top of page

The impressionnism of Clémentine Ballot

Clémentine Ballot (1879-1964) is honored for the first time in the Hôtel Lépinat at the center for interpreting the heritage of painters from the Creuse valley in Crozant. Conceived with the support of the artist's grandson, an exhibition presents until June 2023 the work that the painter carried out between 1905 and 1921, alongside artists such as Léon Detroy, Paul Madeline and Armand Guillaumin.

Kees Van Dongen sur les planches. Août 1952. © Georges Dambier
Clémentine Ballot.Village de Crozant, gelée blanche, 1916, huile sur toile, Collection particulière. ©DR

The village of Crozant, located near Fresseline, on the northern edge of the Creuse department, has attracted many artists practicing landscape painting since the 1850s. They worked mainly on the shores of the two Creuses (Grande Creuse and Petite Creuse), the Sédelle and the Gargilesse.

Born in Paris in 1879, Clémentine Ballot painted in the Creuse, in Brittany, in the Lot and the Dordogne, in the Balearic Islands and also in the South of France.

Throughout her career, she has assumed an original vision of light and the use of bold colors. She has thus built a real pictorial identity, where the influence of impressionism, pointillism and even fauvism can be seen.

“I am happy every time I have been able to arouse in others the emotion that I myself felt in front of a beautiful effect". This phrase from the artist alone sums up the sensitive energy she displayed in her approach to the landscapes that she painted mostly from nature.

Clémentine Ballot dans l'atelier d'Armand Guillaumin. © DR
Clémentine Ballot dans l'atelier d'Armand Guillaumin, à Crozant. © DR

In 1912, she met Armand Guillaumin who settled in Crozant in 1892. The latter leads a solitary life there which takes him every day on a few favorite grounds. The Moulin Brigand site, dominated by the ruins of the feudal castle, particularly attracted him. We see it below, painted by Clémentine Ballot and Armand Guillaumin from two different perspectives.

Les ruines de Crozant, nn datée, huile sur toile, C. Ballot, collection particulière
Clémentine Ballot. Les ruines de Crozant, non datée, huile sur toile, collection particulière ©DR
Armand Guillaumin (1841-1927) La Creuse à Crozant ca. 1893 © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel

Clémentine Ballot, who also said “I paint from intuition and I have no imagination. The presence of nature is essential to me", was a member of the National Fine Arts Academy and was awarded two painting prizes including the Puvis de Chavanne prize in 1950. Decorated with the Legion of Honor, she exhibited at the Georges Petit gallery in 1923 and at that of Bernheim Jeune in 1936.

Unfairly overlooked, she was hailed by critics and the French State, recognizing her talent, acquired several of her paintings to keep them in national museums. We can only appreciate more the initiative of the Heritage Interpretation Center Hotel Lepinat to make better known this landscape painter of great talent.

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

Hôtel Lepinat

5 Rue Armand Guillaumin

23160 Crozant


bottom of page