Urgent Museum Notice

Arreau, Hautes-Pyrénées

Close up of Arreau, Hautes-Pyrénées

Beneath a soft blue sky, a picturesque village nestles in a valley between a river in the extreme foreground and verdant mountains. Combining loose and discrete brushstrokes with a palette of greens and golds, the painting recalls Paul Cézanne’s late 19th-century landscapes.

Loïs Mailou Jones, Arreau, Hautes-Pyrénées, 1949; Oil on canvas, 19 1/2 x 23 5/8 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Gladys P. Payne; © Loïs Mailou Jones; Photo by Lee Stalsworth

Arreau, Hautes-Pyrénées
Loïs Mailou Jones

Like many African American artists who traveled to France in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, Loïs Mailou Jones was thrilled at the country’s racial tolerance, so different from her reality in the United States. She first went to Paris in 1937, while on sabbatical from Howard University, to study at the Académie Julian. Jones returned regularly and summered in France annually from 1946–1953, often visiting French artist Céline Tabary (1908–1993), a lifelong friend.

Jones rendered Arreau, Hautes-Pyrénées on one of her summer sojourns in southwestern France.  Her portrayal of the picturesque village nestled in a valley evokes landscape paintings by Paul Cézanne, a stylistic influence she acknowledged. Jones’s brushstrokes, though loosely applied, define the structure of buildings and topography clearly. The intense contrast of oranges and greens, also reminiscent of Cézanne, lends visual vibrancy to the peaceful scene.

Jones received an award for this work (originally titled Petite Ville-Hautes-Pyrénées) from Washington, D.C.’s Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1949.

Artwork Details

  • Artist

    Loïs Mailou Jones
  • Title

    Arreau, Hautes-Pyrénées
  • Date

    1949
  • Medium

    Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions

    19 1/2 x 23 5/8 in.
  • Donor Credit

    Gift of Gladys P. Payne
  • Photo Credit

    © Loïs Mailou Jones; Photo by Lee Stalsworth
  • On Display

    Yes