BLANC-GATTI AND MUSICALISM: A PAINTERS’ APPROACH TO SYNESTHESIA AND ANIMATION IN THE INTERWAR PERIOD
Jorgelina Orfila (United States of America)
1 – Texas Tech University
Dr. Jorgelina Orfila earned undergraduate degrees in Art History and Museum Studies in Argentina. From 1997 to 1999 she was a Lampadia Fellow at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C, and in 2007 she received her Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Maryland.
Originally from Switzerland, Charles Blanc-Gatti (1890-1965) spent his most fruitful years in Paris where, in addition to painting, he produced “chromo-phonic” light spectacles. Starting in 1932, he participated in the Musicalist movement, which he co-organized together with the French painter Henry Valensi (1883-1960). Both artists created animations and explored ways of using their art in public spectacles, dance, performance, and publicity. Upon his return to Switzerland, Blanc-Gatti founded an animation studio in Lausanne. In 1939 he created the short animation “Chromophony,” which reflects his interest in the physiological, psychological, and spiritual aspects of the relationship between music and color and in synesthesia. Blanc-Gatti did not pursue abstraction or “absolute” values in art. These were the main tenets of the artists of the “German School” (Bouhours), two of whose main representatives (Fischinger and Richter) moved to the USA where their work became influential. Their work and approach to abstract animation have pride of place in the history of early animation. This paper, by examining the work of the Musicalist and Blanc-Gatti will highlight an underappreciated aspect of experimental animation and visual music in the interwar period.