'Les-Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer' by Yves Brayer (circa 1950s)
'Les-Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer', gouache on art paper, by Yves Brayer (circa 1950s). Acquired from the estate of actor Kirk Douglas and his wife, Anne Douglas (né Buydens), one must wonder how this particular French painting ended up in the home of the famous Hollywood star.
Yves Brayer was known for his artworks depicting the landscapes, wildlife and people of the Camargue region of the South of France, near Arles. He painted this lively scene from the capital of the Camargue, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is particularly lively in summer with its visitors, beaches, cafés, restaurants and shops. In winter, another atmosphere prevails with its long and deserted sandy beaches, the sea air, and the gentle breaking of the waves. Every May, Romanies, Manouches, Tziganes and Gitans come from the four corners of Europe to venerate their Saint, the Black Sara. They camp on the streets, on the squares, on the beach. For ten days, they are at home. And it is in this region where the lives of the artist and Kirk Douglas intersect. In the mid-1950s Douglas was in Arles and its surrounds to film a movie about the life of Vincent Van Gogh titled, 'Lust for Life'. While filming, he fell in love with the Camargue and France in general. It is where he met his future wife of 66 years. A confirmed Francophile, Douglas spoke fluent French. This gallery conjectures that Douglas bought this painting while filming 'Lust for Life' as the filming and the creation of the artwork coincide in the mid-1950s. For decades, this painting, framed as it is today, hung on the walls of the Douglas' Hollywood home (although it has been reconditioned with a new linen slip and anti-reflective glass). It is in good overall condition. Upon request a video of the artwork may be provided.
About the Artist: Yves Brayer (1907-1990) was born in Versailles, France. Determined to be an artist from an early age, he set out for Paris in 1924, initially studying at the academies in Montparnasse, and from there he attended the École des Beaux-Arts. Whilst still a student he exhibited at the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Indépendants, and in 1927 Brayer left Paris for Spain with the aid of a state grant to enable him to study the works of the Spanish Masters in the Prado.
On his return to Paris in 1934 he exhibited a collection of paintings inspired by his travels in Europe and Morocco to great acclaim. Having moved south to Cordes in the Tarn region of France after the War, Brayer then discovered the area which was to have the greatest artistic influence on his work: Provence. He was enchanted by the diverse and architectural forms of the Alpilles mountains, and by the vast expanse of the Camargue region with its ubiquitous white horses and black bulls. From then on he spent several months each year working in Provence. He also made several trips to Mexico, Egypt, Iran, Greece, Russia, USA and Japan where he was quick to grasp the unique rhythm and light of each country.
A large collection of Yves Brayer’s paintings are on permanent display both at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Cordes, in the Salle Yves Brayer and at the Musée Yves Brayer in Les Baux de Provence, as well as various museums in France and elsewhere. Brayer passed away in 1990. His artworks are an investment. Bids at the international auction houses continue to advance as appreciation for his work mounts. Some of the artist's oil paintings are now selling for tens of thousands of dollars.
Dimensions with frame:
H 84 cm / 33.1"
W 127 cm / 50"
Dimensions without frame:
H 65 cm / 25.6"
W 108 cm / 42.5"