Painters and light of Provence

Circuit découverte de Van Gogh à Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

Circuit découverte de Van Gogh à Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

Thanks to Vincent Van Gogh, the light of Provence Pays d'Arles has become famous around the world. The painter spent 20 months here and produced over 350 paintings, including his major works. Although he was unable to fulfil his dream of living in Arles, 'the workshop of the future', he made these landscapes so influential in the art world that many other artists took an interest in the city. Chabaud, Brayer and Lelée lived here and Picasso was a regular visitor. The Brayer Museum, the Chabaud Museum, the Arlaten Museum and the Réattu Museum house the major works they produced in Provence Pays d'Arles.

 

In the light of Vincent…


How exciting it is to follow in the footsteps of Vincent Van Gogh and admire the landscapes and streets which he painted! You can enjoy this intense experience by following the 'In the footsteps of Vincent Van Gogh in Provence' route between Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Arles and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, where every viewpoint is sign-posted. Van Gogh arrived in Arles in February 1888 and left Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in May 1890. The painter travelled through the town and the countryside for twenty-eight months, searching for the most beautiful light and the most beautiful panoramas. He depicted them in more than 350 paintings, from the Alyscamps to the Quais du Rhône, from the rocks of Montmajour to the beaches of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, from the plain of La Crau to the hills of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Vincent was so inspired that he wanted to create a 'House of Artists' here.


He convinced Paul Gauguin to live there for a few months. The two friends worked together and painted the series on the Alyscamps. Their cohabitation was cut short and ended with the dramatic episode of the cut-off earlobe. The 'House of Artists' project which was dear to Van Gogh inspired the Van Gogh Foundation in Arles, which contains a unique collection of over 200 works by contemporary artists paying tribute to him.


Auguste Chabaud (1882-1955) also drew his inspiration from the Alpilles. He was born in Nîmes, studied in Avignon, lived in Paris and Tunis and then settled permanently in Graveson. Chabaud immortalised 'La Montagnette', painting country scenes, country people winding their way through the hills and paths and the magnificent Way of the Cross, which winds steeply upwards towards Saint-Michel-de-Frigolet. The Auguste Chabaud Regional Museum in Graveson presents a permanent collection of his works. Léo Lelée (1872-1947), a contemporary of Chabaud, also made a major contribution to the imagery of PROVENCE PAYS D’ARLES. He was born in La Mayenne and settled in Arles, where he opened a small shop called 'A l'image prouvençau'. He sold postcards, writing paper and pottery, with an infinite collection of stylised figures of Arlesian girls dancing in rounds, transforming their costumes with modern lengths of ribbon. The shop became an artists' meeting place and allowed him to receive his first commissions for watercolours and prints. He dedicated his art to typically local subjects such as Les Lices in Arles, the Virginal Festival and the Les Baux Procession. A number of works 'by the painter of the Arlesian women' are part of the collections of the Arlaten Museum.


Antoine Serra, born in 1908 on the island of La Madalena, Sardinia, arrived in Marseille with his mother and sisters at the age of six. He had a difficult childhood and adolescence, but still succeeded in entering the Fine Arts Academy, joined the Communist Party and became part of the group of Proletarian painters between the wars. He was a member of the Resistance during the Occupation and his independent spirit caused him a few problems with the Party, from which he resigned in 1953. He settled in the Alpilles in 1946, in Les Baux firstly, where he was elected to the municipal council and became responsible for culture. He finally bought a house in Mouriès, where he died in 1995. He painted the landscapes of the Alpilles and La Crau with energy and passion. His workshop in Mouriès is preserved by his wife.


Another painter linked to this region, Yves Brayer (1907-1990), was fascinated by the diversity of the Alpilles, with their limestone folding, and by the vast reaches of Camargue populated by horses and bulls. He was born in Versailles in 1907 and stayed and painted in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and Les Baux-de-Provence every year. He bought a house there in 1961. The Yves Brayer Museum in Les Baux-de-Provence presents a retrospective of his work, an exceptional series which covers almost sixty years of creativity.


Although he did not paint in the region, Picasso remains a major artist. The figure of the 'Arlésienne' (The Woman from Arles) appeared in his work in 1912 and the arenas of Arles in 1960. In 1971, during an exhibition at the Réattu Museum, the Spanish Master decided to offer 57 drawings to the City. This exceptional donation testifies to his special attachment to Arles, based on his passion for corrida and in particular the irresistible attraction of the 'ghost' of Van Gogh. The Réattu Museum still has these 57 drawings and also displays two paintings by the Master: The Portrait of Maria (the artist's mother) and the Portrait of Lee Miller as Arlésienne (1937), a reference to the Portrait of Madame Ginoux by Van Gogh. These 20th century works are conserved in what was the residence of Jacques Réattu (1760-1833), an Arles painter who won the Grand Prix de Rome in 1790. Réattu also left a number of works to the city. As a tribute, the city of Arles named a museum after him, created in the place of his residence, by the River Rhône.

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Art and culture (2)
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collection du musée Réattu à Arles

Musee Reattu

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Formerly known as the Grand Prieuré de l'Ordre de Malte (Grand Priory of the Order of Malta).

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10, Street, Du Grand Prieuré,
13200
04 90 49 37 58
http://www.museereattu.arles.fr
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Museon Arlaten

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The Arlaten Museum, the departmental ethnography museum founded at the end of the 19th century by the poet Frédéric Mistral, is a 'place of memories' of Provençal society.

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31, Street, De la République,
13200
04 13 31 51 99
http://www.museonarlaten.fr