Sunday, January 20, 2013

A French Painting with a Story


While in gay Paris last fall, I purchased this darling little Impressionistic painting at a flea market:

(I've propped it in this frame to photograph.  I still must have it properly framed)

The painting depicts a street in Montmartre, rue l'Abrevoir.

An abrevoir (a French word with which I was unfamiliar) is a watering trough for animals,  as the vendor explained to me.  

If you look closely, the Sacre-Coeur Basilica is visible in the distance:


I really like the soft, muted colours in the painting, although shades of pink and lavender don't really seem to work in any room right now.

I especially like the butterscotch and teal blue tones on the left side:



The vendor was an elderly man who said the artist, Fremont (he told me the first name which I forgot an hour later), had painted these small paintings in the 1940's and had been a rather prolific local painter.

Two other paintings in the set were also for sale.  The vendor said he had bought them a long time ago and kept them for himself for many years. He was reluctant to break up the trio, but I only wanted the single painting.  

On hindsight, I am also fond of the one below, which depicts the ubiquitous steep Montmartre stairways.  However, since the price was also steep, I only took the one:



The vendor also took pictures of the three paintings before I left, and seemed a bit teary-eyed to part with any of them.  He seemed like a kind fellow and we talked quite a while, as I struggled to cope with his lovely but very quickly spoken French.  He did seem thankful that the painting was going to an interested person with a sympathetic spirit.

When I got home, I was rather curious about rue l'Abrevoir, about whether the scene existed or was a construct of the artist's imagination.

So I Google-mapped it and sure enough, here is the street from the painting:


Note the street lamp on the left, the triangular-roofed building (now painted white) on the left with the dormer windows and chimney, and the stone wall to the right with trees atop it:
Further along the street you can see the pink house in the distance which appears in the painting:

The artist took some license, as the roof of the Sacre Coeur is just barely visible through the trees and not so prominently located as in the painting (unless perhaps the buildings blocking it in the distance were not there in the 1940's).

There is nothing better than owning a thing which has a story reaching back into the past. 

30 comments:

  1. I love this. Only you would get such a find! Wow! Lovely and then to find the photo of the actual street. I love that he took photos of his work. How romantic.
    I thought of Gomez Adams when I read your french. Remember what he used to say, "Mortisha, I love it when you talk french!" Hee hee.
    xoxo
    Lisa
    Leeshideaway.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the sweet comment. :)

      Delete
  2. Ahhh...knowing the provenance is wonderful. Perhaps you'll print off this post and attach it somehow to the back of the frame when it is done. The seller sounds like a dear man who was just sorry that you were not more "in the chips" than he might have wished since he didn't want to split up the trio. They are all lovely paintings and you are blessed to have the one you really wanted; it is a real charmer.

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  3. Lucky find! When we were in Paris last July, I searched for some artwork from a local artist. Unfortunately I came home with nothing.. so I guess I'll have to go back!! This is such a beautiful painting. The soft, muted colors are stunning.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lovely. I was in Paris and the only thing I wanted was a painting to bring home of a lovely Parisian locale but I also found nothing that I could afford. $30,000.00 was the one painting I thought I couldn't live without, until I heard the price.

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  5. This is so cool that you found the actual place...as if that painting needs anything to make it more special. The one you chose is an absolute gem. I think I love like this one even more than the horse riding one. A winter scene can look so cold but the warm colors of this one is what make it so special. I can't tell the medium and substrate from the photos. Is it oil on board?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steve,
      I know - I was keen to see the street once he told me the name but we ran out of time to go there. Yes, it appears to be oil. It is on board. I love it - now it just needs to be suitably framed - that could be a process to sort out what it requires.

      xo T.

      Delete
  6. What a charming painting, with a wonderful story. As someone else has suggested, attaching the painting's provenance to the back would be a great idea.

    I love wintry scenes. Do you keep them up all year round, or do you change out your art according to the season?

    ReplyDelete
  7. BRAVO and WELL DONE!!!!

    This is the fun of the "curious" and the fun of the "chase"!!

    You won!

    I hope you will wqant to continue!

    BRAVO!!!!

    Penelope

    ReplyDelete
  8. I like your paintings and i understand the concept of story. I appreciate your work.
    Thanks for sharing.
    industrial painting contractors
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a nice backstory. Great colors in the painting.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Beautiful painting, Terri. I absolutely love it. I think it would look terrific in a silver leaf frame. Or lemon gold. Or even a period Montparnasse frame. And great research, my friend :)
    xoxo
    Loi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Loi. Yes, I really have to think about a frame!!

      Delete
  11. Beautiful painting & it's amazing that you found the place on Google maps!

    ReplyDelete
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