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jeudi 29 décembre 2011

Gauguin Pont Avon Breton Biscuits and Chocolates


In the 19th century, American artists not having a school of paintings to belong to flocked to France. They found Pont Avon, a quaint town on the banks of the river not far from the Ocean, an ideal place to live, relax, paint and communicate. They loved the Breton countryside, the large American artistic community that stayed mainly at the hotel run by that hospitable Breton lady, Julia Guillou.
It was into this atmosphere that Paul Gauguin came, and soon a coterie of followers was there in the other hostelry in town. Many of the Gauguin followers went on to become famous on their own. The two major visits of the painter to this town, has left an enduring mark on the town, which now can be visited on a journey to Brittany. Artists to me are the best representatives of the society, because as Anthropologists of cultural expression they are always trying to find new ways. A chance meeting with Emile Bernard who presented himself to Paul Gauguin led to the origin or Synthetist or Symbolic art.
Imagine evenings at the Inns, discussing art with the likes of Delavalle, Serusier, and Jourdan et al. Then go during the day to the countryside and find a spot to paint and each one painting their own interpretations.

When visiting the Pont Avon I was attracted to a print, which surprisingly belonged to Hokusai of the Great Wave off Kanagawa fame. Why a Japanese print amidst the aforementioned artists?
In reading through what was available at the Museum, Gauguin and friends offered their art as an expression of collective solidarity, “to go where no one has gone before” in their paintings.
One such was Japonisme, which was defined as:
(From memory) searching for asymmetry, paying attention to details so that the whole can be conveyed best with parts, and simplicity. (Being fond of Japanese food and culture, I thought to myself that applies even today!)
Gauguin went on to immortal fame in Tahiti and the largest collection of Gauguin if I am not mistaken is at Heritage facing the river Neva on an upstairs gallery.
Walking around the town after enjoying the architecture of that era, the number of biscutiers and chocolatiers the town astounds one and in fact all of Brittany is famous for such delectable nourishment to the soul.
The river runs into the sea nearby, the tide is notorious, the water in the river was a trickle when we arrived and it was swollen to the top by the time we left.
Was it Broome in N Western Australia that boasts of the biggest tide in the world? The Bay of Fundy also has that claim and I remember being told of a place off Madagascar. But it is good to watch this natural phenomenon and feel humble before it.
From this map, it does look like Bay of Fundy, N Western coast of Australia and off Madagascar have the highest tides, but you can also see very high tide patterns off Brittany and Japan.
Before my cuban french american spanish friend Pedro points it out, the river is called Aven not Avon but I had put here pont Avon deliberately instead of Pont Aven, in remembrance of our greatest bard!