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Villa Noailles : Paul Rousteau : Paul, the beach & the painters


Villa Noailles offers here the rendering of the artistic commission made to French photographer and artist Paul Rousteau, carried out in residence every summer for five years in Hyères, in the company of eight painters of the scene French contemporary invited to spend some time creating on the theme of the beach:

Florent Groc, Diane Dal-Pra, Marion Bataillard, Thomas Levy Lasne, Jules Magistry, Jean Claracq, James Della Negra & Marcos Carrasquer

Jean-Pierre Blanc offered me a photographic residency in July 2018. July, the start of the holidays. Families finally arrive on the beaches of Hyères, after a year of waiting for the summer holidays, dreaming of them. Jean-Pierre and I observe the joy families during their first swim in the sea. “It would be beautiful to illustrate this happiness at the beach” he dreams out loud.

I was enthusiastic. This, especially since the coastline of the commune of Hyères, Jean-Pierre tells me, extends over 42 kilometers long. A marathon. A nice playground for me who loves summer, vacations, the sun… and the villa.

I immediately thought of the photo book I looked at as a child: Les Grandes Vacances by Robert Doisneau. It was the only book of photographs in my parents’ library.

I loved it. It is a vision of happiness in black and white, in France from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Families take advantage of their paid leave, often in swimsuits. I want to do my version, half a century later, in color, and in Hyères. But for it to be joyful, I don’t want to be alone in front of the beach. Otherwise the book would have been called “Seaside Solitude”. As I love painting above all and as I do not personally know this generation of young creators, I decide to share my residence with two new painters each summer. The rule of the game: pass a week together at the seaside and they give me a painting to display on the theme of the beach to create a dialogue between the arts, and mix our perspectives.

Paul Rousteau


Paul Rousteau Paul, la plage & les peintres
from November 24, 2023 to March 10, 2024
Villa Noailles
Métropole Toulon
Provence Méditerranée
Montée Noailles
83400 Hyères

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