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Colonizing the Côte d'Azur: Neo-Impressionism, Anarcho-Communism and the Tropical Terre Libreof the Maures, c.1892-1908

By Tania Woloshyn


This article explores neo-impressionist representations of the Maures region (Hyères-St Raphaël) of the Côte d'Azur as an ideal space of anarcho-communist liberty or, to borrow from Jean Grave's Terre Libre: Les Pionniers (1908), a "free land." In doing so it questions art-historical literature of such images as utopian, with its implication of geographic non-specificity, through analyses of anarcho-communist and geographical texts and images. Tropical markers, especially palm trees, feature in Grave's vision of a "free land," corresponding to perceptions by contemporaneous artists, tourists and geographers of the exotic, island-like geography of the Maures. The article argues that, for Henri-Edmond Cross, Paul Signac and Théo van Rysselberghe, the Maures landscape was imaged and imagined as a sunlit terre libreon home soil, naturally suited to these self-styled pioneers

Topics: neo-impressionism, the Maures, Côte d'Azur, artist colony, anarcho-communism, Melanesia, Jean Grave, Mabel Holland Thomas, sunlight, Henri Edmond Cross, Theo Rysselberghe, History of the arts, NX440-632, Arts in general, NX1-820, Fine Arts, N
Publisher: International Association of Research Institutes in the History of Art (RIHA)
Year: 2012
OAI identifier: oai:doaj.org/article:3832eac011044aaba462fc2b7c0d80f4
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