La Seine à Paris 2005


This jubilant look at Douglas MacDiarmids’ adopted city harks back to his first view over Paris. The first painting he made there in 1947, almost on day one, was a sweeping river and cityscape from the top of one of the towers of Notre-Dame Cathedral when he climbed to the highest vantage point to claim the vista as his own. Fast forward nearly 60 years to these panoramas, as seen from the Eiffel Tower in 2005.

La Seine à Paris I 2005 Acrylic on canvas, 116 x 81 cm Private collection Wellington, New Zealand

In this bird’s eye view of the Seine and surrounding arrondissements (districts) of Paris, you can see the river coursing through the heart of the city, and two natural islands, the first of which, Île de la Cité is the very centre of the city – Paris Point Zero, from which all distance in France is measured from a small marker in front of Notre Dame Cathedral.

La Seine à Paris II 2005 Acrylic on canvas, 116 x 81 cm Private collection Auckland, New Zealand

La Seine à Paris II appears in his biography Colours of a Life: The life and times of Douglas MacDiarmid in Chapter 13 on Page 423, and was also part of the eclectic ‘Circle of Friends’ exhibition of favourite paintings that collectors bought along to celebrate the Auckland launch of the book, at the James Wallace Arts Trust’s The Pah Homestead  at Hillsborough on 18 July 2018.

From pastel to acrylic, from one to another, these evocative ‘sky maps’ evolved into Douglas’ final vision of Paris, epitomised as a beautiful woman, which you can see in the blog Thaïs 2005  – a portrait of Paris as you’ve never seen her before.

As it so happens, all three paintings are in private collections in New Zealand, after being seen and admired by friends visiting Douglas’ home studio, and purchased on the spot.

To read more about Douglas MacDiarmid’s fascinating journey through life Buy your copy of Colours of a Life – the life and times of Douglas MacDiarmid by Anna Cahill (2018)

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