- Georges Coulomb
The painters of the Provencal school
The Provençal school designates a group of artists who painted Provence, its light, its landscapes, its traditions, from the 18th to the 20th century. These painters captured the soul of this Mediterranean region, rich in colors and contrasts. They were also influenced by the great artistic movements of their time, such as romanticism, realism, impressionism or fauvism.
Among the precursors of the Provencal school, we can mention
Emile Loubon (1809-1863), director of the Marseille drawing school, who encouraged his students to leave the studio and work outdoors. He is considered the founder of the Provencal school. Vincent Courdouan (1810-1893), his successor, painted very classical, constructed and precise landscapes. Paul Guigou (1834-1871) tried to translate the aridity of sun-drenched landscapes, and his realistic vision already broke with academicism.
Adolphe Monticelli (1824-1886) is probably the most famous of the Provençal painters. He developed a particular technique, based on thick paste and contrasting colors, which earned him the admiration of Van Gogh. He painted genre scenes, still lifes, landscapes and seascapes. He is considered a precursor of fauvism and expressionism.
In the 20th century, the Provençal school experienced a new boom with artists such as Jean-Baptiste Olive (1848-1936), who specialized in seascapes, Pierre Ambrogiani (1905-1994), who used bright and pure colors, or Antoine Ferrari (born in 1910), who mixed abstract and figurative in his still lifes. We can also mention Auguste Chabaud (1882-1955), who paints a more austere and rural Provence, or René Seyssaud (1867-1952), who expresses the sensuality and the joy of living in the region.
The Provençal school cannot be reduced to a single style or to a precise period. It is rather a common sensibility of artists who loved and represented Provence in all its diversity and beauty.