Page 0025

T

he light drew Van

Gogh to Arles -

for a man used to

grey skies in the

Netherlands and

Parisian gaslight,

the wonderful light of Provence

was a revelation. Inspired, he

created some 200 canvasses in

just one year including those

fabled sunflowers and 'Starry

Night'.

And he put Arles on the

painters' map. Today, walking

round the town you still find

locations of many of his

paintings as, prudently, city

fathers have provided both

markers and a guide!

It was back in the 1860's in

France when a new movement

of painters was inspired to

reject traditional styles of

painting: playing with light they

tried to capture feeling - the

impression of a single moment,

moving sky, reflections on

water. By loosening brushwork,

the glorious colours they chose

erupted on to canvas and a

whole magical era and style

emerged.

And with this new style

they discovered new locations,

portraying previously unknown

villages and towns, depicting

them in 'new light'.

The movement started

in Paris: Monet, Renoir and

Sisley had met in art classes

but realised they wanted to

paint differently to the formal

manner, then de rigeur. At this

time Haussmann was busy

with his wholesale renovation

of Paris, and perhaps it was

Pissaro who captured the

boulevards of this new city

to perfection while one

of Impressionism's most

celebrated masterpieces was

also painted here by Renoir at

the Bal du Moulin de la Galette

in Montmartre - it remains open

as a restaurant to this day.

However the artists soon

moved out from Paris along

the Seine towards Normandy

and the coast. Famed for his

water lily paintings Monet

spent the second half of his life

in Giverny. Honfleur with its

water landscape and changing

moods was captured by Seurat.

Fashionable resorts along the

Normandy coast - Dieppe, Le

Havre, Deauville and Trouville

were painters hotspots. Boudin

and Berthe Morisot created

seascapes along the Alabaster

Coast while Monet painted his

'l'Impression Sunrise' at

Le Havre in 1874 giving name

to this new movement!

By the 1880's Pont-Aven

in rural Brittany, close to

Concarneau on the Atlantic

coast, attracted another group

of artists who followed Emile

Bernard, Paul Gauguin and

Sérusier - today their work is

Aix-en-Provence

Paul Cezanne Montagne-Sainte-Victoire

Grasse

25

LEGGETT IMMOBILIER - LOCAL KNOWLEDGE YOU CAN TRUST

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