|XVIII: The Late Years|
As rightly befitted a man who had survived all the major artistic currents of the twentieth century to date, Lahner spent the last decade of his life reaping the rewards of an exceptionally long career. In addition to his perennial showings at the Laky Gallery in Carmel, he exhibited in Paris at the Galerie Christine Colin (1970), the Galerie Estève (1973 and1974), and the Galerie René Drouet (1977). He was also on hand for the inauguration of the Salle Lahner at the museum of Fontenay-le-Comte in l977 which, with fourteen of the artist's oils and pastels on permanent display, remains the most extensive public collection of his work. His active career as an artist came to an end around l975 however, due principally to his wife's recurrent illness and his own advancing years. While at this point entitled to a well-earned rest, he made one last effort to create something new.
is his series of Composition paintings, dating to the summer of
l973. From the proceeds of his sales Lahner had purchased a small villa
in Vence in the late l960s, and it was here from the villa's terrace that
he looked out onto the precipitous hills lined with olives and painted.
While the forms and colors differ in each Composition , they all
stem from a consistent vision of the natural world and from the artist's
own personal joy in the act of painting. There are no contour lines or
other illusionistic devices to mediate between Lahner's concept of nature
and the viewer's, but the juxtaposition of warm and cool tones hints at
spatial depth while conveying the sense of soft reflective light. Thus
at the very end of his career, Lahner returned to his Impressionist roots
for inspiration and, freed from all technical constraints, produced some
of the most imaginative works of his entire oeuvre.