Fergusson's monumental nudes of 1910-1912. In turn these were influenced by the philosophy of Henri Bergson who placed stress on key terms such as; life-drive, creativity, intuition and particularly relevant here, rhythm.

The widespread belief in the interdisciplinary nature of the arts in pre-war Paris was central to Fergusson's preoccupation with the term 'rhythm'. For Fergusson it was the single element that linked all the different art forms together. Between 1910 and 1912 Fergusson was Art Editor of an avant garde art journal, 'Rhythm'.

Despite the semi-abstract treatment of subject-matter, nude forms merge against a rhythmic backdrop of arcs and curves. The treatment suggests dynamism and movement, demonstrating the related ideas of Bergsonian 'rhythm' and 'life-force' in an unusually literal and frank way.

  • Material/Medium: oil paint on board
  • Date: 1910
  • Creator: John Duncan Fergusson (1874-1961)
  • Accession number: 1992.275
  • Category: Fine Art
  • Subject: n/a