John Maclauchlan Milne

Paysage, Lavardin
Oil on canvas
40 x 50 ins
This painting was kindly loaned to our 2010 Maclauchlan Milne exhibition and is not for sale.

All of the places Milne spent time in France were well establish destinations for artists with the exception of Lavardin. What made Milne leave Paris for Lavardin is unknown. The medieval architecture of the town features the eleventh Century Church of Saint-Genest, a grand old Chateaux and a 14th century bridge. The village is set within the stunning scenery of the Loire valley and would certainly have appealed to any landscape artist, nevertheless, it is intriguing that Milne chose this small village near Tours which had not been explored by his predecessors or contemporaries.
In Paris Milne had been working primarily on small panels which he could easily carry about with him. In Lavardin Milne started to paint on a larger scale. A series of photographs show the artist staged as though in his studio in Lavardin, dressed impeccably with jacket, shirt and bow-tie with a traditional white smock coat over the top, poised as though about to apply the final brush-strokes. The photograph is clearly set-up with the finished painting on the easel, a large landscape of Lavardin already framed and clearly not a work in progress. The image was probably taken in Scotland.
This painting of Lavardin is one of Milne's largest works. By this time Milne would have had opportunities to see the work of Cézanne in exhibitions in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Paris. In paintings such as this one can clearly see the influence of his work on Milne. The dash-like brush-strokes construct a series of strong forms which in their entirety create a patchwork landscape reminiscent of Cézanne.
Whereas the Cd'Azur has changed dramatically since the artists of the early 20th Century were capturing its beauty, Lavardin has remained largely unspoilt. The church in the distance and surrounding houses have hardly changed since Milne was there in 1920 and the row of poplar trees on the path are also a characteristic feature of Lavardin today.

 

John Maclauchlan Milne | Paysage, Lavardin