Thursday, October 17, 2013

Au Contraire!

To all of those who may have counted this blog over and done with: au contraire! True confession, that list may have included me but I am back with the fall report.

Timothy Corrigan's house in France, Château du Grand-Lucé.

The season has kicked off with a fête thrown by the Los Angeles chapter of the French Heritage Society in honor of the publication of Timothy Corrigan's new book, An Invitation to Château du Grand-Lucé  The subtitle  of the book is, Decorating a Great Country French House but let's be clear, this is beyond what you or I would call a house. Just take a look at the aerial shot above. I've circled the house in red. The formal gardens are to its left and the property includes the woods you see. See what I mean?

That's my friend, Alix,  in Timothy Corrigan's Los Angeles home.
Alix is standing in front of Timothy's (Jacques-Louis) David.
It's a study for the central figure in Leonidas at Thermopylae which is at the Louvre, (doncha know!).

Look, it's Timothy's book/cake.
 I don't know when they cut this. I must have left too early and I love cake!

Here's the twist. This French country house was bought by a Californian, that's Timothy Corrigan, and we just don't do stuffy and formal so the house was not only restored but made livable and comfortable by California standards. Timothy explains this in the text of his book as he presents the story of the house as if you, the reader, are invited over... to have some fun, serious fun! It was the same story at Timothy's Hancock Park house the night of the book party. He was putting some candle lit lanterns out on the front walk as I approached the house, greeted me, and invited me to go inside, find the bar, go wherever you want, explore. Hello! What could be more welcoming?

This is the chapter in Timothy's book where you get to explore the Pillement room. Not sure I could wait until day 2!

Now there's something extraordinarily special about Château du Grand-Lucé. It has one of the few remaining rooms painted by Jean-Baptiste Pillement. That's especially significant to me because I've long admired his work.

Here's the screen I painted in 1989 when I scarcely knew who Pillement was.

I've nothing but these casual snapshots of this work.
I'm sure my photography and painting have both improve since then.

In 1989 just before moving to California I had a commission to paint a folding screen and I chose Pillement's work as inspiration. Then sometime in the 90s I received another commission and called on Jean-Baptiste once again. I think next I'll paint a whole room. It could happen! 

I painted this in the late 90s.

My screen in situ.
This was really fun to paint.

Here a couple of my preliminary sketches for the screen.

Yes, I have a weakness for those fantastical surreal scenes that defy gravity and logic but where everyone , every plant, and all the architecture seems to be living a joyous life devoid of cares and woes.

And how is life in your world?

 Thanks so much to Edie Frère, Co-Chairman of the French Heritage Society's Southern California Chapter for inviting me to Timothy Corrigan's book signing and to my friend Alix Soubiran whose French Bubbles party actually kicked off the season a few nights before Timothy's party. That's where I met Edie and some of the French Expats who make L.A. their home. And to Timothy Corrigan, thank you so very much for a perfectly lovely evening!


  1. Hi, Scott - I would love to live in a house with David preliminary paintings! I was not familier with Pillement, so thank you for providing my next research project.

    1. Thank you Mark! I always appreciate your comments. Yeah, that David is said to be a study but by today's standards it is a fully finished portrait.


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