The school of Pont-Aven through the legacy of Yves Marmin

Born in 1942 in Calvados, Yves Marmin was passionate about art and in particular the school of Pont-Aven. Through his bequest, he is part of the history of the museum.

Landscape with trees (XIXe siècle) by Henry MoretMuseum of Pont-Aven

The unique legacy of a Pont-Aven lover

In his testament, Yves Marmin decides to donate his collection to the museum, which he often visited. When it disappeared in 2020, the museum thus inherited around thirty works from the Pont-Aven school.

Breton landscape with two tedders (Entre 1889 et 1890) by Meijer De HaanMuseum of Pont-Aven

An anthology of artists from the Pont-Aven school.

Among the thirty or so works bequeathed are several illustrious names from the Pont-Aven school: Paul Sérusier, Émile Bernard, Henry Moret, Ferdinand Loyen du Puigaudeau, Gustave Loiseau, Maxime Maufra, Henri Delavallée, Wladyslaw Slewinski and Émile Jordan.

Landscape with rocks (1886) by Paul GauginMuseum of Pont-Aven

Study of rocks at Le Pouldu by Paul Gauguin

This work was the centerpiece of Yves Marmin's collection. This is most likely the preparatory study for a canvas painted in 1886, The Cowkeeper on the beach of Bellangenêt, a place west of Le Pouldu.

Landscape with pines (1892) by Maxime MaufraMuseum of Pont-Aven

Landscape with pines by Maxime Maufra

In this pastel work, Maufra distorts, exaggerates, and rearranges the contours, bringing a phantasmagorical dimension to a yet classic subject. The dark green foliage of these hallucinated trees thus seems to melt under a golden sky.

Brittany seaside, at night (XIXe siècle) by Ferdinand Du PuigaudeauMuseum of Pont-Aven

Breton seaside, at night by Ferdinand Du Puigaudeau

Cantor of twilight paintings, Du Puigaudeau paints here a cloudy and starry night sky, occupying more than half of the painting and reflected by the dark sea.

At the bottom right, a figure stands out, walking alone on a dirt road, towards a small cottage. The smoke billowing from the chimney, as well as the light behind the door, suggest an imminent encounter.

Head of a Woman by Paul Sérusier

The mathematical formulas accompanying this woman with an evasive gaze echo the theories of the “Holy Measures” and geometric proportions of Father Lenz whom Sérusier met in 1898.

The Rocks at Belle-Ile (XIXe siècle) by Wladyslaw SlewinskiMuseum of Pont-Aven

The Rocks at Belle-Île by Wladyslaw Slewinski

A Polish painter trained in the crucible of the Pont-Aven school, Slewinski is the author of a considerable number of maritime views. He takes up here the famous theme of the rocks of Belle-Île, made famous by the paintings of Claude Monet.

We find there the characteristic approach of the painter in his seascapes: going against the romantic vision, he simply exposes the flat calm of the ocean, bordering the large rocks that stand against him, without anecdote or artifice.

Couple of Breton peasants (XIXe siècle) by Émile BernardMuseum of Pont-Aven

Couple of Breton peasants by Émile Bernard

Representations of costumes and headdresses, in particular, abound among Bernard's drawings and sketches. With supple, confident lines and a few hatches, he succinctly models this couple, one from behind and the other in profile.

Young Breton in front of Héléna's house in Le Pouldu (1892) by Paul-Emile ColinMuseum of Pont-Aven

Young Breton in front of Héléna's house by Paul-Émile Colin

A painter and engraver from Lorraine, Colin crossed France in 1892 with the Alsatian Filiger to meet Paul Gauguin at Le Pouldu. The Pouldu landscape has often been depicted by artists, sometimes fleeing the growing influx of tourists to Pont-Aven.

This is a representation of Héléna's house, depicted by many artists such as Maufra, Sérusier or Slewinski. Located near Bellangenêt beach, it has now disappeared.

Boat stranded at the port of Doëlan (XIXe siècle) by Henry MoretMuseum of Pont-Aven

Boat stranded at the port of Doëlan by Henry Moret

Moret settled in the port of Doëlan, a picturesque village and lively fishing spot, in 1894. His house, known as “the pink house”, faces the sea. Here he represents the monolithic figure of the lighthouse in the background.

Breton with children (XIXe siècle) by Émile DezaunayMuseum of Pont-Aven

Breton woman with children, by Émile Dezaunay

In this painting, Dezaunay, painter of maternity, manages to make a seemingly banal scene moving. Bathed in sunlight, a young boy in a beret and a little girl in a headdress observe each other, in a silent but solemn exchange.

Portrait of Breton (Entre 1875 et 1880) by Thomas HovendenMuseum of Pont-Aven

Portrait of a Breton by Thomas Hovenden

Among the first painters of the American colony led by Robert Wylie and settled in Pont-Aven in 1866, Thomas Hovenden represents this Breton woman dressed in a Pont-Aven headdress. The young blonde girl here has an air that is both sad and pensive.

Profile study of a young woman (XIXe siècle) by Claude-Émile SchuffeneckerMuseum of Pont-Aven

Study of a Young Woman, by Claude-Émile Schuffenecker

Schuffenecker, painter from the Pont-Aven school but also a drawing teacher for twenty years in Paris, gives us the portrait of a young woman, who seems either pained or absorbed, perhaps reading.

The Bleeding of the pig (XIXe siècle) by Emile JourdanMuseum of Pont-Aven

The bleeding of the pig, by Émile Jourdan

The one who said “never paint in summer” gives us a particularly popular scene of everyday life in the heart of winter. In this painting, Émile Jourdan promotes the popular custom of the killer pig, which, in Europe, has persisted since Antiquity.

Trees and pond (XIXe siècle) by Maxime MaufraMuseum of Pont-Aven

Trees and pond by Maxime Maufra

“Landscapist, I painted everything that moved me, searching nature”. Maufra deliberately ignores schools and theories to keep only two precepts: nature and intuition. Leaving, as he writes, "free rein to the brush", he evokes here the calm of a pond.

Credits: Story

Contributors:

Sophie Kervran, Director and Chief Curator of Museums
Camille Armandary, head of exhibitions / communication / documentary and digital resources
Killian Paul, intern in the second year of the Heritage and Museums master's degree

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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