Archi-city #1

from 13 March to 23 May 2021

Dates and times subject to government announcements

Hyères, the architecture of the city in drawings

At the Art Gallery L’Annexe 26 Rue Verdun
In partnership with the group "Hyères en croquis et en dessins"

At the Gallery of the Boutique Villa Noailles, Hyères
Students from the arts classes of the Jean Aicard high school

At the villa Noailles
Public and private collections from the 19th century to today and contemporary commissions

MBL architectes / Benjamin Lafore, Sébastien Martinez-Barat, Fanny Vallin, Jeanne Thierry

Painting a palm tree, drawing a shadow on a parking, sketching a medieval tower or a legendary beachfront hotel. Representing the city of Hyères helps to value its extensive landscape, its colours and contrasts, its iconic buildings, and its common figures. All these characteristics refer to the idea of
picturesque, whose etymology pittoresco means “in the manner of the painters”, “expressive, original” as well as “worth painting, giving a subject matter to a painter”. In 1950, the chief architect of Civilian Buildings Albert Laprade‘s sketches were published. He devoted to Hyères a drawing from his sketchbooks, on which are drawn and juxtaposed without hierarchy the frontage of the Saint-Paul’s Church, the corner of a street in the old town, a front door, a marble capital; objects he deemed “useless but pleasant!”1. These attentions to what is there - whether it is remarkable, historical or mundane - blur the lines between the outstanding tourist spots and the everyday practices. They include Hyères in “phenomena of recreational and geo-touristic reinventions and hybridisations”2 typical of post-tourism.

In the history of representation, cityscape painting is part of the tourist practice. In the 18th century, the confluence of Flemish landscape paintings and perspective in Italian painting contributed to the development of veduta art that throve in Italy thanks to the journeys of the aristocrats and upper classes3. The vedute were paintings of Venice’s panoramic and realistic views, that the tourists brought back home as a memory and a token from their travel. An early form of postcard of which Giovanni Antonio Canal, commonly known as Canaletto, was an exponent.
The figure of the amateur thus arose and played an active role in the circulation of works of art. The vedute were also a way for the cities to have a cultural influence beyond their territory through image. Proportions, light effects are exaggerated to intensify the architecture. The picture brought back by the tourist is both a beautiful memory and a way for cities to seize a chosen imagery. Along with portraits, monuments are amateur painters’ favourite subject matter.

The works featured in the exhibition Archiville. Hyères l’architecture de la ville en dessin (Archi-city. Hyères the city’s architecture into drawings) are diverse but share common subjects: the city of Hyères’ noteworthy buildings. Like in Laprade’s sketches, some of them are monuments, keepers of a collective memory, such as the Saint-Paul’s Collegiate. Conversely, others are common buildings that became unique thanks to their architecture or their location in the city. Each of the buildings worth painting embodies the city.
The media used to represent the city are specific to each artist. They sometimes correspond to their affinities, sometimes to what they have handy: felt-pen sketches, pen or charcoal drawings, oil paintings, posters. The style of the paintings and the painters’ skilfulness are as remarkable as the act of representing and the choice to portray the city through a building.
The depicted topics gather the three great imageries of the city: the medieval constructions of the historical village: the steep street, the architectures of bathing culture and tourist hedonism of the 19th and 20th centuries: white concrete and palm trees, and less significantly more mundane motifs, but as much remarkable, of a French Riviera city: the floral roundabout.

Through the subjects and these eclectic styles, the city nonetheless seems to find an unexpected consistency. Brought together, the paintings reveal common characteristics. We notice the city of Hyères gives rise to flat tints rather than strokes, to bright colours rather than shades. Similar climate and textures transpire from artwork to artwork with this accuracy only made possible by painting. As if these buildings were the perfect occasion to capture something intangible that makes up the city of Hyères.

The exhibition brings together eclectic works by various profiles of artists: amateur painters, experienced painters, high school students from Hyères, the villa Noailles’ special guest or resident artists who created original artworks. The diversity of their approaches outlines the variety of Hyères’ landscapes and is an invitation to discover them.

1 Albert LAPRADE, Croquis, troisième album : région du midi, Éditions Vincent, Fréal et Cie, 1950
Hyères is the 28th drawing of the sketchbook.

2 Philippe BOURDEAU, « Le tourisme réinventé par ses périphéries ? » in Bourlon F., Osorio M., Mao P., Gale T. Explorando las nuevas fronteras del turismo. Perspectivas de la invetigación en turismo, Nire Negro, 2012

3 Emilie BECK-SAIELLO, La vue topographique en France au XVIIIe siècle : éclat et mésestime d’un genre [Veduta in Eighteenth-Century France: A Neglected Genre], Itinéraire, 2016

Featured artists

the group « Hyères en croquis et en dessins »
Camille Augias
Martine Bourletsis dite Martou
Thierry Chabiron dit Chab
Charles Blanc dit Charly de Costebelle
Sylvie Mazalon
Catherine Milliat
Patrick Pechin
Nathalie Sève
Sophie Taborin

the students of the art classes
of the Jean Aicard high school

Teachers Sandra Mauro
and Coraline Bihan
Coline D’Arco
Ilhan Caraglio
Luna Catelet
Ester Dupas
Lou Fisseux
Théo Galmard
Joan Gorce
Ambre Legay
Clara Marigliano
Lorette Perocheau

Residences
Paul Descamps assisté de Flore Balas
Mona Cara et Loris Makhoul
Adrien Pelletier

Commission
Logan Arnoult
Marie-Victoire de Bascher
Rémy Bertola
Frédéric Chanclu
Eva Chatelain
Hélène Dauga
Margaux Desombre
Pierre Dumaire
Jean-Claude Ellena
Antoine Grulier
Jeanne Guyon
Jacques Merle
Julien Orsini
Gaël Serre

Public and private collections
Joëlle Bertrand
Jean Bosphore
Florian Bruno
Antoine Carbonne
Ambre Clavel
Maryse Cheilan
Denis Clavreul
Adrien Coppola
Matthieu Cossé
Vincent Courdouan
Lucien Coutaud
Auguste Deroy
Raoul Dufy
Yves Euvremer
Tony Fontana
Florent Groc
Jean Hugo
Rémi Kerfridin
Albert Laprade
Madeleine Léon
Jérémy Liron
Loizo
Jean-Gérard Mattio
Laurent Mattio
Blasco Mentor
Michel Metaireau
Monsieur Z
René Monteix
Alexandre Benjamin Navet
Robert Douglas Norton
Nicolas Ouchenir
Raoul Pradier
Xavier Réginald
Albert Robida
Charles de Venanson
Julien Veyssade
Giulio Vittini

Archives, City of Hyères
La Banque, Museum of Cultures and Landscape, City of Hyères

Centre Pompidou, National Museum of Modern Art
Musée des Beaux-arts Jules Cheret, Nice
Archives, City of Hyères
La Banque, Museum of Cultures and Landscape, City of Hyères
Église Saint-Louis, paroisse d’Hyères
Univers Mentor, Solliès-Toucas
Galerie Isabelle Gounod

Archi-city #1 - © Villa Noailles Hyères

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