“La Pont” by celebrated French painter, Antoine Villard. The title simply means “the bridge.” Likely a scene painted from one of the many bridges spanning the Rhône and Saône rivers running through Lyon, France. Villard studied architecture and often painted urban landscapes around Lyon. River scenes were a favorite for the artist. Villard was a naturalist, heavily influenced by the Impressionist movement. Like other Impressionists, his catalogue featured figural, urban, and natural subjects. Natural and urban scenes from Lyon, Paris, and the hills around Hurigny (where the family home is located) where his most frequent subjects.
“La Pont” depicts what appears to be a quite moment on the river in late fall, or early spring. The muted gray sky and bare trees hint at the season. Villard includes the French flag on one of the boats, perhaps a prideful hint about the location. The painting was created in gouache paint on paper. The century old painting is framed and features a complimentary blue matte. An acrylic pane protects the painting. The piece is not dated, but likely to have been created sometime in the early 20th Century, between 1900 and 1925.
Antoine Auguste Villard, was born April 17, 1867 in Mâcon, France and died February 4, 1934 in Paris. Villard began his career as an industrialist following behind his banker father. It was not until around 1907 that he fully committed to painting. He studied architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, under the supervision of Jules Lefebvre and Benjamin-Constant.