LAPRADE Pierre
( 1875-1923) French painter; born in Narbonne; died in Fontenay-aux-Roses. Seven or eight years younger than Bonnard and Vuillard, Pierre Laprade is one of the most tender of modern 'intimists'. Dividing his life between his little house in Fontenay-aux-Roses and his studio in Paris, he lived without ambition or need. Like Corot, he loved to wander through the French provinces; there was not a cathedral whose bells he had not heard. Italy was his second home, and he brought back rich harvests of water-colours from there, like Claude Lorrain mixing French harmony and a sense of balance with classical memories.
He excelled in suggesting a poetic atmosphere by using the most familiar elements -- a window opening on a town or on the sea, garden terraces, Chartres Cathedral rising above harvest fields, Florence dreaming beside the Arno, or a young woman testing in a hammock as unsubstantial as a dream. It was not so much the actual forms as the colouring of the atmosphere in which they were bathed that he loved to paint. A kind of sad enchantment envelope all reality: cars of corn or yellow roam among blue pottery or among old books and masks, dusty puppets and pierrots, parks full of soft light. From youth Laprade used water-colour with mastery. At first his paintings were in monochrome, but they soon grew more colourful without losing those silvery tones with which his brush so successfully created the iridescent atmosphere of his dreams. This friend of poets was born to illustrate such works as the Fêtes Galantes of Verlaine. His delicate line is never insistent, sometimes even appearing uncertain; it does not so much describe in object or a particular landscape as a sentimental moment enveloped with deep or light greens with rose tints or blues dancing among the tender whites and yellows.
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