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“Landscape: Normandie”

CathHS“Catherine Kinkade’s work follows a colorful landscape tradition that is an interesting combination of Pierre Bonnard and Richard Diebenkorn.  Her large paintings, which rely on clear graphic arrangements, encompass appealing agricultural vistas that seem to go on forever though they never lose their adherence to the picture plane. Her smaller works have an intimate delicacy that makes them quite immediate and fresh”.

Steven Miller | Director, Morris Museum [Morristown, NJ]

About the Exhibit

The work in this is exhibit addresses two remarkably different regions of France:

  • a visit to the rural coast of Normandy, northwest of Paris near Mont-St-Michel, with its extreme tides and long, saffron summer evenings and
  • a commission done in rural Champagne, with its colorful vineyards and fields.

The coast of lower Normandy is perhaps the most horizontal place I’ve ever seen — massive clouds moving constantly across the sky, and tides coming in and out three to four MILES twice a day, leaving abundant shellfish and shells behind.

The clear light reminds me of Cape Cod, but with a climate more like San Francisco. It is August, and in the garden, wisteria is in full bloom, along with palms, figs, fruit trees, rosemary, and topiary roses.

The Normandy work addresses three subjects: the house and garden of my exceptional hosts and friends, the LeRoux-Haskell family in Agon-Coutainville; the “marais” (salt marsh) on the tidal Sienne River at Countainville, and as seen from Mont-St-Michel; and the hayfields on the uplands adjoining the marais.

The Champagne work was done a few years ago in the Gruet vineyards in Bethon, a tiny ancient village northeast of Paris: very dry, very hot, and unusually stormy August that made the vines brilliant sap green but delayed the harvest by several weeks. Normandy is unlike Champagne and yet it requires intense observation to see the differences.


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