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Collette Bouvard (1941-1998) was born in Écouen in the northern suburbs of Paris, into a highly artistic family. Her grandfather was Eloi Noel Beraud, more commonly known by the name Auguste Bouvard, who found fame with his glowing impressionistic paintings of Venice. Her father, Antoine Bouvard, followed in Auguste Bouvard’s footsteps, and from a very young age it was clear that Colette had inherited both her grandfather and fathers’ artistic talents. Having received a formal artistic education at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, she began to paint in the studio shared by her grandfather and father and quickly picked up their impressionistic techniques and delicate handling of colour. Colette is best known for her paintings of Venice. Like her grandfather and her father, she visited the city often to soak up the atmosphere of this exceptionally beautiful city of water and light and painted its shady canals and quiet waterways. Colette shied away from depictions of the busy canals and rarely depicted the cities monuments such as Santa Maria della Salute and the Doges Palace, unlike the Bouvard’s before her, preferring the picturesque narrow canals and backwaters where daily life became her main subject matter. Colette followed the techniques of her grandfather and father but painted with much looser brushstrokes and freer handling. Her brushstrokes were more open and free but the delicate palette was immediately recognisable as the ‘Bouvard’ trademark. The reflections on the surface of the water are broken up with larger brushstrokes creating a greater sense of movement and the clouds in glowing translucent skies above are less defined. Colette’s work is signed “Bouvard” like her father and grandfather, but the difference in style sets her apart from her forefathers.


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