Steve Sandler

Why France? Because that was where the art was. The ghosts of Cézanne, Matisse, Bonnard, and Picasso speak the loudest but there’s also Monet, Derain, the Expressionists, and lest we forget Van Gogh. They came to the South for the light; the ancient olive trees with their gnarled branches and grey-green leaves glowing in the Provençal sun; the Mediterranean’s sparkle. I’ve been to Roussillon where they mined the pigments for their oils, to Collioure where Matisse and Derain found Fauvist colors in the anchovy boats bobbing in the harbor; the Côte D’Azur; Nice where Matisse’s window looked out onto Baie des Anges; Arles/St.Remy—Van Gogh’s haunts; and Cassis to see the pure whiteness of the Calanques.

Why France? Because I’ve been to Aix-en-Provence and once stayed at “Château Noir” one of Cézanne’s studios and lived amidst his motifs. I journeyed up a hill a little past Atelier Cézanne to Les Lauves and the spot where he consumed Montagne Ste-Victoire with his paints. We climbed over a fence to see the quarry at Bibémus and another studio. I once found a way to get to Barrage Zola to view the mountain, and found Pont Des 3 Sautets over the L’Arc. I’ve been to “Cézanne World”!

Why France? Paris! I’ve been to their studios, walked their streets, studied their motifs, seen their work in the Museums, had coffee in their cafes, and drank in their bars. A little piece of heaven is sketching in the Jardin du Luxembourg on a sunny fall day—yum!
So I see each of these travelscapes as a reminder of my past travels; each a memory; each a footprint left in the dirt to lead me back to these special places.
Let me share these paintings with you. I hope that my enthusiasm will inspire you to travel to some of these places for a first time or to return to see them in a different light.

I know I can’t wait to return.

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