"Know you the river near to Grez....?"

Yesterday I had the pleasure to make a small trip to Grez-sur-Loing, just south of Fontainbleau, about an hour’s drive (or train trip) south of Paris. A visit was organised by the “Association Artisitique Suédoise à Paris”, an association with some 200 members trying through different activities to help and to promote the work of Swedish artists established in Paris and surroundings. Some 40 of us were present.

Grez as some other villages in the neighbourhood (Barbizon...) became very popular, especially by painters, during the latter part of the 19th century; it became easier to travel thanks to the railroad, oil paint could be put in tubes... Grez was visited by a number of French, British, American and later also Japanese artists, but perhaps especially also by Nordic ones.

For a Swede it’s particularly interesting to know that Carl Larsson stayed here for longer periods, met his future wife Karin and that their first child was born at Grez, more particularly at what was then a hotel (Hôtel Chevillon). Many other, at least for some of us, known painters also stayed here for longer or shorter periods. Not only painters were among the simultaneous residents during the 1880’s, but also writers like August Strindberg (who also was a very good painter) with family and Robert Louis Stevenson, from whom I quoted the beginning of a poem in the headline.

Much later the hotel was closed and abandoned, but the building was saved by a Swedish foundation which reshaped it and today is renting flats and studios to other foundations and institutions that offer grants for residencies at the former hotel. It was thus reopened in 1994 by the then Swedish Minister for Culture in presence of the Swedish Queen.

Six artists (painters, sculptors, writers...) can thus and live and work simultaneously, for periods of two to six months, at this wonderful place, with a beautiful garden leading down to the Loing River, with a medieval bridge as closest neighbour.
We got some information about the place and its history, talked with some of the artists and visited their studios, got something to eat and drink... and the weather was perfect.

I have already referred to Carl Larsson in some previous posts, so if you are interested, you may go here.

For further details I refer also to the sites of the Grez Foundation and the Swedish Paris Artistic Association.

The top picture is from Carl Larsson’s balcony.


Blind Fly Theater said...

It is quite interesting to learn about the art of your homeland, Peter. Peter's Paris, after all, is subtitled with reference to this. Even more interesting is to study Swedes who are/were artists living in and around Paris, including Carl Larsson (thank you for the photo from his balcony... it adds a nice touch of connection). Also interesting is the influence on Christmas here in the US, and the origin of the Gnome by Viktor Rydberg. All very interesting Peter, and a nice introduction to the Grez-sur-Loing artist community.
Beautiful photography, as usual.

James said...

That looks like a very nice place to visit. It's a good thing to preserve arts and culture.

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Good pictures! Thanks for the history bit!

On a lighter note, I saw those yummies spread out on the table and felt wow....I'm hungry now! ;)

Anonymous said...

Thank you Peter for the summary of our nice excursion to Grez-sur-Loing.

SusuPetal said...

These are great places, we have also the same for Finnish artists, houses/mansions in other countries.

A perfect trip, I see from the photos.

Have a nice week, Peter.

alice said...

Je ne suis ni artiste ni suédoise et pourtant je ferais bien un petit séjour par là-bas! Quelque chose me laisse croire que le menu ne comportait pas que des tomates/mozarella...

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Another brilliant day out, your all look like you are having a great time..Thanks for Sharing :-)

Rob said...

It is good to save these established buildings for our future.

Ruth said...

I so love Carl Larsson's work - it's inspired me for decades. I can see him in those rooms! This was nice information, thank you.

Azer Mantessa said...


*trying to breathe*

Grez ... Lovely

Promoting the work of Swedish Arts. I just finished admiring the work of Lars Eric Mattsson ... I think he is among the best guitarist in the world. Fantastic gothic metal playing. Now that I am here, what a diversity.

Phewwww ... Swedish artistic work sure is overwhelmed. Keep up the promotion.

Cergie said...

Les suédois ont la terre battue rouge Paris à leurs pieds depuis hier et toi pas un mot dessus.
Le Loing... J'en ai entendu bcp parler.
Stevenson a beaucoup été sur les canaux, mais pas de Gretz dans son itinéraire mais Auvers sur Oise et Conflans STe Honorine.
(Sacré Peter, tu es toujours aussi documenté et d'une sortie entre amis tu fais une conférence)

Ingrid said...

Interesting to see something of the surroundings of Paris, too. I've just returned from a little voyage to the island of Norderney.

Cezar and Léia said...

Glad to know that you had such a perfect time there!
Many thanks for sharing!

Adam said...

What a fantastic looking bridge. Any idea how old it is?
I've always meant to go down that way, but I've never made it beyond Fontainbleau.

Starman said...

Everything is so green. Grez almost has a Florida look about it. I, too, was impressed by the food presented on the table in one picture. Your picture presentation makes it a very inviting place.

Alain said...

As-tu pensé que tu pourrais faire partie des six artistes invités ? La photo est un art, au même titre que la peinture.

Mona said...

It is always a pleasure to visit historical places of Artistic importance!

Love the picture. The weather does seem good! :)

Peter 2340 is 340 years away.It is 2040 which is 41 years away :)

hpy said...

Idag ar det val bast att kommentera pa svenska?
Som SusuPetal redan sade, sa finns det liknande stallen i manga lander - och for manga nationer - och det ar en mycket bra idé.
Det ar som broar som binder och som far folk att forsta varandra lite battre.

claude said...

Je ne connsais pas Grez, mais j'ai connu de près le loign, quand nous rendions visite au tonton de mon papa.
Si j'(ai le temps, je repasse !

parisbreakfasts said...

What an idylic setup - every artists dream come true...
Who doesn't love Carl Larson?
Excellent post Peter

Kate said...

This must have been an extraordinary experience. The arts are always underfunded it seems so it is delightful to hear of endeavors such as this. There are places and foundations here in the states that have similar facilities for writers. I suppose tht artists and art historians have the same opportunities, too. Fine Arts make human beings out of us and I wish more people understood that!

Kate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lyliane six said...

Nous avons eu la même idée de sortie tous les 2, je suis allée à Giverny, mais les iris et les pivoines sont à moitié défleuris, les roses commencent. Je connaissais ce tableau de la Sainte Lucie, mais ne savait pas que ce peintre avait habité la France.

Karen said...

Your photos are so yummy. They make me wish I were there to see all the flowers and greenery but, alas, I must wait until fall to visit again. One day I will try for Spring.
I have liked the work of Carl Larsson for quite awhile, perhaps because of his work or that my last name was Larsen and I feel a connection.
Happy that you are back and posting again.

Gaëlle said...

Comme Lyliane je connais plutôt Giverny alors c'est intéressant de découvrir cette petit merveille à quelques pas de Paris !

Pour répondre à ta question sur mon blog, je joue effectivement de la musique : piano et basse (et un peu de chant aussi!).

Mo said...

What an exciting adventure. I dont know either this village or I must confess the artist. Will be studying up on both now.

Carole said...

Je connais Souppes sur Loing (il y a un parc animalier là-bas...sortie avec les enfants oblige...)donc je dirais que c'est le Loing bien sûr !
Beau Week-end en tout cas.

Anonymous said...

I found this to be a refreshing post, Peter. I was an artist most of my life and made a lot of friends along the way and also made a lot of money but gave it all up in the 1980s. Now it is all photography.

I had not heard about this place but there were places in Belgium that I was offered to go in the early 1960s but had new babies and didn't go. I could have been a kind of resident for up to 5 years, as I recall.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the post, Peter. Thanks too for visiting my blogs. Here is my new one that I recommend to you...

Voices from the past > http://bing-it.blogspot.com/

PeterParis said...

I can see that you went back to my previous posts! Thanks for the interest! :-)

We agree! :-)

I hope the hunger is over by now! :-)

PeterParis said...

Are you shy? :-)

There is also room for Finnish artists here; we met one!

Le buffet était bien complet! :-)

PeterParis said...

It was a nice day indeed! :-)

Dusty Lens:
I agree! :-)

Happy to see (but not surprised!) )that you know Carl Larsson! :-)

PeterParis said...

I know you are a great friend of Sweden! :-)

Toi aussi, tu es bien documenté! RLS est bien resté assez longtemps à Grez; un des appartements est aujourd'hui prévu pour des écossais, en souvenir de lui! :-)

Happy to see that you have not abandoned us bloggers! :-)

PeterParis said...

It's a pleasure to share with you! :-)

Le pont date de XII-XIV siécle, a été partiellement détruit est rebâti!

It IS an inviting place! :-)

PeterParis said...

En effet, mais je pense qu'on trouvera des mieux qualifiés! :-)

Sorry for the bad calculation! :-)

Finska artister bor här ocksà! Vi träffade en! :-)

PeterParis said...

J'espère que tu trouves le temps! :-)

Happy to see that you also know Carl Larsson! :-)

Yes, art in general must be supported, encouraged... ! :-)

PeterParis said...

Je pensai qu'on allait à Giverny ensemble! Tant pis; une autre fois! :-)

I see that CL is fairly well known by many of you! That makes me happy!

Bleeding Orange:
J'en étais sur! Très bien! :-)

PeterParis said...

On trouve plein des jolis endroits dans le coin! :-)

Too bad you missed it, but things went well for you anyhow! :-)

lyliane six said...

Moi aussi je le pensais, mais comme tu n'es jamais là et que Cergie ne se décide pas, j'y suis allée, mais les iris étaient presque finis, il faudra y aller en juillet.

PeterParis said...

En juillet alors! :-)

Artistes du Bout du Monde said...

Bonjour Peter et bonjour à vous tous. Je suis ravi de votre venue dans notre petit village, si vraiment vous voulez en savoir plus, il y a une association culturelle Artistes du Bout du Monde (www.artistes-grezsurloing.fr) qui retrace le passé de ces colonies artistique venuent à la fin du 19ème début 20ème. Si vous voulez en savoir plus ou bien visiter notre village et son musée-mairie contcater l'association, on se fera une joie de vous accompagner dans une prochaine visite. (cligere@club-internet.fr).