Circus, 1913

Charles Ginnet: biography, creativity and the most famous paintings

Charles Ginnet. Canal in Leeds, 1914
Canal in Leeds, 1914

Charles Isaac Ginner (born March 4, 1878 – died January 6, 1952) is a famous artist of the first half of the 20th century, the founder of British neorealism. Charles Jinne’s work is dedicated to the modern city. His paintings masterfully convey the street atmosphere and the harsh beauty of urban landscapes. Charles Ginnet strove to convey to the viewer the very essence of city life, to capture the history of the metropolis. Plots passed through the prism of the author’s vision are emotionally filled and realistic.

Charles Isaac Ginnet was born in Cannes, in the family of a British doctor. From an early age, he was fond of drawing, but his parents opposed the visual arts. At sixteen, the young man contracted typhoid fever and bilateral pneumonia. To improve his health, he was sent on a steamer journey across the South Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. Returning to France, he worked as an engineer for some time, and in 1899 he moved to Paris in order to study architecture.

Charles Ginnet. Painting Hampstead on the day of coronation, 1937
Painting Hampstead on the day of coronation, 1937

Biography of Charles Ginnet

In 1904, Ginnet entered the Vitti Academy, where Henri-Jean-Guillaume Martin and Louis Paul Gervais taught, who disapproved of the aspiring artist’s use of bright colors. In 1905, Ginnet transferred to the School of Fine Arts, but returned to the Academy in 1906. This time, Hermenegildo Anglada Camarasa became his main teacher.

Bright, saturated colors can be seen in the earliest known paintings by Ginne: “The Wall of the Sun”, “Tulips”, “The Girl at the Easel”. Soon, the artist developed a unique system of methodically applying thick paint in short strokes, which he adhered to all his life. According to the recollections of one of the students, the master “worked from left to right on the canvas, completing the picture with a thick layer of paint. His goal was to put in the final layer without any corrections. ”

Charles Ginnet. Painting Piccadilly Circus, 1912
Painting Piccadilly Circus, 1912

In 1908, Charles Ginnet left the alma mater and worked for some time in Paris on his own. He visited Buenos Aires and held his first solo exhibition there. In 1910, the young man moved to London. Together with his friend Harold Gilman, he joins the Camden Town group of post-impressionist artists. Its members met at Walter Sickert’s atelier. Jinne’s French origin helped him to gain prestige among his associates from Foggy Albion and be known as an expert on European modernist trends in painting.

The exhibition Manet and the Post-Impressionists, held in 1910, prompted Charles Ginnet to search for new methods of expression. He admired Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin. But Vincent Willem van Gogh remained a real source of inspiration throughout the artist’s career.

Circus, 1913
Circus, 1913

Ginne outlined his principles in the manifesto “Neorealism”, which was published in January 1914.

Believing that many academics simply copy the mannerisms of the great realist artists, Charles challenged formal art. In April 1914, an exhibition of Ginne and Gilman took place at the Gupil Gallery. Friends even opened their own school, but in 1916 Charles Ginnet was drafted into the army. After the First World War, artists share one studio for two. Together, in 1917, they created the illustrated magazine “Art and Letters”.

In 1919, Gilman died of the Spanish flu. After this tragedy, Ginne moved to Hampstead, where he lived until 1938. There he painted landscapes, as well as the forest located in the neighborhood. The artist increasingly used pencil, ink and watercolor instead of oil paint.

During the Second World War, Charles Ginnet became the official war artist. In 1942 he was admitted to the Royal Academy of Arts. He died of pneumonia on January 6, 1952, and the following year the Arts Council held a traveling exhibition of 43 works by the master.

Fruit Shop, King's Cross, 1914
Fruit Shop, King’s Cross, 1914

The most famous paintings by Charles Ginnet

The paintings of Charles Ginnet were painted in an individual style. A rich color palette, careful detailing of buildings, trees – that’s what makes the artist’s work recognizable. Among the best works:

  1. Cafe Royale (1911) – The cafe was well known as a meeting place for London artists and writers.
  2. “Piccadilly Circus” (1912) – the feeling that a flower seller languishes in captivity between cars, is achieved with the help of a view from below.
  3. “View from the window to Hampstead” (1923) – wide fields are dotted with notes by the author and “brush tests”.
  4. Snow in Pimlico (1939) is a view from the second floor window of Ginne’s house.
  5. Heartland Point of Boscastle (1941) – The serene blue of the sea and sky is accentuated by intense, deep tones of green, gray and brown.
  6. “Tank for emergency storage of water” (1942) – the city lies in ruins after the Nazi bombing. St Paul’s Cathedral is visible in the background.
Portrait of Charles Ginnet, 1911
Portrait of Charles Ginnet, 1911