Saturday, January 29, 2011

Frederick Francis Foottet: A Forgotten Master

The English Impressionist/Symbolist Frederick Francis Foottet was born in Yorkshire in 1850. Foottet made his debut at the Royal Academy in 1873, and continued to exhibit up to the 1930s. As a printmaker, Foottet made etchings from 1890, and colour lithographs from 1900. F. F. Foottet's first painting accepted by the Royal Academy was entitled December. Ruskin praised it, but added, "Yes, the artist is painting trees, but is he sure that he can draw a leaf?" Foottet then spent several months of intensive study of fruit and leaves under Ruskin's personal instruction. After this, Foottet left London to settle in Derby.

Frederick Francis Foottet, Waterfall by moonlight
Lithograph, 1900

This evocative colour lithograph by Foottet was published by The Studio, whose correspondent praised Foottet's "subtle and imaginative landscape work in lithography". Exposure to the work of the Impressionists and Symbolists had freed Foottet from the constrictions of Ruskin's moral earnestness, and under its influence he developed his mature style, of which the Studio correspondent wrote, "It has been said that Mr. Foottet is among the few living artists whose landscapes are symbolistic and charged with human emotion. True enough, and if this mystical and poetic way of treating Nature is appreciated far oftener in prose than in paint, it is none the less very noteworthy to all who take serious interest in the productions of true artists." Frederick Francis Foottet died in 1935. His art still awaits a modern re-evaluation.

7 comments:

TG said...

Rsukin était dur! Et lui, savait-il dessiné une feuille? On lui pardonne, car il était un excellent poète et écrivain.
(Excusez, je suis désolé de faire mon commentaire en Français, mais, c'est trop difficile pour moi en Anglais…)

Neil said...

French is fine! Ruskin could draw well, though I find his work a bit stiff, it doesn't flow freely. I can't find a leaf by him online, but here are some sprays of oak in bud: http://www.victorianweb.org/painting/ruskin/drawings/17.html

Jane Librizzi said...

I'm a sucker for images with crescent moons, thinking also of Arthur Illes. Foottet hasn't been forgotten by those of us who've never heard of him before. Nice.

Haji baba said...

It's sometimes quite surprising to realise just what an influence Ruskin had. Even abroad. Looking at this lithograph, it's clear Foottet made a very decisive break with both Ruskin and his lessons. Nothing could be more unRuskin.

Charles

Neil said...

Jane - yes, it takes a special kind of absentmindedness to forget someone you've never heard of! And I have to say I'd never heard of Foottet either until I acquired this beautiful lithograph. It is reminiscent of the Illies etching, isn't it?

Neil said...

You're right, Charles, Foottet certainly moved well beyond Ruskin's over-structured, over-strictured tuition. But in a way he shows himself in this lithograph as a kind of descendant of Turner, so I suppose the Ruskin line is still discernible.

Haji baba said...

I hardly dared to say that it reminded me more of Whistler!