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Oil paintings

July 3, 2012

We fell in love with two antique oil paintings that we bought in Paris. The first one is a still-life with absinthe glass, saucer and pipe. The colors are very well-preserved and vibrant. Not only the pipe but also the Oeuf-glass and the plain gray saucer indicate that this is the green-hour of a simple man, rather a blue-collar worker than a wealthy gentleman. According to the signature the work is from a female artist: Yvonne Guiot (or maybe Guiol).

The second one shows a bearded man with hat, who is depicted in front of a table with a glass of absinthe. The man’s face, which we only see in profile, clearly and naturalistic, is the center of the focus. The further away from the center, the image gets gradually more blurred and perspectively distorted. The unknown artist might have been influenced by the Impressionist movement which originated in Paris during the 1870’s and 1880’s.

Both paintings portray absinthe scenes from the working class. There is nothing bourgeois or bohemian in those pictures. Absinthe is here not a symbol of a glamorous life-style. It rather looks like it is a break from work, kind of an everyday-escapism: Sitting down, smoking a pipe and sipping an absinthe. A little ritual in the increasingly hectic world in the era of the Second Industrial Revolution that culminated in mass production and the production line.


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Hopefully that gentleman in the bottom photo will feel better when he gets to the bottom of that glass of absinthe. Nice find!


July 4, 2012

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