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Thursday, November 30, 2017

#Language and Life

#Language and Life


Coast: Dieppe, the painter’s resort

Posted: 30 Nov 2017 04:30 AM PST

Sometimes the least likely places become popular with painters. Dieppe is a modest seaside resort on the Normandy coast of the Channel, but a far cry from the alluring climate and night-life of France’s Mediterranean coast. Yet in the nineteenth century, Dieppe became so popular with landscape painters that it was almost a mandatory visit.

vernetdieppeharbour
Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714–1789), Dieppe Harbour (1765), further details not known. Image by Philippe Alès, via Wikimedia Commons.

When Claude-Joseph Vernet painted Dieppe Harbour in 1765, it was much like any of the Channel ports. Its harbour developed along the banks at the mouth of the River Arques, and to the north-east are the rolling chalk cliffs which echo those to be found along the northern Channel coast. At this time, Dieppe was a very long way from Paris, as there was no railway of course, and there was no scheduled boat service to England either.

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John Sell Cotman (1782–1842), East End of Saint Jacques at Dieppe, Normandy (c 1819), graphite and brown wash on medium slightly textured beige wove paper, 29.2 x 22.5 cm, The Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT. Wikimedia Commons.

Forgive me for including some works showing Dieppe’s Church of Saint-Jacques, which are not strictly coastal, but this fine graphite drawing by John Sell Cotman of East End of Saint Jacques at Dieppe, Normandy from about 1819 is just so wonderful. It is also an opportunity to point out that Cotman, in company with his friend Dawson Turner, visited this section of the Normandy coast three times between 1817 and 1820. A couple of years later, he published a set of a hundred etchings based on these drawings.

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JMW Turner (1775–1851), The Harbour of Dieppe (c 1826), oil on canvas, 173.7 x 225.4 cm, The Frick Collection, New York, NY. Wikimedia Commons.

JMW Turner visited France, including the Channel coast, repeatedly, both on passage to Italy and other countries, and as a destination itself. It is likely that he completed the sketches and studies for his painting of The Harbour of Dieppe (c 1826) when he was exploring the Seine during the 1820s. Looking into the sun, along the River Arques, it has something of the ambitious grandeur of one of Claude Lorrain’s classical harbour views.

isabeydieppe
Louis-Gabriel-Eugène Isabey (1803-1886), The Town and Harbour of Dieppe (1842), oil on canvas, dimensions not known, Musée des beaux-arts de Nancy, Nancy, France. Image by Ji-Elle, via Wikimedia Commons.

Eugène Isabey caught The Town and Harbour of Dieppe on a greyer day in 1842, with the laundresses in the foreground seizing a break between showers to get on with their work.

Then, in the middle of the nineteenth century, Dieppe changed. The Duchesse de Berry (daughter-in-law of Charles X) had visited in 1824, and started the transformation into a beach resort. A couple of years later, its theatre re-opened. Then in 1848, it was connected directly to Paris by a railway line, and Parisians started to flock to its pebble beach.

That same year it may have been the port of exit of the last King of France, Louis Philippe I, and his Queen as they fled to Newhaven, England, into exile. In 1853, a regular ferry service was instituted with that same English port, and started to bring foreign tourists to vie for their plot on the pebbles.

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Eugène Boudin (1824–1898), On the Beach, Dieppe (1864), oil on panel, 31.8 × 29.2 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY. Wikimedia Commons.

With the trains and the tourists came painters too, including the pre-Impressionist Eugène Boudin, who painted On the Beach, Dieppe in 1864. Boudin grew up in nearby Le Havre, but by this time was based in Paris. His painterly and atmospheric beach sketches were becoming quite successful, and he had already helped the young Claude Monet to get his own career started.

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Jules Noel (1815-1881), Panorama of the Town of Dieppe (c 1865), further details not known. Image by Philippe Alès, via Wikimedia Commons.

Jules Noel may have followed Isabey’s lead, in his Panorama of the Town of Dieppe from about 1865. Gone are the laundresses, though, replaced by a large picnic party, and he looks in the opposite direction, to the north-east, over the town, its beaches and buildings, to the chalk cliffs in the distance.

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Paul Gauguin (1848–1903, Dieppe Harbour (1885), oil on canvas, 60.2 × 72.3 cm, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, England. Wikimedia Commons.

Paul Gauguin seems to have visited the town in 1885, perhaps with his young son Clovis, when he was trying to establish his career as a full-time artist. His first year or so were reportedly a real struggle, although his painting of Dieppe Harbour (1885) looks promisingly innovative.

gauguinwomenbathing
Paul Gauguin (1848–1903), Women Bathing at Dieppe (1885), oil on canvas, 38.1 x 46.2 cm, National Museum of Western Art 国立西洋美術館 (Kokuritsu seiyō bijutsukan), Tokyo, Japan. Wikimedia Commons.

In Gauguin’s art, Dieppe is perhaps best-known for him establishing the theme of women bathing, in his Women Bathing at Dieppe (1885). And yes, in the right light the Channel does really look as green as that.

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Paul César Helleu (1859–1927), On the Beach, Dieppe, Impression, Gray Sea (1885), media and dimensions not known, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, Rouen, France. Wikimedia Commons.

That same year, Paul Helleu painted this unusual On the Beach, Dieppe, Impression, Gray Sea (1885), which may have been when he was in transit to or from London, in the company of the artist who created the next painting.

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Jacques-Émile Blanche (1861–1942), Dieppe Beach in front of the Casino (c 1886), media and dimensions not known, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, Rouen, France. Wikimedia Commons.

Jacques-Émile Blanche accompanied Paul Helleu when he visited England in 1885, and he too may have taken the opportunity for a short stay in Dieppe, to paint Dieppe Beach in front of the Casino (c 1886). Blanche is not known for his landscapes, but painted many portraits of the famous, including Marcel Proust, Aubrey Beardsley, James Joyce, Edgar Degas, Claude Debussy, Auguste Rodin, Thomas Hardy, and John Singer Sargent.

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Claude Monet (1840–1926), Val-Saint-Nicolas, near Dieppe (Morning) (1897), oil on canvas, 25.5 x 39.38 cm, The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC. Wikimedia Commons.

I am sure that Claude Monet had visited Dieppe on many occasions before, but his misty view along the coastal cliffs of Val-Saint-Nicolas, near Dieppe (Morning) (1897) is surely his most famous painting from here.

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Walter Sickert (1860-1942), View of the Hotel Royal (c 1899), further details not known. Image by Pascal Radigue, via Wikimedia Commons.

The British painter Walter Sickert spent a lot of time in Dieppe from 1885 onwards, as it was where his mistress and her son (believed to have been Sickert’s) lived. Among his paintings of the town is this View of the Hotel Royal from about 1899.

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Camille Pissarro (1830–1903), Dieppe Harbour (1902), oil on canvas, 46.7 × 55.2 cm, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA. Wikimedia Commons.

Dieppe was most significantly the location of some of Camille Pissarro’s last paintings, just a year before his death in 1903. Pissarro had suffered recurrent eye problems which prevented him from painting en plein air, so in his later years worked mainly from rooms in the upper floors of hotels. He visited Dieppe for this purpose in 1901 and 1902.

Dieppe Harbour (1902) shows a small steam packet which is unlikely, even in summer, to have crossed the Channel, but may have taken tourists on day cruises along this stretch of coast. At various times, there were also ferry services from Dieppe to the Channel Isles, on the other side of the Cherbourg peninsula.

pissarroouterharbourdieppe
Camille Pissarro (1830–1903), The Outer Harbour of Dieppe, Afternoon, Sun (1902), oil on canvas, 53.5 × 65 cm, Château-Musée de Dieppe, Dieppe, France. Wikimedia Commons.

Pissarro’s quayside is still lined with people in this view of The Outer Harbour of Dieppe, Afternoon, Sun (1902).

pissarrofairdieppe
Camille Pissarro (1830–1903), The Town Fair by the Church of Saint-Jacques in Dieppe, Morning, Sunlight (1901), oil on canvas, 65.3 × 81.5 cm, Hermitage Museum Государственный Эрмитаж, Saint Petersburg, Russia. Wikimedia Commons.

Earlier in his long career, Pissarro had been fascinated by fairs and markets. In The Town Fair by the Church of Saint-Jacques in Dieppe, Morning, Sunlight (1901) he revisited that theme, probably for the last time. Behind the large circular marquee is the town church, which he painted separately too.

pissarrosaintjacqueschurch
Camille Pissarro (1830–1903), The Church of Saint-Jacques in Dieppe (1901), further details not known. Image by Pascal Radigue, via Wikimedia Commons.

In The Church of Saint-Jacques in Dieppe (1901), the streets beside the church are now almost deserted, and the fair gone.

loiseaudieppeharbour
Gustave Loiseau (1865–1935), Dieppe Harbour (1926), oil on canvas, 61 × 73.7 cm, Private collection. Wikimedia Commons.

Gustave Loiseau was a post-Impressionist painter of the next generation, mostly remembered now for his Parisian street scenes. He visited Dieppe, and his 1926 painting of Dieppe Harbour stands as one of his finest landscapes in his characteristic en treillis (cross-hatched) style.

Dieppe suffered, and saw suffering, during the Second World War. The invading Germans destroyed its casino, which had been painted by Blanche. Then on 19 August 1940, the Allies launched a disastrous raid, which attempted to occupy the town for a while to draw the Luftwaffe into battle. Over 1400 Allied troops were killed, nearly a thousand of them Canadian infantry. That raid achieved nothing of value.

I’m told that Dieppe scallops are particularly good to eat.


Filed under: General, Life, Painting

A tale of two Disk Utilities: Sierra and High Sierra

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 11:30 PM PST

While we’re all thinking about Apple’s software quality assurance, following its recent root user vulnerability, I’d like a few words about Disk Utility.

Sierra

I’ll start with version 16.3, supplied with macOS Sierra 10.12.6. Although it can usually be coaxed to do most of its tasks properly, it often throws errors and refuses many basic tasks the first time around.

Sometimes, it will format a USB memory ‘stick’ in standard ExFAT without batting an eyelid. But not infrequently, the first attempt fails.

diskutilsierra01

Try again, and it suddenly discovers that it can do it after all, and completes without any error.

diskutilsierra02

In my experience, when it formats a drive, it is pretty reliable. I can use ExFAT and HFS+ drives formatted by Disk Utility 16.3 with Sierra 10.12.6, and High Sierra 10.13 and 10.13.1. So it seems good to use, once you have worked through its annoying habit of first refusal.

High Sierra

Disk Utility 17.0, even build 337 which came with the High Sierra 10.13.1 update, is almost the exact opposite. It tends to refuse some apparently straightforward tasks, like formatting some USB sticks and SSDs in APFS, but for others it blunders ahead and gets them wrong.

Its behaviour with USB sticks is particularly irksome. It tries to format them in ExFAT, but usually seems to make a mess and produce an unusable volume. I have taken to formatting all such sticks in Sierra, even though this means erasing them twice to work through its initial failure; currently that seems to be the only way to do so reliably. After the second release of a major version of macOS, that is hardly acceptable.

The puzzle here is that ExFAT format and USB sticks are hardly novel. Unlike with APFS, there shouldn’t be any need for new code to make Disk Utility work reliably with established formats such as ExFAT and HFS+.

Problems with APFS are more understandable: it is, after all, a brand new file system, and is bound to have teething problems. I still find it impossible to guess what Disk Utility will do when asked to convert an SSD or USB stick to APFS, though. Sometimes it just works, and others its errors are so persistent that I have to give up. There is then no option to fall back to Sierra, whose early implementation of APFS lies abandoned and useless.

diskutilhs01

For those frustrated by unsuccessful attempts to convert or format solid-state media (SSD or stick) to APFS, the screenshot below is evidence that it can be done, but doesn’t explain why their media fail every time.

diskutilhs02

I haven’t even got down to problems of detail here, such as why both versions of Disk Utility always state that external drives are not SSDs even when they are, or, worse still, the continuing lack of support for SMART on drives attached by USB.

diskutilsierra04

Is there a more reliable alternative to Disk Utility? Something which provides a comfortable and reliable wrapper for the command tool diskutil would be really useful, please.


Filed under: Macs, Technology

High Sierra’s security update can block file sharing

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 10:20 PM PST

If you are running macOS High Sierra 10.13.1 and have just applied the Security Update (2017-001) to fix its root user vulnerability, you may find that you cannot access file sharing on that Mac any more. Problems include being unable to authenticate or connect to that Mac to access its shared files.

Apple has issued a note recommending a solution which it says should repair file sharing in this circumstance. On the Mac which is supposed to be sharing its files (as a ‘server’), enter the following in Terminal’s command line:
sudo /usr/libexec/configureLocalKDC
then enter your admin user’s password at the prompt.

This command generates a local Kerberos Key Distribution Centre (LocalKDC) for Open Directory single sign-on and sets it up, using the System keychain and other installed components.

You should also be able to check whether the LocalKDC is functioning correctly by entering the command
sudo /usr/libexec/checkLocalKDC
and authenticating. That should return Success; if it doesn’t, then you should need to run configureLocalKDC as above.

Running configureLocalKDC is not destructive, and if repeated when it is not needed shouldn’t cause any problems.

(Thanks to Miles Wolbe for alerting me to this.)


Filed under: Macs, Technology