“Promenade Nice” Oil on Canvas by Mark King
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Artist: Mark King
Title: Promenade at Nice
Oil on Canvass
About the Artist:
Mark King, a champion of Impressionism and the Ecole de Paris, was born in Bombay in 1931 of British parents. He is the product of an exotic and privileged upbringing in India, where he lived until the age of sixteen during the tumultuous last days of the British Raj. In 1948, following graduation from La Martiniere College in Calcutta, where his focus had been on botany as well as art, King sailed to England to attend Bournemouth College of Art, having determined to pursue painting, sculpture, architecture and theatre design. He subsequently spent the next ten years as resident scenic designer at the Oxford Playhouse Theatre, the Bristol Old Vic Theatre and the Scottish National Opera.
In 1961 King decided to concentrate on painting and moved to Paris to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Louvre. King has carefully studied the old and modern masters from Cimabue and Masaccio to Goya, Turner, Degas and Bonnard. Fascinated with painting techniques, the chemical composition of colors and how they interact, King admits, “What I am searching for is not so much making a statement, or coming up with something new or different, but having more virtuoso command of my medium. Preparing the foundation consumes most of his time, for King meticulously layers colors, glazes and shapes as substrata for the five or ten percent of the acrylic paint that floats on top and forms the finished composition. The underpainting filters through to the surface creating depth and texture.
Because of his alla prima approach, in which a painting is realized in a burst of inspiration and single application of pigments, King confesses, “It is not until the last ten to fifteen minutes before completion that I am able to see where the painting is going and catch the mood of the moment.” King’s versatility and zest for life transform everything he paints into strong patterns of brilliant color. His subtle understanding of how color, texture and paint interact is his strength. Color conveys feelings and emotions in the creation of a timeless art.
This image, one of his earliest and best originals shows in great detail, absent from his later works, the port of Nice France as he saw it in the late 1980’s. The viewer should pay particular attention to the angry sky and the serene reflection of the buildings on the water.