Henri Le Sidaner
Born on August 7th, 1862 in Mauritius, Henri Le Sidaner was a great Intimist French painter, amid the post-impressionism movement.
During his lifetime, he was acknowledged and rewarded for his work, surrounded by his friends – Louis and Marie Duhem, Henri Martin, Eugène Chigot, Monet, Manet… His art has been displayed by more than a hundred museums all over the world. His artworks are instantly recognizable, as they convey the poetry of historical sites, the beauty of twilight, a sense of intimacy from a patch of garden or a freshly cleared table guests have just left…
During the 1900 Paris World Fair, Henri Le Sidaner shared with his friend sculptor Auguste Rodin his thoughts about buying a country house. Rodin suggested the Beauvaisis region that he had been exploring himself. In Beauvais, Le Sidaner meets the famous ceramicist Auguste Delaherche who invites him on a tour of Gerberoy. Formerly a walled city, founded in 1078, it bore witness to several wars, including the One Hundred Years war. Henri Le Sidaner fell in love with this tiny sleepy village and settled there in April 1901.
At first, he rented a house backed by Saint-Pierre church (classified as a historical monument), owned by the nuns, and which had a sole garden with an untended orchard.
In 1904, he bought that area and transformed it into his first ever garden, the White garden.
He built his winter studio in the courtyard, on the remains of a former barn.
He gradually purchased other plots from the municipality, on the ruins of a fortified castle. There, he set up two other gardens: the rose garden and the Yellow and Blue garden.
He setted up his summer studio in the rose garden, while in the Yellow and Blue garden he erected his Temple of Love – a copy of the one from the Petit Trianon in Versailles.
Henri Le Sidaner died at age 77 on July 16th 1939, leaving behind a substantial legacy of 4,000 paintings.
His grave is located at Saint-Louis cemetery in Versailles.
I have to confess that some kind of demon drew me to the countryside, where I could indulge into the creeks, which enchanted my imagination.
- Henri Le Sidaner -