Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A stamp for Montpellier's own Frédéric Bazille

This article summarises in part articles of SébPhilatélie in French: the maximum cards preparation, comments on the wonderful organisation, and a sort of illustrated conclusion.

Yesterday, Monday 20 February, the French post issued an artistic stamp in honor of impressionist painter Frédéric Bazille, born 1841 in Montpellier. The chosen artwork is View of village of 1868.
The stamp on a maximum card I made at the first day sale in Montpellier, Friday 17 February (postcard edited by the Fabre Museum, Montpellier municipal museum).
Bazille was a talented painter, born in a rich trade family of Montpellier, in Southern France - a family we met already on this blog thank to Kenneth Nilsestuen with a letter between a wine trader in French conquered Algeria and the Bazille-Castelnau branch of Frédéric's family.

The family owned a domain on the outskirts of 19th century Montpellier : the domaine of Méric, where the garden overviews the small Lez river and the nearby village of Castelnau-le-Lez. On Vue de village, Bazille depicted the daughter of a domain's worker with the village in the background.

A high definition picture of the painting and school activities to discover it are available on the Réseau Canopé website, the French public education information service.

The sad part of the story is that Frédéric Bazille, while volunteering the army, died during the 1870 war between France and Prussia, only aged 28.
A part-walk part-tramway route from the place of the first day sale to the Domaine of Méric, passing in front the Fabre Museum, in Montpellier (Google Maps modified with free software Paint.NET).
The first day of sale was proposed in Montpellier, in an uncommon place for the city and its federated philatelic club. The Association philatélique de Montpellier generally organised such event in a municipal hall ; the Fabre Museum was thought too late.
The merry postal team of the Préfecture post office, the President of the Montpellier Philatelic Association (in blue) and one of the deputy mayor (Midi libre, Montpellier local edition, 18 February 2017).
The sale ended in the historic main post office of the town center, near the Préfecture, the official residence of the French State administrator. I thought the place too tiny and crowded at peak let-me-get-my-registered-or-parcel hours...

... But the post office team was efficient and happy to oblige in such short notice. The postal clark specialised in philatelic matters was there with stamps and the first day datestamp ; his boss all smile with the offered coffee machine and cookies. The Association got space enough to propose René Maréchal's collection of impressionist paintings through stamps and pictorial cancellations.

Let me say that, for the past decade, despite the French post's delusional try to profitability of the philatelic sales, the Montpellier Préfecture post office has kept the status of an actual philatelic post office whereas the philatelic subscription were centralised on order by Phil@poste and that post offices were forced to time the seconds spent by each employee with clients... Letting some post offices with the idea that philatelic consumers were a waste of time!

Montpellier Préfecture never surrendered and is proven right: for the past year and a half, Phil@poste and the Post Office Direction are reintroducing philatelic counters in chosen post offices!!!

This improvised first day of sale is a wonderful gift for a wonderful philatelic friendly team.
For amateurs of how baby are mad... stamps are printed: the right part half sheet of the Bazille stamp, with all colour verification dots and the marginal identifications.
A question remained: why a stamp for Bazille now?
The Rose Dress, 1864, shows a cousin watching the same village accross the small river (postcard edited by the Musée d'Orsay, Paris).
Because Frédéric Bazille has got an international exhibition on the run: Frédéric Bazille and the Birth of of impressionism was inaugurated in the Fabre Museum during the Summer 2016, is currently finishing in Musée d'Orsay, Paris, before cruising to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. from April 9th to July 9th.


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