LE MAYEUR: THE IMPRESSIONIST PAINTER-TRAVELLER
Belgian painter Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres (1880-1958) only painted the beautiful things that surrounded him and which inspired his aesthetic vision. A clear part of his oeuvre emerged as the painter began a period of intensive travel to the south of France, to Italy, and further afield such as India, Madagascar, North Africa and various other countries. Le Mayeur's comfortable financial situation allowed him to reside in places for as long as he desired and fully absorb the particular atmosphere of his surroundings. This period of travelling could be reconstructed for our present reference from written sources such as letters, newspaper cuttings or reviews of his series of exhibitions. After an unceasing quest for inspiration in exotic corners of the world, the painter discovered his ideal location: the Indonesian island of Bali, where he settled permanently in the early 1930s.
Never attracted to the methods of the newly developed Modern school, Le Mayeur instead followed the best traditions of the Impressionists and sought a lifetime of light, colour and beauty. The three presented works are fine examples of his impressionistic influences. All painted plein-air, they depict European scenes and landscapes; places with which Le Mayeur travelled to during his earliest excursions away from his native Belgium.
Un Village de Flandres en été (Lot 3492) portrays a colourful and tree-filled countryside in Flanders. Within the foreground we notice a horse-drawn carriage; with the village, its habitations and bell tower in the distance. In an article on the occasion of Le Mayeur's 1924 exhibition at Giroux's, an art critic wrote that Le Mayeur was 'crossing' the Flemish countryside when he was in his land of birth Belgium: "He travelled through Flanders, searching for places where the wings of his restless soul might spread under a pale-golden sun."
Bateaux (Lot 3493), a lively sailing scene, was most probably achieved circa 1931, during the artist's journey in Marseillle. At this time Le Mayeur was sketching and painting everything he could see from his balcony of the port of the 'la Canebière'. In contrast, within another marine scene Scène Vénetienne (Lot 3494) the painter's perspective was of a river flowing inland, observing the gondolas and the Venetian architecture in the background; a highly atmospheric creation in light pastel colours.