élise rieuf

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Elise Rieuf (1897 - 1990)

What counts in a picture is not its resemblance with any object, being or with nature: it is the magic that arises from it, at the connecting point of the outer world of the artist and of his inner world.
A figurative picture, as likely as it may, is always abstract by some of its features. Isn’t the vast and complex nature impossible to imitate?
Elise Rieuf - La leçon des Maîtres
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1897 : Birth of Elise Rieuf in Massiac, Cantal.

1915 : Elise Rieuf attends Clermont-Ferrand School of Fine Arts.

1918 : Paris. Elise Rieuf registers at the Lacaze Academy to become an art teacher. There, she meets Marguerite Jeanne Carpentier. She becomes a faithful adept of Carpentier’s workshop in Auteuil, where young female artists work. It is the birth of the first school of art for women artists.

1923-1930 : Elise Rieuf marries Paul Veyseyrre, an architect in Shanghai (Léonard and Veysseyre agency). Léonard and Veysseyre have just achieved the French Sporting Club in Shanghai, today the Okusa hotel entrance hall. Elise Rieuf leaves for China, just after her wedding. She exhibits in the Shanghai Art Club until 1930, when she parts from her husband and comes back to France, bringing back about 40 pictures, which are among the best of Massiac museum.

1930-1940 : Elise teaches in Charleville, Aurillac, Lyon, Saint Cloud and then in Paris, at the Molière grammar school.

She never ceases to paint, whether during her travels around Europe, her stays in Auvergne or in her workshop.

1940-1942 : Composition of La Leçon des maîtres

1960-1985 : Elise Rieuf settles in Aix-en-Provence. She lives many happy days devoted to painting and reading. She is the center of a circle of friends, intellectuals and artists.

1986-1990 : Elise Rieuf ends her days in Massiac. In spite of her great age, her correspondence and her last sketching books attest of her intact intellectual vigor.

Travels around China : 1927 - 1930

n 1928, life in the international concessions in Shanghai reminds of a film by Visconti : magnificent receptions, Russian beauties, sumptuous residences, houseboats on the Yangtze and, as a background, the rumble of the guns of the revolution.

Elise Rieuf and Paul Veyseyrre’s marital life is also tumultuous. It will end with a divorce. But the artist will produce in China what many consider be her most beautiful works.

L'arrière du Sampan - Huile Le bébé chinois - Huile Chinois au feutre - Pastel Famille chinoise - Aquarelle La petite chinoise - Huile


They think I only seize the features of their face, but I sink inside them unnoticed, and I take them away entirely.
Maurice Quentin Latour
It is the sum of his analysis and synthesis that gives the portraitist the image he is looking for. And when it arises, it sometimes astonishes him. Nothing is more mysterious than this re-creation done as if outside himself, but with the help of all his capacities, drawn only toward the expression of this “concept”, penetrating so deep. His work becomes endowed with a life and a soul of their own. It breaks away from its creator and gives him away its own secrets. For creating reveals us to ourselves.
Elise Rieuf - La leçon des Maîtres
For a genuine painter, seeing his works exhibited in public - even though they are portraits - is having his intimacy displayed to a wide attendance ; he feels the same embarrassment as if he were confiding in public. Nevertheless, disregarded or not, he feels the impetuous necessity of doing so.
Elise Rieuf - La leçon des Maîtres
Couronne de tresses - Huile Jeune femme 1944 - Pastel Portrait d'homme - Pastel La grande Paulette (détail) - Huile Les yeux bleus - Huile

Travels around France and Europe

When the light is fine, on an autumn day, the gray sky seems blue through the interstice of the half bare branches. The reason is that the warm tone of the reddish-brown leaves makes the cold blue tone inside the gray sing, and exalts it so much that it takes over the other colours .
Elise Rieuf - La leçon des Maîtres

Elise Rieuf acquires from her childhood, with that of drawing, the taste of travel. At the age of 11, she goes to Egypt with her uncle Basil Malaval, engineer of Ports and Lighthouses of Alexandria. Look at the amazing watercolor she paints on one of her first sketchbooks.

Elise et le dromadaireL'arrivée au Caire

This taste will never leave her. Back from China, she will travel across Europe in search of images, light, atmospheres.

Péniches sur un canal - Huile Village Aix en Provence - Aquarelle Hambourg - Aquarelle Palais des Doges - Aquarelle Canal en Hollande - Aquarelle Scandinavie - Aquarelle


Saint Cirgues de Jordanne, Salers, Saint Flour, the valley of Cère and Alagnon, the high tablelands. Auvergne, with its acid green and blue backgrounds, is a recurrent theme in Elise Rieuf’s paintings.

When an artist strongly feels the beauty of nature, and that his reactions oppress him, and when his feelings need to be expressed, he experiences more pleasure in the elaboration of this task than in the search of unprecedented forms.
Thus he creates with enthusiasm, enjoying the visual world from which he nurtures his imagination.
Elise Rieuf - La leçon des Maîtres
Blesle : tour aux vingt angles - Aquarelle Arbre aux troncs jumeaux - Huile Conversation dans la neige - Huile

2015 - 2024 Ⓒ Musée Elise Rieuf - Massiac
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