L’Arc de Triomphe

by Antoine Blanchard

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 13.0 x 18.0 in./ 33.0 x 45.7 cm
SIGNATURE: Signed lower right
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

Catalogue No: 5181 Categories: ,

Description

Antoine Blanchard is the pseudonym under which the French painter Marcel Masson painted his immensely popular Parisian street scenes

Provenance

Provenance

Private Collection, United Kingdom

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Biography

Biography

Blanchard received his initial artistic training at the Beaux-Arts in Rennes, Brittany. He then moved to Paris in 1932 where he joined the École des Beaux-Arts there. During his studies he won the Prix de Rome.

 

Like his predecessors, Édouard Cortès (1882–1969) and Eugène Galien-Laloue (1854–1941), Antoine Blanchard painted nostalgic scenes of Fin-de-Siècle Paris and the Parisians of 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 subject matter comprised street scenes on rainy days, often at dusk, depicting famous areas of central Paris. This painting shows the busy Champs Élysées with pedestrians and motorists heading away and towards l’arc de triomphe and the bright storefronts reflecting on the wet streets.

 

Despite the repetition of subject matter in Blanchard’s oeuvre, however, each painting has its own character.  As a Neo-Impressionist, Blanchard’s preoccupation was not the scene itself, but the effect of light. For example, in this picture of the Place de la Madeleine, the cobbled street glistens with freshly fallen rain, and the sky above is a mixture of grey and blue as the storm clears. The orange light from the tram in the centre of the road, and the shop windows at the sides provide a romantic and autumnal glow to the painting, reflecting Blanchard’s nostalgia for the past he never experienced.

 

In the late 1950s, Blanchard’s street scenes were exported to the United States and the United Kingdom, where they were sold quickly. By the1960s, Blanchard paintings were immensely popular with collectors who loved Parisian scenes but who could not afford the works of Cortès or one of the other French painters known for their views of Paris in the Belle Époque. Eventually Blanchard’s more delicate, feathery pastel-toned scenes of rain-swept Paris became sought after in their own right and, when he died, he was considered the last of the École de Paris or “School of Paris” painters. His paintings are now widely collected, and his name is said in the same breath as Laloue and Cortès.

 

 

 

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