" ... L'Hiver dans la Montagne de Rheims dates back from 1903. When the Museum of Rheims acquired it, the art critic Georges Perin wrote in the L'Eclaireur de l'Est that « Paul Bocquet gives a peculiar sense of tenderness to the subtle greys of winter which he paints with an exquisite lightness. His Hiver dans la Montagne de Rheims is aerated, broad and delicate at the same time; the remote village we see between the dead branches, radiates with a charming sweetness, and the subtle and scattered daylight is fading on this part of Champagne, generous and fair like wine in cups. » The village towards which birch trees bend is Villers-Allerand, which he painted from the Mont-Joli..."

"…Villers-Allerand is at the foot of Mont Joli and from the top of the mountain above lies Rheims and its cathedral. There a family of birch trees for which he felt a peculiar kindness was waiting for him and seemed to greet him rustling.

He would celebrate their budding, was moved when they faded. He enjoyed finding back their spring set in their autumnal shades. He would commit each shade's variation to his paintings every year depending on whether the autumn was warm or suffered from an early frost. His work was in keeping with nature and its renewals, the bright and changing sky, playing with the azure and clouds.

Now that this model spectator has passed away, people walking up the small hill of Mont-Joli will have to meditate beside this sort of observatory where the most friendly of our painters eagerly communed with our light in Champagne…" Extract of "The life and Work of Paul Bocquet" written by René Druart, April 1950.

"… Mont-Joli (820 feet) overhangs the north of the Mountain of Rheims and turns its back to the river Marne, flowing down south. This woody hill rises between Rheims and Epernay: today it is a regional park frequently visited by nature lovers. The great 141 long-distance footpath goes up to the top of Mont-Joli, but hikers, though fond of the landscape, ignore that its beauty has been revealed a century earlier by the painter Paul Bocquet…"

Extract of "About Impressionism; painters of the Marne valley" written by Noël Coret.

Le Paysage champenois

 

L'influence de l'impressionnisme ...


La Guenelle en hiver - 1899

Impressionists mainly influenced Paul Bocquet. He partly owes them his colour, his composition and mostly his vision.

Through them he learnt that for painters, shapes have no other reality than that given by the light. The way an object is lit and the surrounding atmosphere can slightly modify its drawing, even make it vanish. As to its colour, it is so sensitive to the same phenomenon that it can entirely change. In those conditions, the object becomes less important than the aspect under which it is presented.

To make these words more gripping, the impressionist has two ways. He either, as would a Jansenist, choose to depict a subject regarded as ungrateful and deprived of beauty (any corner of a street, any countryside landscape), or pay more attention to the scenery and cling to it through time and make several representations according to its multiple variations.

Paul Bocquet used both ways. At first he would rather choose a humble subject: a tumbledown cottage, a small yard, a brook, a Brittany moore, the seaside, Champagne flat land, a winding river, and his magic touch brought out all their enchanting resources. Later, though his horizon increased and expanded, he decided diversifying it was of no use.

 

 

Extract of: René Druart: "La vie et l'oeuvre de Paul Bocquet", Debar & Cie Printing, Rheims, April 1950.

Numbered Edition from 1 to 1000.Document available for consultation at the Municipal Library Carnegie of Rheims and at the museum Saint Denis of Rheims. .

Saint Denis de Reims.