Painting the Paysage

The Île de France, has that filtered light where even on a gray day, the green is very green and the red is very red.

Joan Mitchell, 1986

 

While the received wisdom is that the art world shifted to New York after 1939, painters such as Joan Mitchell, Sam Francis and Edwin Dickinson travelled the other way. The French landscape nurtured their art. At a moment when the landscape around us is changing at an unheard of pace, particularly as development goes unchecked and the climate heats up, painterly exploration of a carefully husbanded landscape where zoning and renewable energy have kept change to manageable proportions is timely. Fields that have hedgerows, villages that largely stay confined to their traditional boundaries, and towns that preserve their old buildings, where big box stores are limited to industrial areas, offer a landscape that looks not just to the past but to a sustainable future. These paintings of French landscape and houses point reflect balance and interchange between nature and culture.