Le Bleymard, Lozère, France
Village scene. Path or road leads from centre lower margin to central horizontal bars of brown and blue. Houses at left, receding from left margin to centre of canvas in overlapping planes. Right margin blurry blue area. Mountains and church tower, upper area of canvas.
Verso UR ballpoint (not in artist's hand) Tableau peint par Flora Scales offert a son filleul; Boris Kalachnikoff, titre Le Bleymard, Lozère, France
Verso Centre Left paper label ballpoint (not in artist's hand) Tableau peint par Flora Scales offert a son filleul; Boris Kalachnikoff, titre Le Bleymard, Lozère, France
Verso Centre printed label panneau, Van Eyck, 4 F, 33 x 24, en fibre de bois prèparè pour la peinture à l’huile, rèf. 107 95
Le Bleymard is a small village in the department of Lozère, Southern France.
Correspondence B. Kalachnikoff to B. de Lange, 13.05.1983, “[Flora Scales] spent several weeks with my wife and me at the foot of Mt Lozère, about 1960 (at approx 1,000 metres altitude) where she painted a countryside scene of the village, in ochre grey with a subtle tonality. A composition carefully studied as to the proportions. She did her paintings exclusively outside directly from nature.
Flora looked over the village of Lozère with the approach of an artist, a poet, in order to discover, at last, the motif which she has brought to fruition as a plastician. And there again, Flora has succeeded in creating her space by an abstraction in relation to the subject; houses, bell towers, porches, chimneys. No mean descriptions, no anecdotal illustration, no mannerism, one breathes, it is ample like the pure mountain air of Lozère.”
Correspondence B. Kalachnikoff to B. de Lange, 17.05.1985, “Here is a landscape painted broadly with a thin transparent coating of paint, which has been lifted off with turps on a brush, where one feels the lightness of the wind blowing, sweeping the houses.
The mastery of the whole is realised by brushstrokes flung down impetuously, vigorously. The whole effect of this painting, done from life, was achieved at the first attempt, Flora having already deeply reflected about the location, calculated and worked out the composition.
Despite the apparent spontaneity of the brush strokes, everything is in its place, abstractly balanced. See the window on the left skilfully treated and the two touches of red ochre on the right which offset the heaviness of the blue roof. Observe the two, three dark patches towards the centre. The leaning steeple of the bell tower.
Flora is a colourist, but in this period I sometimes regretted that the colour was fainter in comparison with the periods of audacious colour like the large Les Eucalyptus [BC123].
Although these paintings have not very spectacular colours, they are among her most structured and plasticly the best balanced [the other paintings to which Kalachnikoff refers here are Les Anenomes [BC048] and Port of Mousehole at Sunset] [BC026]].
While Cezanne's lesson was an impasse for many famous artists who systematically got lost in an arbitrary cubism mechanically academic - Flora Scales by a naturally felt emotion recomposed and realised a link between feeling and reasoned composition.”
Christiane Devèze, Boris Kalachnikoff’s wife, in conversations with Marc Bonamie, Paris, France, 2016, “Flora loved to paint outdoors - nature, landscapes - in sunlight. She often drew and painted animals, especially our dogs and cats, and was very happy painting the plum trees in full bloom in our garden at Bry-Sur-Marne. Boris would often walk with her into the countryside to paint the farmland and houses in earlier days. We would sometimes go together to his parents' country house in Genevieve St Bois, to Provence where my parents lived, or to Bleymard in the Lozère District where my family has a holiday house. We all drew and painted happily, side by side, discussing our work all the time, but keeping our own different styles during these painting holidays.” – ‘Christiane Devezes: Conversations and Letters II’, Flora Scales, The Suter Te Aratoi o Whakatū, Nelson, New Zealand, 2018
Correspondence Boris Kalachnikoff to B. de Lange kindly translated from French by Jenny Kotlarevsky
Photos by Sam Hartnett