Estacade a Trouville by Maurice Brianchon
Estacade a Trouville is a painting that is simultaneously charming and sophisticated. Brianchon had a vacation house in Trouville on the Normandy coast and often painted scenes there as did fellow artists like Eugene Boudin, Claude Monet and Raoul Dufy. While the scene and colors are pleasing, the surrealist quality of the figures in the painting may allude to the pivotal role this location played in the liberation of France. The success of the allied forces who stormed the beaches of Normandy ultimately lead to defeat of the Axis powers in World War II. For Josef Rosensaft, a survivor of WWII and a German émigré to the United States, this scene probably had resonance. Rosensaft was an important collector of School of Paris and Post-Impressionists artists and owned works by Chagall, Monet, Picasso, Renoir, Roualt and this Brianchon.
A Frenchman, Maurice Brianchon was born in Fresnay-sur-Sarthe in 1899. He studied at the Ecole National Superieure des Beaux-Art in Paris and later at the Ecole National Superieure des Arts Decoratifs. He exhibited at the storied Salon d’Automne for the first time in 1919. By 1922 he was a committee member of the Salon and had an established studio on the Avenue du Maine in Paris. Brianchon also began designing costumes and sets for the Paris Opera.
The 1930’s were a productive time for the artist and really established his reputation. Galerie Marcel Bernheim featured exhibitions of Brianchon’s work in 1930 and 1932. In 1934 Brianchon exhibited at the Venice Biennale and by 1936 he was appointed a professor at his alma-mater, the Ecole Superierure des Arts Decoratifs. The Americans recognized him with the Carnegie Institute’s Garden Club Prize in 1939. During WWII Brianchon continue to design sets and costumes for the Paris Opera while developing camouflage for the French war effort. Following the war, Brianchon taught several members of the second generation of School of Paris artists including Bardone, Brasillier and Cathelin.
Brianchon enjoyed a fine reputation in England and United States as well as his native France. Brianchon was invited to be an official artist for the 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and exhibited at Wildenstein as well as Arthur Tooth Gallery, both in London. In 1959 Brianchon moved to New York for a time. He often exhibited at David B. Findlay Gallery in New York throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. Brianchon passed away in Paris in 1979 after a long and illustrious career in the fine and decorative arts.