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Théodore Rousseau_-_La_cabane_du_charbon_de_bois_dans_la_forêt_de_Fontainebleau. 1855
Théodore Rousseau_-_La_cabane du charbon de bois dans la forêt de Fontainebleau. 1855

Theodore had set out early in the morning. A fine, nasty rain pierced his brown canvas jacket. He had secured an easel on his back and he was holding his box of colors and a small folding stool in his large, slender hands. The day before, the evening was still well watered at Ganne where the happy painters of the "Fine trees" academy had gathered for a balthazar that I don't tell you! We had to take Dupré back to his barn, carrying him under our arms. It was funny to see him, as if between two gendarmes, his feet shod in big clogs dragging on the ground, his beard half-mast and the felt hat unsteady on his bald head.

Théodore had been able to buy himself a nice house, near the tiny chapel with its wooden steeple and sad porch. On the first floor, he had set up his landscape studio, largely lit by a bay window. On the ground floor, the kitchen faced the dining room. The walls were covered with canvases, oils on cardboard and even on paper. A few sculptures dotted tables and pedestal tables in the soft darkness provided by the windows pierced in the thickness of the wall.

Since the 1860s, Barbizon had become a village of painters, all attracted by the unique luminosity and calm of the place. The proximity of the forest of Fontainebleau, the charm of Chailly en Bière whose bell tower Millet had immortalized, the generous and simple nature of the inhabitants had gradually given the place new inhabitants, a little eccentric, great artists, proud drinkers and revelers before the Lord!

They had parked the car in the parking lot of the village hall. Hand in hand, they had passed the Golden Key belay and were walking towards the Ganne Inn. Suddenly, a very light and fragrant breath enveloped them, the light seemed to decrease for a moment. For a few seconds, they thought they saw, coming towards them, a funny smiling fellow, dressed in old fashion, wearing a hat and beard with a mischievous gleam in his eyes.

They looked at each other...

They were fine.

Fabrice Roy


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