Eugène Carrière (1849 – 1906)
Already during his lifetime, the French symbolist Eugène Carrière enjoyed a high reputation. He portrays many of his friends, who include Auguste Rodin and Paul Gauguin, as well as writers and poets such as André Gide and Paul Verlaine. The Neuss portrait is the only one of these portraits intimes (intimate portraits) in the collection of a German museum. When Carrière painted the symbolist poet Charles Morice he had already developed his characteristic soft style. In fine gradations of grays and browns he models the poet’s face out of the oil paint with a plasticity that emerges from the contrast of light and dark. Apart from his monochromatic palette Carrière used soft focus as a pictorial technique reminiscent of the sfumato of the old masters. It creates the impression of a misty veil between the picture and the viewer, a technique that gives Carrière’s works a tender intimacy that mirrors his view of the world as a place where things do not exist separately from each other, but are interwoven.