Artist Village of Pont Aven

Trip Start Aug 02, 2012
Trip End Aug 02, 2013

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Flag of France  , Brittany,
Saturday, May 25, 2013

After visiting the market in Quimper, we walked back to camp and headed off. We were aiming to be in Pont-Aven in the afternoon so that the art galleries would be open. Paul Gaughin painted in Pont-Aven along with other artists, setting up the Pont-Aven school known for its colourful paintings. Since then, it has continued to be a favourite spot for artists and in the peak season there can be as many as 60 small galleries. We knew that there weren't going to be that many open, but as it was a Saturday, we hoped that we would be able to see quite a few regardless. We had seen postcards by an artist named Morinay that we quite liked. He had a studio in Pont-Aven and we were quite looking forward to looking at his paintings. Unfortunately, his gallery had a "fermeture exceptionelle", or exceptional closure, for that entire weekend. We were quite disappointed since we had looked online at their hours and planned to come when it was open. We picked up a map from the TI with all the galleries listed and set off through the three-street town to see what we could find. There was quite a range of works, mostly featuring boats and Brittany landscapes. One artist’s gallery only had paintings of dark grey skies with beaches and dune grass. They were rather depressing looking since they were so dark and we were not tempted to purchase one at $5000 or more. We found a few works that we quite liked but were way out of our price range. Nonetheless, it was quite enjoyable popping in to so many galleries with so many different styles. After exploring two streets we wandered down towards the port area which was a beautiful little street. There was a stream running between the two parts of town and trees all around. We stopped off at one gallery which had a few artists’ works. They had a large exhibit of Tremohars’ works which we quite enjoyed. He had paintings in gouache and others in acrylics; he used bright colours and his paintings had a whimsical look to them. He didn’t paint “realistically”, but rather used the different towns in the area as inspiration. We liked them enough to inquire about the price and when the lady didn’t know, she called to Bruno upstairs and he came down to see which one we were interested in. It turned out that he was the artist! We chatted for a bit and it turns out that he spends half his time in Brittany and the other half in India. We weren’t quite ready to decide if we wanted to buy the painting so asked what time they were open until and then continued our exploring. We finished the galleries on that street and also enjoyed works by another artist who used big bold colours with simple, dark outlines around his subjects. Then it was time to think about if we were serious about buying a painting or not! We wandered around a bit more and re-visited the closed shop of Morinay to see if we would rather wait and buy one of his paintings later. After much pondering and walking back and forth looking in the window, we decided that we would go back in for another look. The lady welcomed us back and took down the paintings on either side so that we could see it hanging by itself. We decided that we would buy it and that we didn’t need to ship it home since it would likely be ok as carry-on. The artist had come back down and he signed the back with a dedication which we thought was great. We also got a photo with him and the painting, before he took it back upstairs to package with bubble wrap and craft paper. He was very down-to-earth and friendly so we chatted with him for another twenty minutes or so before heading off. We were very excited and so glad that we had found a painting we liked and even got to meet the artist!
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