Bruges 1870-1937 Brussels
A Still Life of Flowers
oil on panel
50,5 x 66 cm 19.9 x 26 in
signed lower right P.Thevenet.
a label and an inventory number on the back
Provenance: private collection
Pierre Thévenet was a post-impressionist painter. The main part of his oeuvre exists of landscapes, flower still lifes and views of Paris in oil and watercolour. He was gifted with a sensibility which made it possible to render the Parisian light and atmosphere in his canvasses. These paintings can resist the confrontation with the few ones painted in Venice and the South of France. Already during his lifetime Pierre Thévenet was considered one of the most remarkable painters of the Parisian town-view. As a painter of sensibility and luminosity his works are an explosion of colours. Thévenet achieved this vibrancy by using pure colours and isolating nearly every stroke of his pencil in white. Combined with a nervous brush, the charm and freedom radiate out of his work.
Born in Bruges, Pierre Thévenet grew up in the centre of the city of Brussels in a musical family. His mother was a piano-player, his father a professional bariton. His sister Cécile (1872-1956) would later become a talented diva-singer with a brilliant career in Paris. Pierre was an accomplished flute-player who in his youth played in the Brussels opera-house and worked for a publisher of musical-partitions. At this place he met writers, musicians and other aspiring young painters. In the last decade of the nineteenth century Pierre Thévenet took classes at the Academie Libre La Patte de Dindon in Brussels in the company of artists like Firmin Baes who later made his name as a gifted painter of pastels.
From 1908 on Pierre Thévenet lived in the village of Drogenbos. At the outskirts of Brussels he did teach painting at his brother Louis (1874-1930) and painted landscapes, meadows and woodlands in the company of Armand Bonnetain, Marcel Jefferys, Frans Van Montfort, Albert Pinot, Pierre Paulus and Edgard Tytgat. This tranquil existence was interrupted from time tot time by short stays with his sister Cécile in Paris and Île-de-France. After a divorce of his wife he settled for four years in Paris in 1919 - together with his companion Madeleine. At the author Charles Vildrac’s place he met with artists like Otton Friesz, Albert Marquet, Henri Matisse, Henri Ottman and Wilette. From 1922 onwards some former colleagues from Brussels – Marcel Jefferys, Frans van Montfort and Albert Pinot – started paying him visits and discovered the Parisian townscape as a theme. These Parisian years only were interrupted with a two-month stay in Venice in 1922 and a stay of a few weeks in the south of France in 1923.
Early in 1924 the couple returned to Belgium, without abandoning their Parisian apartment. After a short stay with the painter Marcel Jefferys in Rixensart – near Brussels - they found a house in the nearby village of Genval. He discovered the valley of the river Meuse and the village of Anseremme, where he frequently set up his easel.
From 1928 on Pierre Thévenet got permission to paint in the Jardin des Tuileries – near the Louvre-Museum - in Paris. In the summer of 1930 he was granted access to the Jardins du Luxembourg – which houses the Palais du Luxembourg with the French Senate. From this time on he did spent more time in Paris, spending the summer in Anseremme and the winter-months in Brussels.
Pierre Thévenet regularly exhibited at the salons in Antwerp, Brussels, Gent and Liege in Belgium and at the Salon des Beaux Arts of the Société des Artistes Indépendants in Paris. He frequently showed his paintings in galleries in Brussels - like the Galerie Georges Giroux, the Galerie de la Toison d’Or, the Galerie Apollo, the Galerie Javal et Bourdeaux, La Petite Galerie and the Galerie des Artistes Français – and in Paris in the Galerie Devambez and the Galerie Giot-Decauville. His watercolours were several times shown at the Salon de la Sociéte royale belge des Aquarellistes and at the Exposition des aquarellistes Indépendants in the Galerie Bernheim in Paris. The Brussels Cercle Artistique et Littéraire showed his oeuvre in 1924, 1927 and 1929 - the Palais des Beaux Arts in 1935 and 1937. Several retrospective exhibitions were organised – e.g. in Anseremme in 1937, in Antwerp in 1938, in Brussels in 1934 and 1987 and in Dinant in 1935. Retrospective exhibitions of his watercolours were organised in 1936 in the Palais des Beaux Arts and in 1942 in the Galerie Stéphanie in Brussels. Pierre Thévenet also exhibited in Barcelona, Genève and Nantes and his paintings figured in official exhibitions of Belgian Art in Brussels, Liège, Nice and in the Musée Galliera in Paris. In august 1937 a monument in his honour was revealed at the banks of the river Meuse in Anseremme - a place where he did paint numerous works.
Museums: Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp; Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels; Collections of the Belgian State, Brussels; Collections of the Province Brabant, Brussels; Musée Communale d’Ixelles – Gemeentelijk Museum van Elsene, Brussels; Collection of the Administration Communale d’Anseremme, Dinant; Collection of the City, Dinant; Collections of the French State, Paris; Collection of the Administration Communale, La Hulpe; TheLatvian Museum of Foreign Art, Riga; Collection of the Administration Communale, Rixensart
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Pierre Thévenet Richard Dupierreux in L’Art belge – Revue mensuelle du mouvement artistique Bruxelles 16me année n°3 mars 1935
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Pierre Thévenet – Un héritage d’une fraîcheur intacte Paul Caso Bruxelles 1982
Un Siècle de Peinture Wallone - De Félicien Rops à Paul Delvaux Paul Caso Liège 1984
Pierre Thevenet, 1870-1937 – Images et souvenirs, Beelden en herinneringen Charles Vildrac, Claude Lyr, Willy Juwet, René Ducoffre-Thévenet Provincie Brabant Brussel 3/9-2/10/1987
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Palette et Paroles – Les carrières parallèles de deux artistes du début de ce siècle René Ducoffre éd.Dricot Liège 1998
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De Belgische beeldende kunstenaars uit de 19de en 20ste eeuw Paul Piron Brussel 1999 vol.II