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Arcachon, the art rush

- 11/05/2021
arcachon art rush


The Arcachon fate has always been closely tied to the ocean.
Long before the place became an official town in the early nineteenth century, the fishermen's huts, although discrete, used to occupy the landscape.
Appreciated for the quality of its climate, the site took a milestone in its history when the Pereire brothers, bankers and owners of the railway between Bordeaux and La Teste, decided to extend the line to Arcachon with the idea of ??making this place a commercial and attractive port pole.
Although the project has not experienced the expected growth, summer and spa tourism has developed, dividing the city in two cities:
the summertime Arcachon, along the Bay, and the wintertime City, perched on the dune and overlooking the bay.

arcachon bay

In a few decades, the huts were almost swallowed up by what would become one of the most charming resorts in Europe.
As bathing establishments flourish, they attract the bourgeoisie of  Gironde and Landes, quickly followed by artists, writers and photographers, coming to admire, paint and tell the story of the Arcachon Bay.



The opening to the world and the expansion of Arcachon in 1857 coincides with the era that saw the artists getting out of their studio to paint the world around them.
Inspired by the Barbizon School, painters and artists of the region arrive profusely to start the great pictorial adventure of the Arcachon Bay.
Easels planted here and there, for nearly a century, along with brushes and pencils depicted the metamorphosis of a wild country into magical landscapes. 
Among the first artist inspired by the region,  Leo Drouyn (1816-1896), painter from Bordeaux, draw amazing engravings such as Arcachon, casino (1851).


He is followed by renowned Masters including Edouard Manet (1832-1883) with Le Bassin d'Arcachon (1871) or Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947).
Many outdoor painters were attracted by the Basin and contributed to make discover the atmosphere of the lagoon sometimes bright and clear, sometimes foggy and misty.
The artistic effervescence inspired Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901), Albert Marquet (1875-1947), André Lhote (1885-1962) or René Princeteau (1843-1914), just to name a few among the thousands of artists who have succeeded to one another on the banks of the bay.
Realism, symbolism, impressionism, cubism, surrealism, expressionism ... like painters, movements also magnified the atmosphere of this unique geography.
The art community near the basin was not limited to painters, it also included a group of intellectuals, happy to meet each other at the Grand Hotel Chantecler Piquey:
the sculptor Lipchitz, the decorator Jean Hugo, the Auric composer, actor Pierre Bertin and writers like Radiguet, Jean Marais and especially Jean Cocteau.

bassin arcachon artworks


Today, almost 700 painters of all styles have been attracted to the region of Arcachon, Cap Ferret, La Teste-de-Büch ...
A craze that is not ready to stop as the scenery is spectacular.



Native of the Aisne, François Poulat has always been gifted from drawings.
He enjoyed several techniques:
charcoal, acrylic, brush, pigments, resin ... before falling in love with the ink technique, discovered on a trip to Canton in southern China.
Painter and traveler, he moved to Cap Ferret at the age of 40 and started exhibiting at the Remparts du Moulleau gallery.
Alternately animal, portrait and landscape painter, he loves to recreate the atmosphere of the Arcachon Bay in his "Marines".
It shapes the atmosphere of the Bay with oil painting and knife, drawing and cuting lines while giving them the look of waves or dunes...

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