Whilst delving into our archives I came across an over size colourful, self-help book. You might wonder what help I required or indeed what potential help had been stored away. This is “Oil Painting 2,” from the Walter T. Foster publishing company in California and dates from the early 1950’s. With over a hundred titles covering drawing in a range of mediums, painting of all styles and editions studying technique the editions seem comprehensive. For many Americans it was probably their first introduction to art at home.
Walter began in Laguna Beach with his friends in the art community many helped to write the books and started a publishing company in his home, where he wrote, illustrated, printed, bound, packaged, shipped and distributed the books himself. An artist in his own right, Foster created the company’s first title, “How to Draw,” which sold more than one million copies.
His reasonably priced art manuals were widely distributed to art stores, often displayed in a metal rack specially made for Foster's oversized art books. The cover of this copy has on it a charming doorway and geranium filled window sill, easily recognisable as the work of Charles Perron.
Perron was born in 1893 at Plessé and became a pupil at the School of Fine Arts at Nantes, a pension having been granted by the town for the National School of Fine Arts. His skills in French painting saw him awarded the Chenevard prize, a Second Grand Prize in Rome in 1921, a Laureate at the Institute, a gold medallist at a competition examination in 1928, a silver medalist at the Universal exhibition in 1937, and a curator at the Museum of Fine Arts at Nantes from 1936 to 1945.
His work had caught the eye of Walter who was visiting Perron in Nantes that summer. This versatile artist covered a varied range of compositions including portraits, nudes, landscapes, flowers and still life scenes. The atmosphere he evokes in bringing both the outside and inside of French farm houses to life is widely enjoyed still today.
We have reproduced here for you some pages of Walter T. Foster on Charles Perron at a time when Walter was at the height of his publishing and Perron his artistic fame.
Getting this guide out and chatting about Perron prompted Anthony to share some of his anecdotes about the Perron family and his trips to Nantes, we hope you enjoy them as much as we did. Read the blog here.