France 1995-1999

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Pierre Paul Prud’hon (1758-1823) was a French painter, whose expression of emotion in painting foreshadowed the romantic style. He was born in Cluny, and trained in Dijon, Paris, and Rome. He was greatly influenced by the soft style of the Renaissance painters Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Correggio and by the graceful neoclassical sculpture of his contemporary, Antonio Canova, who became his friend in Rome. Prud'hon gained public recognition through his illustrations for books issued by the French publisher Didot and for his designs for French government stationery. Napoleon then employed him as court painter and decorator. Prud'hon was widely acclaimed for his portrait of Empress Josephine (1805, Louvre, Paris). 

He executed a number of allegorical paintings, of which the best known are Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime (1808, Louvre) and Venus and Adonis (1812, Wallace Collection, London). 

In 1816 Prud'hon became a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts. In the era of French neoclassical painting dominated by the stern, sculptural style of Jacques-Louis David, Prud'hon was distinctive for his delicate treatment of the figure and his use of chiaroscuro. 

France 1995. Pierre Prud'hon. Study for the Dream on Happiness

  • France 1995. Prud'hon: Study for "The Dream of Happiness". 

In 1995 France celebrated the inauguration of the Normandy Bridge, a true masterpiece of engineering. The stamp issued for the occasion is impressive. It is designed by Véret Lemarinier, and Albuisson's light-handed engraving gives a wonderful impression of the huge construction and lofty lines. 

France 1995. The Normandy Bridge

  • France 1995. The Normandy Bridge. 

Jean Giono (1895-1970) was a French novelist, born in Manosque. At the age of 19 he was inducted into the French army to fight in World War I. Later he wrote about the horrors of war in "Le grand troupeau" [To the Slaughterhouse, 1931]. His pacifist creed was expounded in "Refus d'obéissance" [Refusal to Obey, 1937]. Giono used his native Provence as the setting for his novels, the majority of which are concerned with the relationship of people to the earth, as in "Les vrais richesses" [True Riches, 1936]. Other works include "Hill of Destiny" (1920; translated 1929), "Harvest" (1930; translated 1939), and "Horseman on the Roof" (1951; translated 1954). 

In 1995 France celebrated his birth centenary with the below stamp (right), designed by Girard, and engraved by Albuisson. The image to the left, one of Albuisson's private engravings from the Provence region, explains fully how Albuisson relates the landscape with the portrait, in order to create a synergy that radiates the inner feelings of the person portrayed. 

Pierre Albuisson's private engraving "In the Footsteps of Giono" France 1995. Centenary of Jean Giono
  • Philatelic Document from Provence, to complement the stamp of Jean Giono.  "Walking in the footsteps of Giono, realizing his writings, finding the mountain, the old shepherd's lodge ..." [Pierre Albuisson]. 

  • France 1995. Centenary of Jean Giono. Design by Girard, engraving by Pierre Albuisson. 

France 1996. Gallo-Roman Bronze Statue

The Historical and Archeological Museum of Orléans houses one of the most prestigious collections of Gallo-Roman Bronzes. 

The collections contain particularly sculptures of animals and two series of bronze statues, one showing stylized figurines of male and female nudes, or dressed in the typical Gallic way; the others are small Latin gods, produced in numerous Roman studios of the time. 

In 1996 France issued this commemorative stamp from the collection. 

  • France 1996.  Gallo-Roman Bronze. 

France 1997. Sablé-sur-Sarthe France 1997. Design for the stamp "Salbé-sur-Sarthe", bearing  Albuisson's monogram signature.
  • France 1997. Sablé-sur-Sarthe. A lovely and delicately engraved stamp, depicting a small town in provincial France.  

  • France 1997. The design for the stamp, bearing Albuisson's monogram signature, inspired by Albrecht Dürer (see also the Welcome Page). This design is a really a happy meeting between the talented engraver and a part of the town situated by the river Sarthe, that mirrors the castle, the houses, and the mills, emphasized by the clear sky and the arches of a bridge with no name. Scan © Pierre Albuisson.  

France 1998. Philatelic Document, depicting St. Bernard, complementing the stamp of "Abbaye de Citeaux", issued 1998.

France 1998. Cistercian Monastery "Abbaye de Citeaux" in the Burgundy Area

Eugène (Ferdinand Victor) Delacroix was born on April 26, 1798, at Charenton-Saint Maurice, and he studied under the French painter Pierre Guérin. He was trained in the formal neoclassical style of the French painter Jacques-Louis David, but he was strongly influenced by the more colorful, opulent style of such earlier masters as the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens and the Italian painter Paolo Veronese. 

He also absorbed the spirit of his contemporary and countryman Théodore Géricault, whose early works exemplify the violent action, love of liberty, and budding romanticism of the turbulent post-Napoleonic period. 

  • An exquisite portrait of Delacroix, a Philatelic Document to complement the below painting by Delacroix. Engraving by Pierre Albuisson. Scan © Pierre Albuisson. 

Pierre Albuisson's private engraving of Eugène Delacroix

Delacroix remained the dominant French romantic painter throughout his life. A trip to North Africa in 1832 provided subjects for more than 100 sensuous canvases. In addition, he received many government commissions for murals and ceiling paintings. 

France 1998. Delacroix: "The Crusaders entering Constantinople".

Many of his late works, especially animal pictures, hunt scenes, and marine subjects, are superb, but others exhibit a certain dryness of execution and lack of inspiration. 

He also illustrated various works of William Shakespeare, the Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott, and the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. 

  • France 1998. At the occasion of the bicentenary of his birth France issued this painting by Delacroix "The Crusaders entering Constantinople".  

Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898) was a French poet, one of the originators of the symbolist movement. He was born in Paris and educated at the lycée in Sens. He taught English at the Lycée Fontanes, Paris, and translated literary works in English, notably the poems (1888) of the American poet Edgar Allan Poe. He used symbols to express truth through suggestion rather than by narration. His poetry and prose are characterized by musical quality, experimental grammar, and thought that is refined and allusive to the point of obscurity. 

Mallarmé was noted for his conversation, which was as lucid as his writings were obscure. At his renowned Tuesday-night receptions at his home in Paris, his critical comments on literature, art, and music did much to stimulate the creative efforts of the French symbolist writers and the artists and composers of the impressionist school that developed late in the 19th century and emphasized spontaneity, as opposed to formality, of composition.

France 1998. Stéphane Mallarmé

  • France 1998. Stéphane Mallarmé. Design Véret Lemarinier, engraving Pierre Albuisson. 

Chopin, Frédéric François (1810-1849), Polish composer and pianist of the romantic school, regarded by some as the greatest of all composers of music for the piano. Born Fryderyk Chopin in Zelazowa Wola, near Warsaw, of a French father and a Polish mother, he preferred to use the French name Frédéric. He began to study the piano at the age of four, and when he was eight years old he played at a private concert in Warsaw. Later he studied harmony and counterpoint at the Warsaw Conservatory. Chopin was also precocious as a composer: His first published composition is dated 1817. He gave his first concerts as a piano virtuoso in 1829 in Vienna, where he lived for the next two years. 

After 1831, except for brief absences, Chopin lived in Paris, where he became noted as a pianist, teacher, and composer. He formed an intimate relationship in 1837 with French writer George Sand (see next page). 

France 1999. Frédéric Chopin

In 1838 Chopin began to suffer from tuberculosis and Sand nursed him in Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands, and in France until continued differences between the two resulted in an estrangement in 1847. 

Thereafter his musical activity was limited to giving several concerts in 1848 in France, Scotland, and England. 

He died in Paris in 1849 of tuberculosis.  

  • France 1999. Frédéric Chopin. Design by Heidrich, engraving by Albuisson. 

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Published June 2005. Revised 08-feb-2007
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