On Saturday July 14th, we’ll be celebrating our annual Bastille Day show, hosting a gallery full of French art enthusiasts, who have been coming for years to sip rose wine, nibble on ham and cheese sandwiches, sing along with our accordion player and admire our walls of French inspired art.
This year, we have a very special guest star who will be joining us: Who could be more representative of French inspired art than the iconic Alice Williams, formerly of Atlanta and now living in France? Alice has spent the spring in her gorgeous home in Provence, preparing for this show and ready to unveil a whole new series of paintings that we will feature on July 14th.
Whether you’re stepping into Alice’s world through a landscape or figure, the rooftops of Provence or African savanna, the gondolas of Venezia or a cozy French kitchen, you will find yourself suspended between fantasy and reality; between the foreign and the familiar, like the space between the inhale and the exhale. It is something rarely captured, like a snapshot taken in the dream of a brilliant mind that has remained creatively free in spite of its reasoning and intellect. Magnificent yet approachable, the works of this living master of post-impressionism are a treasure to behold in real time, and will live on to be studied, emulated, and adored for many years to come.
And we couldn’t be more excited to host Alice for our show, and to unveil some of her newest works. Here is a glimpse at some of the new work that will be presented for this show:
My story with Alice is a funny one. Of course I’d always heard of the iconic Alice Williams, and admired her work which is infused with the colorful joie de vivre that we associate with France. But I’d never met her in person. When she and her husband decided to move to France permanently a few years ago, they put their magnificent penthouse apartment in Atlanta on the market and a friend told me I had to go see it.
You’ve probably guessed the rest but let’s just say that it was jaw droppingly beautiful and that from the minute I walked in the front door, I felt like I’d stepped into an 18th century Parisian mansion, with wide plank floors, centuries’ old beams, gorgeous moldings, ancient “boiserie” and a stone fireplace. And that’s not to mention the piece de resistance: the 2500 square foot Provence roof-garden, complete with cypress trees, lavender and an olive tree, planted smack in the heart of Buckhead!
I was so completely smitten that, with the blessing of my Monsieur, hopped on a plane to meet Alice and her husband, Don, in France, to try to convince them to let me be the new “doyenne” of this magical place. Unfortunately, someone else beat us to it – and we didn’t get the apartment. But in the process we had a wonderful time together, and gained something just as valuable, which was a friendship with Alice and Don, and a personal appreciation for Alice’s work.
Two weeks ago, the Williams’ once again opened their gorgeous home in Provence to the ladies on our Huff Harrington “Week in Provence” trip, welcoming Linda, Mackenzie and their group of art enthusiasts. It was a highlight – both to see Alice and her work, but also to admire the magnificent garden and beautiful stone “bastide” that, after several months of renovation, she and Don now happily call home.
Alice treats her garden as she does her canvas: She says, “I realized early on that many of the same principles apply to both gardening and painting. In both I concentrate on negative and positive spaces, putting warm next to cool, creating triangles, and placing a focal point. Attention to the three C’s—composition, color and contrast—is critically important in each of these related endeavors.”
Alice’s work exudes the joy that she sees in the beauty of imperfection, and the passion she feels for expressing it. In her words: “I am here on this earth to create. Not only create, but express the beauty I see around me. I feel responsible to render it. I cannot help it. I see the beauty. I am compelled to show it, to interpret what I see and how I see it; to express the warm light from a lamp that enthralls me, the coziness and clutter of a room with all that one person has accumulated over the years, the glint on the edge of a cup, the distortion that only age can render on a rooftop that is now that way because of centuries of wear and tear. What does it matter? It matters not to many… But somehow it matters to me.”
It matters to us too, and so it is with great joy that we welcome our friend, Alice Williams, to our gallery this summer — and are excited to unveil more of her works along with the works of several gallery artists who will be painting for this show, on Bastille day, July 14th, from 6 to 8 p.m.