Wednesday, December 13, 2017

04 Painting, Streets of Paris, Part 15 - With Footnotes

Edouard-Léon Cortès, (French, 1882-1969)
Gare de l'Est, 1964
Oil on canvas
18 x 21-3/4 inches (45.7 x 55.2 cm)
Private collection

Gare de l'Est, officially Paris-Est, is one of the six large train termini in Paris. It is one of the largest and the oldest railway stations in Paris.

The Gare de l'Est was opened in 1849 under the name "Strasbourg platform." This platform corresponds today with the hall for main-line trains, and was designed by the architect François Duquesnay.

Renovations to the station followed in 1885 and 1900. In 1931 it was doubled in size, with the new part of the station built symmetrically with the old part. 

At the top of the west façade of the Gare de l'Est is a statue by the sculptor Philippe Joseph Henri Lemaire, representing the city of Strasbourg, while the east end of the station is crowned by a statue personifying Verdun, by Varenne. These two cities are important destinations serviced by Gare de l'Est. 

On 4 October 1883, the Gare de l'Est saw the first departure of the Orient Express for Istanbul.

In the main-line train hall, a monumental painting by Albert Herter, Le Départ des poilus, août 1914 dating from 1926, illustrates the departure of these soldiers for the Western front More on Gare de l'Est

Edouard Léon Cortès (1882–1969) was a French post-impressionist artist of French and Spanish ancestry. He is known as "Le Poete Parisien de la Peinture" or "the Parisian Poet of Painting" because of his diverse Paris cityscapes in a variety of weather and night settings. Cortes was born in Lagny-sur-Marne, about twenty miles east of Paris. His father, Antonio Cortès, had been a painter for the Spanish Royal Court.

Although Cortès was a pacifist, when war came close to his native village he was compelled to enlist in a French Infantry Regiment at the age of 32. As a contact agent Cortès was wounded by a bayonet, evacuated to a military hospital, and awarded the Croix de Guerre. After recovery he was the reassigned to utilize his artistic talent to sketch enemy positions. Later in life his convictions led him to refuse the Légion d'Honneur from the French Government. In 1919 he was demobilized.


Cortès lived a simple life amid a close circle of friends. He died on November 28, 1969, in Lagny, and has a street named in his honor. More on Edouard Léon Cortès

Jean Béraud, (French, 1849-1935)
L'Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysées, circa 1882-85
Oil on canvas
22-1/2 x 15-1/4 inches (57.2 x 38.7 cm)
Private collection

Honoring those who fought and died for France during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile stands at the center of the present work by Jean Béraud, the master of Belle Époque Parisian painting. Béraud presents the prototypical view of the Champs-Élysées: fashionably dressed figures stroll under the trees and others ride in carriages down the busy avenue. Many have commented on Beraud's realistic portrayal of everyday life at the fin-de-siecle and this attention to detail extends to his meticulous depiction of a plaster sculpture that surmounted the Arc itself at the time-Alexandre Falguière's The Triumph of the Revolution. As one of the finest sculptors to practice during the Second Empire, Falguière conceived his monumental plaster sculpture as an elaborate quadriga preparing to "crush Anarchy and Despotism", a worthy commentary on the political vagaries that had beset France in the past. The plaster group was in place from 1882 until it crumbled in 1886. Unfortunately, no version in bronze was commissioned; there is only a maquette of the sculpture in the collection of the Musée d'Orsay, and, of course, images such as Béraud's Arc de Triomphe. More on this painting

Jean Béraud (January 12, 1849 – October 4, 1935) was a French painter, noted for his paintings of Parisian life during the Belle Époque. He was renowned in Paris society due to his numerous paintings depicting the life of Paris, and the nightlife of Paris society. He also painted religious subjects in a contemporary setting. Pictures of the Champs Elysees, cafeés, Montmartre and the banks of the Seine are precisely detailed illustrations of everyday Parisian era of the "Belle Époque". More Jean Béraud

Antoine Blanchard, (French, 1910-1988)
Arc de Triomphe
Oil on canvas
18 x 15 inches (45.7 x 38.1 cm)
Private collection

Arc de Triomphe, see above

Antoine Blanchard is the pseudonym under which the French painter Marcel Masson (15 November 1910 – 1988) painted his immensely popular Parisian street scenes. He was born in a small village near the banks of the Loire.
Blanchard received his initial artistic training at the Beaux-Arts in Rennes, Brittany. He then moved to Paris in 1932 where he joined the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He won the Prix de Rome.
Like Édouard Cortès (1882–1969) and Eugène Galien-Laloue (1854–1941), Antoine Blanchard essentially painted Paris and the Parisians in bygone days, often from vintage postcards. The artist began painting his Paris street scenes in the late 1950s, and like Cortès, often painted the same Paris landmark many times, in different weather conditions or various seasons. The most recurrent topics were views of the capital city in cloudy or rainy days, showing streets busy with pedestrians in a rush to go home, and bright storefronts reflecting on wet streets.
Antoine Blanchard died in 1988. More on Antoine Blanchard

Paul Signac, (French, 1863-1935)
Paris, le Pont des Arts, circa 1925
Watercolor and crayon on paper
10-1/4 x 16 inches (26.0 x 40.6 cm)
Private collection

The Pont des Arts or Passerelle des Arts is a pedestrian bridge in Paris which crosses the River Seine. It links the Institut de France and the central square (cour carrée) of the Palais du Louvre, (which had been termed the "Palais des Arts" under the First French Empire); between 1802 and 1804, under the reign of Napoleon I

In 1976, the Inspector of Bridges and Causeways reported several deficiencies on the bridge. More specifically, he noted the damage that had been caused by two aerial bombardments sustained during World War I and World War II and the harm done from the multiple collisions caused by boats. The bridge would be closed to circulation in 1977 and, in 1979, suffered a 60-metre collapse after a barge rammed into it.

The present bridge was built between 1981 and 1984 "identically" according to the plans of Louis Arretche.


The bridge has sometimes served as a place for art exhibitions, and is today a studio en plein air for painters, artists and photographers. The Pont des Arts is also frequently a spot for picnics during the summer. More on The Pont des Arts

Paul Signac, (born Nov. 11, 1863, Paris, France—died Aug. 15, 1935, Paris) French painter who, with Georges Seurat, developed the technique called pointillism.
When he was 18, Signac gave up the study of architecture for painting and, through Armand Guillaumin, became a convert to the colouristic principles of Impressionism. In 1884 Signac helped found the Salon des Indépendants. There he met Seurat, whom he initiated into the broken-colour technique of Impressionism. The two went on to develop the method they called pointillism, which became the basis of Neo-Impressionism. They continued to apply pigment in minute dabs of pure colour, as had the Impressionists, but they adopted an exact, almost scientific system of applying the dots, instead of the somewhat intuitive application of the earlier masters. In watercolours Signac used the principle in a much freer manner. After 1886 he took part regularly in the annual Salon des Indépendants, to which he sent landscapes, seascapes, and decorative panels. Being a sailor, Signac traveled widely along the European coast, painting the landscapes he encountered. In his later years he painted scenes of Paris, Viviers, and other French cities.

Signac produced much critical writing and was the author of From Eugène Delacroix to Neo-Impressionism (1899) and Jongkind (1927). The former book is an exposition of pointillism, while the latter is an insightful treatise on watercolour painting. More on Paul Signac






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