I don't use the word "rare" frivolously when I say that this is a rare postcard featuring the art work of French painter Elisabeth Sonrel (1874 Tours – 1953 Sceaux). The last time I had this card to offer was in 2014. I have a black and white version produced by the Bon Marche in my personal collection, but it isn't in near as good of condition as this one! I've included direct scans and photos taken at natural daylight to attempt to show what superb condition it is in. Virtually no surface wear! Typical antique postcard size: 3. 5 by 5.5 inches. Please note that the card is a rich dark brown. Do you see all seven gnomes?! Verso, you see this card is written on but not postally sent. Also, note the SPA stamp: Salon des Paris. This postcard is from the Salon 1912 exhibition. Sonrel exhibited at the Salon des Artists Francaise beginning in 1893 and continuing through 1941.
Imagine this card on gold cardstock with matching ribbon for a unique Christmas card!
In the decade-plus that I've been enamored with the mystery of this fantasy forest scene, it is only now after a month in Brittany that I can appreciate the fact that Mlle. Sonrel found her inspiration in this area of France! She made regular painting trips to Brittany, inspired by the forest of Brocéliande (mythical forest thought to be based on a forest near Rennes), and from 1910 to various places on the coast, often staying at inns and accompanied by one or two students. She painted several works in Le Faouët before constructing a villa in La Baule in the 1930s.
My online research discovered this candid information from a Brittany tourist site, talking about the town of Le Faouët: "Working mainly in watercolor and gouache, [Sonrel] found many models, especially with the girls of the region. Although 'too often dirty, the Bretons are generally sympathetic, honest, confident and do not have the hostile attitude of most peasants in the rest of France ...'. :)
One reason I believe this work of art by Sonrel is not well known or mass distributed is because there is no full color version available. Perhaps the original painting sold during the 1912 salon, when she exhibited it, and it has been held in a private collection ever since? That's my theory and it makes me jealous and curious as can be, for I'd love to know the original colors. This scene is fantastic in monochrome; imagine it in full color glory!
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