Traveling Via Art

By Karen Parr-Moody

 

The season of travel is upon us, but one can also experience faraway lands through fabulous art at GasLamp. Time travel can be accomplished, as well. Gazing at GasLamp’s art can allow one to visit a French horse race during the Belle Epoque, see a 1950s vista of Grand Lake, Colorado and witness a caravan of donkeys ferrying natives through Egypt, circa 1880.

 

French caricaturist Georges Goursat (1863 – 1934), also known as SEM, created this charming pochoir print from 1904 (framed, 14 x 20 inches; $385; GasLamp Too Booth T-360). It depicts a horse racing scene in Paris.

 

A keen observer of French society, Goursat enjoyed the horse races as an excellent perch for witnessing the French “Beau Monde” or “Beautiful World,” which was what “society” was called during the Belle Epoque of the turn of the century. In addition to revealing the upper crust of Paris, his caricatures also depicted high society in Monte Carlo, Deauville and the Cote d’Azur. His unique drawing style, with its loose line work, brought him success and fame.

 

Goursat’s caricature portraits typically featured well-known figures of the Belle Epoque. The man in this print has been identified as Paul Ernest Boniface de Castellane, the marquis de Castellane, who was a French nobleman and a leading Belle Epoque tastemaker.

 

This oil painting from 1954, a view of Grand Lake, Colorado, was captured by Elsie Cave Patty (1892-1981), who once gifted a similar painting to President Dwight Eisenhower ($185; GasLamp Too Booth T-101). By the 1960s, Patty was a pipe-smoking "Grandma Moses" of the Rockies, according to newspaper reports of the era. She was a grandmother of 15 children, as well as a great-grandmother of two, and she smoked a pipe to "avoid chewing candy and getting fat." What a character.

 

When Eisenhower visited a ranch near Grand Lake in 1955, the mayor presented him with a two-by-three-foot canvas, a landscape painting by Patty that featured Grand Lake. This painting at GasLamp was painted one year prior to that event, but it also depicts the Grand Lake landscape. What a fun bit of historic trivia to go along with this piece.

 

This oil painting by American painter David Bareford (1947-), entitled “Between Races – Henley,” depicts the Henley Royal Regatta ($6,200; GasLamp Too Booth T-360). Rowing fans from across the globe arrive annually at Henley Royal Regatta, a five-day rowing regatta on the River Thames by Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, England. Established in 1839, it’s the greatest rowing show in the world, as well as one of the highest of society events.

 

This painting depicts the glamour of the event, as guests roam around the grandstands on the riverbank. One can almost smell the damp grass in the sunshine and hear the champagne bottles popping open. Yes, this most quintessential of English events teleports one to the days of old. Men wear blazers and straw boaters, women wear tea dresses and dainty fascinators and everyone sips champagne and Pimms cups. Bareford proves his strength in oil paints through this piece with his distinctive use of rich color and his ability to capture the moment.  

 

During the 1800s, travel by train and steamship improved, giving Europeans greater access to the Middle East and North Africa. They were inspired to seek the pyramids of Cairo, the holy sites of Palestine and the ancient wonders of Constantinople.

 

Reacting to this surge of travelers, a group of photographers became renowned for creating art souvenirs through albumen print photographs of these far-off locales. Among these photographers were J. Pascal Sébah, Émile Béchard, B.F.K. Rives, Boxfils and Langahi.

 

The French photographer Langahi took this photo of a caravan of natives riding donkeys through Egypt, circa 1880 (9 x 11 photo, framed; $125; GasLamp Too Booth T-134). He was active throughout Africa during the late 1800s, shooting photos of Monument de Lesseps in Port Said, Egypt, fruit and water sellers in Cairo, the memorial of Ramses III in Thebes and Beja warriors in the Sudan.

 

Owning art that depicts parts unknown to is a way of satisfying one’s wonderlust. And musing upon faraway places is a lovely pastime that doesn’t require packing or a passport, as the artworks of GasLamp prove.  

 

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