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Gustave... 1883

Manet passed away seven months ago. A great feeling of emptiness. We are all orphans. He said: "A painter can say everything with fruits or flowers...". Well he was right and I will add: "A painter can say everything with light and colors".

Today, I finished a canvas of good dimensions: "Promenade à Argenteuil". I did a quick sketch last summer. A light wind made the trees quiver, the sky was cloudless.

Gustave Caillebotte. Promenade à Argenteuil. Place du marché. 1883. Collection particulière
Gustave Caillebotte. Promenade à Argenteuil. Place du marché. 1883. Collection particulière

On the square, in front of the fence of the refreshment bar, I quickly had Charlotte pose with her parasol.

A painter can say anything with fruits or flowers! Last year I painted a dish of peaches. Invitation to succumb to temptation! My twelve peaches await their executioner like resigned apostles. Plump apostles, with velvet skin, in the colors of the setting sun. Manet would have painted them differently, I'm sure.

Gustave Caillebotte. Nature morte aux pêches. 1882. Musée Van Gogh Amsterdam
Gustave Caillebotte. Nature morte aux pêches. 1882. Musée Van Gogh Amsterdam

Manet, I saw his strawberries in their wicker basket. Damn, that brushstroke! The extreme precision in the rendering, with this false modesty of the brush which gives you the fruit without seeming to do so, in broad strokes, nestled in its case.

Édouard Manet. Panier de fraises. 1882. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Édouard Manet. Panier de fraises. 1882. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gsutave Caillebotte. Autoportrait. 1889. Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec
Gsutave Caillebotte. Autoportrait. 1889. Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec

Still life... The term is curious, by the way. The English say "Still life" - calm life. The Germans "Stillleben". What could be livelier than this basket of freshly picked strawberries?

This morning I completed the will I left in 1876. I added Charlotte and my goddaughter Jenny. And then my brother Martial, I give him full ownership of everything we have in common, in addition to what is legally his.




© Fabrice Roy. Journal apocryphe de Gustave. 2023



In his art history lectures, Fabrice Roy combines the past with the present, in a poetic and playful evocation of the French 19th century...



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