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Here is a collection of paintings from travels in France. I've been especially struck by how the broad-leafed trees and flowers, and dappled light through the trees, are conducive to the patchy, short brush strokes that Impressionist painters used.


771 – Park at Notre Dame. A hidden treasure in Paris, this park is located just behind Notre Dame cathedral. The cathedral dates mostly from 1100s and 1200s. The garden was established 1837-44 after riot-related destruction of some buildings. I had thought about painting there for some years but got serious during a TV interview-related visit in 2014. Visited on Saturday July 24th, returned Sunday to sketch the image in chalk on this board, painted on site Tuesday, 10:30AM-1:15PM. A jolly band was playing music from John Barry film scores while I painted on a lightly overcast day. I liked the effect of the pale, ethereal building looming over the shady park. (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

788 – Park at Notre Dame, Part Deux. My second painting in this pleasant park, behind Notre dame, this time in more cloudy weather in May, 2017, and sitting farther back from the cathedral itself. The garden is named Square Jean XXIII in honor of Pope John 23, pontiff 1958-63. This painting was started on site in Paris, with finishing touches a week later in Bern. (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

691 -- Jardin de Luxembourg, Paris. Paris is full of beautiful and often famous parks.  I picked a site early one Saturday morning and painted while I watched people beginning to gather on a lovely fall day.  (2008). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

687 -- Au Lapin Agile, Montmartre, Paris. The café of the “Agile Rabbit” was a famous gathering place of artists who lived on and near the hill of Montmartre in the mid-late 1800s in Paris.  Habitués ranged from Renoir to Picasso.  I painted from across the street until a tremendous lighting flash and clap of  thunder signaled an oncoming storm.  (2008). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

626 -- Notre Dame, Paris. This view of the back side of the cathedral, and its island in the Seine,  is from the quai along the river’s left bank.   It’s fun to paint in Paris; people treat you as if painting is an cool, interesting, and reasonable thing to do! (2005). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

625 -- The Ghost of Henry Miller in the Villa Seurat. Paris is full of brochures about the haunts of Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and other famous American expatriate writers of the 1920s.  One day I realized I couldn’t find anything about the exuberant and notorious Henry Miller.  Checking his books and  several biographies, I located one of the most important of his many Paris addresses in a tiny dead-end street called Villa Seurat – an artsy neighborhood full of small art-nouveau-influenced houses.  During his famous affair with the writer Anaïs Nin in the 1930s, (see her published diaries!), she rented him an apartment in the creme-colored building on the left.  Here he finished the notorious Tropic of Cancer, a novel that is somewhat boring today until you realize that Henry and his friends were creating a blog-type novel that simply recounted their day to day experiences.    (2005). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

580 -- April in Paris. I colonized a concrete pediment in a park along the Seine, just west of the Eiffel Tower, and painted there on two different days to finish this.  I was inspired by the enormous scale of the tower rising just beyond the trees buildings along the parkside boulevard.  (2003). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

748 -- A Quintessential Paris Cafe. For some years I'd wanted to express my love for Paris cafes, the perfect place to read or write, where your table is yours as long as you order an occasional coffee, beer, or other such item. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, when famous Paris artists and writers often lived in barely heated garrets and flats, the local cafe was a place to meet friends or get warm. During a 2012 trip, I wandered the left bank in search of a good example (with the common, jaunty red awnings --- which I found at "La Lutece," on the Blvd. St. Michel at Rue St. Severin. As there was no good spot to set up my paints on the sidewalk, the painting involved several visits (and lunch at the cafe) to make sketches on the 11x14 panel, photos, and corrections, followed by painting in my hotel room.  (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

728 -- The Old Observatory. This observatory, now closed, is located in Park Montouris in south-central Paris. I fell in love with the park during various businesses (involving my astronomical illustrations) at the office of the leading French astronomy magazine, Ciel et Espace (Sky and Space), located in an picturesque building, a few steps to the left of this scene, on the edge of the park. The observatory is on a line due south of the grander Observatoire de Paris, and was used (as best I understand) in the 1800s for transit observations. I parked myself along a path in the garden. Two pleasant, 70-ish French matrons, walking their dogs, stopped to compliment the picture, but for some reason, the cheerful jeune filles in the park ignored me.  (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

729 -- Shakespeare and Company, a famous Paris bookstore.. This English language bookstore in Paris, was a favorite of 1920s American expatriate writers such as Ernest Hemingway.It was closed during the Nazi occupation but re-started in 1951 at this new, picturesque location, on the left bank facing Notre-Dame cathedral, across the Seine (about a kilometer from the original location). Not long after I made this painting, I was amused to notice that Woody Allen used almost exactly the same scene, and same cropping, in the last few minutes of his film, "Midnight in Paris," as "Gil Pender" (actor Owen Wilson), having adapted to Paris, strolls out of the store.  (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

722 -- In the Tuileries Gardens. One of the most famous Parisian gardens is adjacent to the Louvre Museum. The Tuileries Gardens were original a private recreation space for French royalty who lived in the Louvre Palace, but was made public immediately after the French Revolution. It includes not only flowers, open space, and statuary, but also manicured woods, and outdoor cafes with cheerful red umbrellas.  (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

741 -- Another view in the Luxembourg gardens. This September view in 2011 shows fall colors beginning to set in. Interesting fact about Paris parks: Outdoor chairs are scattered around, and visitors are free to move them to whatever seems like a good spot. I colonized two chairs, one to sit in and the other as a “desk” for my painting. (Copyright William K. Hartmann).


795 - Sacre Coeur Cathedral overlooking Paris, at dusk.  The cathedral was built in 1875-1914 on Montmartre, a hill on the north side of Paris.  This view was painted mostly in situ from a window of the Novotel Les Halles hotel in central Paris.  (Copyright William K. Hartmann).


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