Spe­cial Ret­ro­spec­tive at Haskell

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Stanstead

Af­ter or­ga­niz­ing art ex­hibits at the Haskell Free Li­brary in Stanstead for many years, Marie France Jour­net has cre­ated a very spe­cial ex­hibit for the busy month of Au­gust: a ret­ro­spec­tive of the art cre­ated by her fa­ther, the late An­dré Jour­net, of France.

The fas­ci­nat­ing ex­hibit, which Marie France has been re­ceiv­ing a lot of pos­i­tive feed­back about, in­cludes land­scapes of France in sev­eral dif­fer­ent medi­ums, deli--

cate en­grav­ings and sev­eral life-like sculp­tures of French pres­i­dent Charles de Gaulle, whom he was asked to sculpt de­spite the fact that he was not a pro­fes­sional artist. “He knew mem­bers of the In­sti­tut Charles de Gaulle and they asked him to do it. The busts made from his sculp­ture were placed in de Gaulle’s child­hood home, in the house in Lille, France, where he was born, at the Charles de Gaulle Air­port and there is one on the Charles de Gaulle air­craft car­rier,” ex­plained Marie France.

There are also sev­eral com­pelling wa­ter­colours that Mr. Jour­net painted while he was a pris­oner of war in Aus­tria. “Our fa­ther was wounded in the war and also spent one and a half years in a prison camp in the Sec­ond World War,” said Marie France.

Mr. Jour­net’s art is quite re­mark­able given the fact that he was a self-taught artist who ac­tu­ally worked as a bu­reau­crat. How­ever, he did at­tend many artist work­shops and vis­it­ing art ex­hibits and museums was more than a pas­sion for him. “We would bring us to visit Lour­des each Sun­day when we lived in Paris. We also vis­ited all the mon­u­ments and other museums as well. He never missed a new ex­hibit at Lour­des or at the other na­tional museums; he was a big walker!” com­mented both Marie France and her sis­ter, Elis­a­beth, who came here from Paris es­pe­cially for the show at the Haskell. “He would also work in his stu­dio ev­ery night,” added Elis­a­beth.

Also in­cluded in the ex­hibit is a strik­ing por­trait of Mr. Jour­net, done by an artist who saw him walk­ing on the beach at Mont­martre and asked if he could paint his por­trait. The por­trait which, ac­cord­ing to his daugh­ters, cap­tures his char­ac­ter and like­ness beau­ti­fully, was soon af­ter bought by his wife and given to him as a gift.

“Af­ter my fa­ther died, we looked at all of his work. We found that it brought back lots of won­der­ful mem­o­ries for us. It was re­ally hard to de­cide what to in­clude in the ex­hibit,” men­tioned the sis­ters.

Al­though Mr. Jour­net par­tic­i­pated in sev­eral group ex­hibits dur­ing his life­time, this is the first solo ex­hibit of his work, ob­vi­ously put to­gether with much pride and af­fec­tion.

Photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

Sculp­tures of Charles de Gaulle and en­grav­ings are in­cluded in the ret­ro­spec­tive ex­hibit.

Marie France Jour­net (left) and her sis­ter Elis­a­beth Jour­net pose with land­scapes of the French coun­try­side that were cre­ated by their fa­ther, the late An­dré Jour­net.

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