A Forgotten Impressionist

Haystacks in Giverny by Václav Radimsky, Impressionism oil painting, 1900.
Haystacks in Giverny by Václav Radimsky, Impressionism oil painting, 1900.

What You Don’t Know about Impressionism

Václav Radimsky.
Václav Radimsky.

Hundreds of artists frequented Giverny during the time that Monet maintained his studio and residence there during the height of Impressionism. Some were good friends with the famous Impressionist. Some were hoping to meet him and perhaps learn from and paint with him. Others were simply inspired by the landscape of the area.

When we were researching the Giverny Colony, we found artists with diverse and intriguing backgrounds, all dedicated to their work. It is fascinating to see the same landscape subjects painted by so many different artists. One of the most interesting to us is Czech artist, Václav Radimsky (1867 – 1946), born in the town of Kolin, on the Elbe river in central Bohemia. The river played a big part in Radimsky’s childhood. His father, the mayor of Kolin, owned a mill on the river. Radimky would be drawn to rivers and mills throughout his life.

Poplars by Václav Radimsky, Impressionism, oil painting, 1934.
Poplars by Václav Radimsky, Impressionism, oil painting, 1934.

He left his home to study art in Vienna, Munich, and ultimately France where he pursued his work at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. In Paris he was helped by the Czech painter Zdenka Braunerova who introduced him to many of the young French painters. Radimsky was also introduced to the village of Barbizon where he became a close friend of Paul Cézanne and met the others leading the way in Impressionism. It is thought that the two shared studio space in Paris and that Cézanne introduced Radimsky to his friend, Claude Monet.

Water Lily by Václav Radimsky, Impressionism oil painting, ca. 1910.
Water Lily by Václav Radimsky, Impressionism oil painting, ca. 1910.

Radimsky would go on to receive much recognition for his work – gold medals in Rouen in 1895 and the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900 among others. He exhibited at the Paris salon and throughout Europe, often returning to visit family and exhibit paintings in Bohemia. Radimsky lived in France for twenty-eight years, settling with his French wife, Louise Fromont, near Giverny in the hamlet of Goulet. There Radimsky purchased an old mill, called The Bergamot, for his home and studio on the river Seine. Like his friend Monet, he also had a “floating studio” built so that he could paint on the river.

The Old Mill in Giverny by Václav Radimsky, Impressionism, oil painting, 1899.
The Old Mill in Giverny by Václav Radimsky, Impressionism, oil painting, 1899.

He was arrested after the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 as a citizen of an enemy country and put in a French prison. He was released due to the intervention of influential friends, including the prominent statesman and future Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, who was a collector of Impressionism and his work. Disenchanted, he left France, returning to Bohemia and to Kolin to paint the Elbe Valley for the remainder of his life.

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–John and Ann

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John Hulsey and Ann Trusty

About John Hulsey and Ann Trusty

John Hulsey and his wife, Ann Trusty created the website, The Artist's Road - Painting the World's Beautiful Places.  The Artist's Road inspires with practical art tips and painting techniques for the traveling artist, video painting tutorials and demonstrations, workshop resources, artist profiles and interviews and remarkable painting locations.  The Artist's Road is an artist community for oil, watercolor and pastel artists.  Articles cover intriguing art travel experiences artists have had while painting the world's beautiful places. "I believe I must speak through my art, for the preservation of Nature and the natural landscape from which I take my inspiration and living." John Hulsey is an accomplished artist, author and teacher who has been working professionally for over thirty years. In addition to producing new work for exhibition and teaching workshops, Mr. Hulsey continues to write educational articles about painting for national art magazines, including Watercolor magazine and American Artist Magazine. He has been selected as a "Master Painter of the United States" by International Artist Magazine where his work was previously chosen to be included in the top ten of their international landscape painting competition. He was awarded residencies at Yosemite, Glacier and Rocky Mountain National Parks. "I strive in my art to celebrate the mysteries of Nature - the fleeting light on the landscape, the unimaginable diversity of creatures, the beauty of each leaf and flower." Ann Trusty  is an accomplished third generation artist whose work embodies the natural world and is created through direct observation and translation of her subjects into her paintings. She has found inspiration in the dancing light across the water of the Hudson River (where she had a studio for ten years), as well as the big sky and waving tall grasses of the open plains of the Midwest (her current home). Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States, France and Turkey in both museum and gallery exhibitions, and has been reviewed favorably by the New York Times.

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