This post is dedicated to our friend and inspirer Ger Luijten, the late director of the Fondation Custodia who has suddenly passed away on 19 December 2022. If you ever wish to see the most beautiful collection of 19th century oil sketches made ‘en plein air’, we encourage you go to Paris and visit the Fondation Custodia.
In our vision the arts enable us to reimagine our relationship with the natural world, and to redesign everything that results from it: the way we live, work, produce or trade. We want the visual arts to play an important role at Le Grippault. My father previously working in fine arts, I grew up surrounded by 19th century landscape paintings. During the first decades of the 19th century for the first time artists stepped out of their workshop, armed with an easel and a small canvas. Their sketches made en plein air (outdoors, in the open air) are jewels for the eye. They show untouched landscapes, mostly without human beings. Moments captured in time.
Only in recent years have I come to realise the role these works have played in the way I view my natural surroundings. Looking at hundreds of landscape paintings has left an imprint on me. They taught me that the light in Denmark is completely different from that in Southern Italy. They made me aware of the crystal clear blue colours that rivers used to have. They showed me how forested Europe used to be. In recent years watching 19th century landscape paintings made me realise how -especially in my country of origin The Netherlands- we have lost our vast natural spaces and how I craved them. Our new region the Pays the Richelieu has sweeping vista’s and the most beautiful cloudy skies I have ever seen. Jeroen and I are very much looking forward to plan and host small scale exhibitions themed around nature, landscape, botanica and our relationship to all the natural beauty we’re surrounded with.