Antoine Blanchard, French (1910 - 1988)

Antoine Blanchard

As a boy Blanchard was determined to become an artist and loved to paint scenes of his native village and surrounding countryside. Anxious to promote the development and full flowering of his gifts, his parents sent him to Blois for drawing lessons. They then sent him to Rennes, the chief city of Brittany, to attend the classes of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

Three years of steady work there further developed his skill in drawing, so evident today in the accuracy of each line in his canvases. In 1932 Blanchard left Rennes to attend the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. After four years there he had acquired such a mastery of technique that he was chosen to enter the competition for the important Prix de Rome. It was also at this time that Antoine Blanchard discovered a particular interest in painting scenes of the Parisian streets, the canvases which have merited his place in the affections of American and Canadian collectors, as well as those of England, Germany, and his native France. Imaginative artist, refined colorist in love with light, Antoine Blanchard possessed a remarkable skill for creating the atmosphere of a street scene. Though he is considered a contemporary artist, he painted the Paris of 1900 and through his paintings revived a period full of charm. His mastery of drawing resulted in compositions in which the architecture of the buildings is always faultless.

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 many times the same Paris landmark, 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.

He filled the streets and boulevard with human figures clad in the mode of 1900 and painted with a fine and accurate brush. For Blanchard, Paris was an inexhaustible subject. The flower carts in the spring, the book stalls along the Seine, the Champs-Elysees filled with bustling crowds after a rain, street cafes with their brilliant glow of lights reflected in the street and silhouetting passerby, the famous and historic buildings -- all furnished subjects for his brush. He employed rich color in muted resonance, brilliantly accented with touches of almost electric color in the skies or on the streets themselves. Blanchard was both artist and poet in developing his beautiful studies of Paris.

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