Walk the Painter’s Trail

[Walk the ruins at Crozant]

Monet was among the first to discover the painterly possibilities of la Vallée des Peintres around Crozant. Eventually, he created twenty-three separate paintings in the Valley, many around Fresselines. It is truly an area of outstanding natural beauty all year round.

[la Petit Creuse - Claude Monet]
la Petit Creuse – Claude Monet
Indeed, paintings of the Creuse valley are now exhibited in major galleries all over the world. One such example, entitled Landscape in Crozant, is housed in the Chicago Institute of Arts. 

[Landscape in Crozant - Armand Guillaumin]
Landscape in Crozant – Armand Guillaumin (1898)
Although Armand Guillamin was called the leader of the École de Crozant, a diverse group of painters who came to depict the landscape in the region of the Creuse around the village, the school had no leader or master.

Armand Guillaumin died in 1927 in Orly, Val-de-Marne just south of Paris. His bust, by Rodin, is in the square near the village church of Crozant.

[Bust of Armand Guillamin by Rodin at Crozant]
Bust of Armand Guillamin by Rodin at Crozant
Since then, many artists have passed through the Valley of the Creuse and especially through Crozant, Fresselines and Gargilesse. Even today you may well find a water-coulourist set up at a bright, pretty spot along the river.

[Creuze landscape by Jean-Baptiste Armand Guillaumin]
Creuse landscape by Jean-Baptiste Armand Guillaumin
The poet Maurice Rollinat (1846-1903), godson of George Sand, retired to Fresselines in 1883 to continue his work there. He was surrounded with friends with whom he shared the last years of his life. In 1886 he published l’Abîme (The Abyss), then Paysages et Paysans (Landscapes and Peasants) and a prose collection En errant (Wandering). Tragically, he lost his mind after the death of his wife, the actress Cécile Pouettre, from rabies. After several suicide attempts he died in an insane asylum at Ivry-sur-Seine in 1903. He is buried in the Saint-Denis cemetery in Châteauroux. On Rollinat’s death, Auguste Rodin offered the Fresselines commune a bas-relief entitled “Poet and the Muse”. This sculpture is on display on the wall of the village church at Crozant

[Rodin's memorial to Maurice Rollinat]
Rodin’s memorial to Maurice Rollinat, 1903