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La Vie en Couleur: Jaune (Yellow)

Updated: Aug 20, 2020

...a journey through the Colors of Provence!

After exploring the Blues of Provence in our last email, this week, we highlight the Yellows of the region. From the golden Provencal elixir of pastis, an anise-flavored spirit, to the fields of vibrant sunflowers who raise their heads as they follow the direction of the sun, yellows and oranges are well represented in the textiles and artwork of Provence.

Several famous impressionist and post-impressionist artists made their home in Provence. Paul Cézanne, (1839-1906) a student of both the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements, was born in the town of Aix-en-Provence. After having lived in Paris for some time, he would return often to the south to either the fishing village of L'Estaque or Aix where he would refresh his soul in solitude and reflect his surroundings in new paintings. In the 1880's he explained to friend and mentor, Camille Pisarro, that "The sun is so terrific here that it seems to me as if the objects were silhouetted not only in black and white, but in blue, red, brown and violet."Near the end of his life he returned to his birthplace for good, and he eventually rented a tiny cottage at the base of Mont Sainte-Victoire, near the Bibémus Quarry, known for its golden stone. It is here that he would paint this famous hill over and over with almost 80 different paintings showing the varying Provence light. Similarly, during this same period, his contemporary, Claude Monet, was experimenting with light in his masterpiece collection of Water Lillies, from which the famous Nymphéas was born.

It is the famous Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, (1854-1890) whom after moving to Arles to create an artists' commune with Paul Gauguin, declared to his friend and post-impressionist painter, Emile Bernard "There is no blue without yellow and without orange. And if you have blue, then you must have yellow and orange!" Van Gogh so loved yellow that it is suggested that he actually ate some of his yellow paint to extricate the happiness that he associated with the color. There are many theories as to why yellow became such a significant part of Van Gogh's palette during his years in Provence, but visitors to the region can understand his desire to capture this brightness of light.

Until our next email, I hope that the Yellows of Provence bring happiness and color into your home and your life.

Vive le Jaune!

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