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Nova Scotia gets a taste of French impressionism

He calls his paintings a discussion with the past and present, and arecent trip to France started a new conversation for Jonathan Johnson.


He calls his paintings a discussion with the past and present, and a recent trip to France started a new conversation for Jonathan Johnson.

“I think if anything, that dialogue has enhanced and grown after seeing the impressionist and post-impressionist works, and seeing all the van Goghs, Monets and Cézannes,” said the Halifax-based artist.

Johnson is currently showing a selection of paintings of Nova Scotia and Normandy at Gallery Page and Strange. The works were completed after the 31-year-old was given the opportunity to spend a month working in France last summer.

“It was very enriching, it was almost the practical side of my education,” said Johnson, who received his fine art degree from NSCAD University in 2003.

“French painting is a massive component of what I am interested in, and the ties between French and Canadian painting and the dialogue between the two.”

Those included works by artists like J.W. Morrice — who chronicled Paris’s lively cafés and salons — and Canadian painters who worked in France during World War I, along with paintings by French impressionist masters.

“Being able to see those works that you may have only looked at images of for so long, to finally see how they were made … was really incredible,” he adds.

 
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