Early Spring in the Golfe of Saint-Tropez…

 

Le Port de Saint-Tropez

Le Port de Saint-Tropez - Annick Mckenzie/photo

On March 21st , we celebrated our 30th wedding Anniversary with a very yummy lunch in Saint-Tropez.

After the champagne ,  the Grand Aioli,  the rosé de Provence,  the absolutely delicious tartes aux fraises ,  we strolled along the port , happy and at ease !

For those of you who have only visited Saint-Tropez or St Trop  in the summer months,  the feeling is quite different in winter and early spring..no crowds,  hardly any yachts in the port ,  the plane trees look magnificent and sculptural ,  and the restaurants are quietly busy .  We enjoyed our day so much!Many villages in this area are very unique and I understand why artists like  Paul Signac ,  the neo – impressionist painter,  who arrived there in 1892 and made this lovely fishing port a ‘rendez-vous’ for artists.

Port de Saint-Tropez (Paul Signac)

Port de Saint-Tropez (Paul Signac)

Local artist Auguste Pégurier, and Henri-Edmond Cross were already painting scenes ‘tropéziennes’ and through exhibiting at the Salon d’Automne in Paris , made the charm of this little fishing village known and Saint-Tropez became a place of inspiration for many young artists.

After the First World War the realistic and colourful style of some painters especially Henri Manguin became more appreciated by the public who was yearning for reassurance after the terrible heartache of the Great War.

Other creative people started to visit and an ‘intelligentsia  parisienne’ settled in this port made known to them through the paintings of these artists.

Now the fame and fortune,  celebrity syndrome is thriving,  especially in the summer months..no small fishing boats in the harbour,  only impressive yachts stand side by side ,  film stars,  packed cafes and restaurants,  designer boutiques and mostly thousand of people hoping to spot someone ‘famous’ .

I wonder what Signac and his friends would make of it all, would they join the numerous artists painting ‘en plein air’ along the port?

For me, one of the treasure of Saint Tropez is Le Musée de l’Annonciade , a reminder that the village was one of the most active centres of the pictorial avant-guarde of the beginning of the 20th Century,  thanks to Paul Signac who discovered it while sailing in the Golfe.

Charmed by the area, Signac bought a home there  which became his studio ‘La Hune’ and where he invited many artists such as Matisse,  Derain,  Marquet.

The collections displayed were introduced between 1890 and 1950. And it is a pleasure to walk around the beautiful and light building and have the time to ‘stand and stare’ at these amazing paintings…I love colour and this is my world!

All the artists exhibited based their work around the notion of colour. These works by artists such as  Signac, Derain, Matisse, Braque,   Bonnard, ,  Van Dongen ,   Rouault,   Maurice Vlaminck,  George Seurat,  Edouard Vuillard and Henri Manguin , belong essentially to the Pointillist,  Les Nabis and the Fauvist Periods.

Seeing the works of one artist in particular,  Henri Manguin,  a Fauvist ,  made me realise and understand even deeper why I love this part of France ,  its light,  colour and landscape…and why I am so looking forward to move there very soon.

Olive Trees

Olive Trees (Henri Manguin)

 

Oh, and what about the  ‘house of our dreams’  I talked about in my  previous blog ?  we did find it and fingers crossed,  all will be revealed very soon….

 

 

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