Charles Rennie Mackintosh – La Rue du Soleil, Port-Vendres (1926)

Impoverished after World War I and lacking commissions, Charles Rennie Mackintosh moved to Port-Vendres – a small port in southern France – to start anew. He had previously achieved success as an architect, even winning the competition to design the new Glasgow School of Art. Versatile in his talents, the Scotsman also designed furniture and…

Wassily Kandinsky – Composition IX (1936)

With the new discoveries in science, including Einstein’s famous theory of relativity at the beginning of the 20th century, artists started questioning the limited, illusory reality they were experiencing. There must be more beyond the physical world, they thought. Art became a way to test the notion that a deeper, spiritual dimension was within reach…

Vincent van Gogh – Green Wheat Fields, Auvers (1890)

After having a severe nervous breakdown during which he cuts his own ear and being institutionalized in an asylum for a year, Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh moves to northern France, to Auvers-sur-Oise, to start afresh. He was hoping that his mental frailty was a consequence of the strong impressions and strident colors of Arles…

Robert Delaunay – Rhythm, Joy of Life (1930)

Inspired by 19th century theories about the perception and psychology of color, French artist Robert Delaunay created his own art movement, called Simultanéisme. Simultaneity, in Delauney’s view, meant that color could take a form of its own, affecting the spatial dimension of a composition and the perception of movement within it.  One of his biggest…

Frédéric Bazille – Family Reunion (1867)

He could have been one of the most famous painters in history, his name drawing crowds of visitors to his exhibitions, his paintings selling for millions of dollars. Today French artist Frédéric Bazille is mostly forgotten. But he was there, in the right place, at the right time, on the cusp of making history with…

Alexandre Jacovleff – Banda Woman with a Child (1926)

When the French Prime Minister Gaston Doumergue confides in André Citroën that the Republic needs a liaison between the African French colonies and Madagascar, an island isolated in the Indian Ocean, the French engineer quickly gets to work. By then, the two giants of French car manufacturing, Renault and Citroën, were in a tight race…