Pont-Aven has lent its name to one of the most famous schools of painting in modern art and is now automatically associated with Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard. In 1888, in this Breton village in southern Finistere, the two painters set about inventing the features of a completely new style of painting: Synthetism. Breaking with academic orthodoxy and heavily influenced by Japanese prints, they introduced novel aesthetic principles distinguished especially by a belief in simple forms and the use of colour applied in large patches edged by a dark line. This approach further distanced itself from the art that preceded it in its taste for matt tones and the rejection of traditional perspective.
This new book reveals to a wider public the important collection that Alexandre Mouradian amassed in only a few years. The collection reflects its creator's great passion for the artists of the Pont-Aven group, as well as others in Brittany and beyond who embraced the new ideas of Bernard and Gauguin without ever losing their individuality. Whether in painting or printmaking, each of these was able to move beyond the imitation of observed reality to express the deepest aspect of his personality: his emotions. The works selected by the collector eloquently show the international reach of what was not strictly speaking a school, in the full sense of the term. Since the private Paris academies were closed during the summer, artists from all over Europe went to Pont-Aven and Le Pouldu to seek inspiration and 'to dare' like Gauguin.
Written contributions by Jean-Marie Rouart of the French Academy and the author and art historian Adrien Goetz, are supported by detailed notes on the works by the museum curator Estelle Guille des Buttes, providing invaluable insights into this exceptional collection.