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Lecture Review: Visions of the Demimonde: Albert Tucker in Paris Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Feb 18th, 2019

Art has a wonderful peculiarity to touch upon the hearts of lots of people. It does not matter whether you are fond of painting or have no ideas of what this or that painting is all about, any piece of art will certainly touch you and help to look at the world in a different way. The only thing needed is time to comprehend the essence of the work.

Some people do not have a great opportunity to create own masterpieces, certain personal or social troubles may cause such an inability. This is why such people have nothing to do but analyze and talk about the works created by the other painters. However, sometimes, people just do feel like creating something their own.

In such cases, analyzes and explanations of the material to other people are one of the best decisions. Almost the same situation happened to Lesley Harding, a wonderful writer and art critique. She has written several wonderful lectures about the works of Albert Tucker. One of her best-known lectures was Visions of the Demimonde: Albert Tucker in Paris written in 2006. This lecture is about one piece of life of such a great Australian painter, Albert Tucker, spent in Paris.

If Paris has an ability to change people’s lives, the life and visions of Tucker have been changed considerably during his travel to Paris. These changes were noticeable both in his works and in his relations with other people. Lesley Harding creates a captivating story that reflects the condition and consequences of Tucker’s presence in Paris.

Lesley Harding is a curator of the Tucker’s Collection and Archive at Heide Museum of Modern Art placed in Melbourne. This person is known for her desire to learn more and more in order to share her knowledge with the others, who do not have an opportunity to study Art and Graphic Design in a proper way. After she gets a proper education in Art, she does not want to stop.

Now, she undertakes a PhD in Art History in the Melbourne University. During some period of time, Lesley Harding was a curator at the Victorian Arts Centre, and before her marriage, she was a curator in Sydney (the National Art School).

Her lectures about the works and life of Albert Tuckers are not difficult to comprehend. Illustrative examples of painter’s works, bright facts from his life, his connections and relations with different people, and his personal attitude to the events – each of these points makes Harding’s lectures captivating and interesting to listen and even to read.

In Harding’s lecture Visions of Demimonde: Albert Tucker in Paris, the object of her story was Albert Tucker, an Australian artist and Expressionist, a refugee from the Australian culture, as Stephen Alomes said. Harding tries to not to start her lecture with a concrete place and time.

She wants to prepare readers and listeners to her story about Tucker’s life and work in Paris. She mentions that, for that period of time, Tucker was a great painter with a proper understanding of Australia’s landscape and the inhabitants. (Harding 2006) In this way, she underlines that the world that was offered to Tucker was a bit different to that one he used to live. Paris, with its freedom to move and feel was a real novelty for the artist.

There are several major points Lesley Harding describes in her work: (1) Tucker’s adventures before Paris, to be more exact, his arrival to London, (2) Tucker’s attitude to lighter elements, which were inherent to Paris painting, (3) Tucker’s works, which were associated with more vivid cacophony of life, and (4) his friendship with Dickson and their return to Paris in 1951. These major points create a strong outline of the lecture presented by Lesley Harding.

This article is not only about the Tucker’s works in Paris. Harding makes an wonderful attempt to compare his previous works and the reasons why he decided to change his own preferences. In Paris, Tucker realized the broader sense of his place in that continuum. Even more, in order to prove her own words, she refers to Tucker’s words about the sense, time, and place.

It seems that the topic of the lecture is indirectly connected to the text. The author names the article Visions of Demimonde: Albert Tucker in Paris. However, in this article, she talks about demimonde’s visions from only one point of view – the Tucker’s one.

Of course, his original understanding of the world and this life, his life experience, and emotions may serve as strong evidences to rely on. However, in this lecture, the reader/listener can evaluate Paris and its style of life by means of Tucker’s impressions only. He created several great works in Paris: Paris Night (1948), Woman and Beast (1951), or Rebirth (1951).

In those works, he used ageing prostitutes and other representatives of nightlife in Paris to underline how those people saw the world. In some works, he concentrated on their eyes, in the other works, he add details to their arms, etc. Each of his works was a unique one, and Lesley Harding uses all her attention and imagination to represent Tucker’s ideas and feelings.

At the end of the lecture, Harding tells about Tucker’s return to Paris. It was late 1951, when Tucker started the creation of caravan in their hotel room. The inhabitants were really impressed, they underlined that Tucker made gold. Dickson and Tucker moved the creation to the banks of the river Seine in Paris. It was one of the most wonderful works that was known as a ticket for Parisians to the rest of Europe, seen by Tucker.

Lesley Harding is a wonderful writer and talented storyteller. Her imagination and devotion to her works and the masterpieces of other painters help to create really fascinating lectures to people with various level of education.

If a person wants to know more about the works by Albert Tucker, the first thing he/she needs to do is to listen carefully to the lectures of Harding. She is one of the best curators of the Tucker’s Collection, she knows a lots about his works’ creation, and also, she is aware of the way of how to present the information clearly. The lecture Visions of the Demimonde: Albert Tucker in Paris is one of her best works.

This lecture has a clear structure with a logical order of details. She does not jump over the facts in order to concentrate on the essence of the story. She presents enough information, concentrating on pre-history, and invites the listeners/reader into the world of Art created by Albert Tucker.

Reference List

Alomes, S 1999, When London Calls: the Expatriation of Australian Creative Artists to Britain. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Harding, L 2006, ‘Visions of the Demimonde: Albert Tucker in Paris’, Art and Australia, vol. 43, no. 3.

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IvyPanda. "Lecture Review: Visions of the Demimonde: Albert Tucker in Paris." February 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/lecture-review-visions-of-the-demimonde-albert-tucker-in-paris/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Lecture Review: Visions of the Demimonde: Albert Tucker in Paris." February 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/lecture-review-visions-of-the-demimonde-albert-tucker-in-paris/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Lecture Review: Visions of the Demimonde: Albert Tucker in Paris'. 18 February.

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