The Salon Advent Calendar: Day Twenty-One

Until 1917, Maria Blanchard divided her time between Paris and her native Spain, only really settling in Paris after the war. Her artistic roots, however, were with the Spanish artists with whom she studied, particularly the Cubist painter Juan Gris. Cubism was a large part of her output; Blanchard would use it in her own unique style, allowing figurative elements, along with a riotous use of colour. Many of her still-life works became well-known; she exhibited throughout Belgium and France. “Woman with Guitar” shows the combination f cubism and figurative painting. The insistently rhythmic and melodic music swirls out of the painting and hits the observer full on.

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Ida Presti is a name now little-known outside of guitar circles, despite the hard-to-please Segovia’s pronouncement that he had “nothing to teach her.” The guitar was chosen for her as her instrument before she was even born; she spent her childhood living up to expectations of her great talent. A solo career later gave way to a duo with her husband. She was known for phenomenal technique and for an extraordinarily powerful sound. Not only was she a great performer, however, she was also a composer. Her “Danse Rythmique” displays both her vast knowledge of her instrument and a supreme skill at handling musical material, crafting it into joyous praise of movement.