"Camille Merlaud (1877-1957) The Charente At Angoulême"Camille MERLAUD
(Verteillac 1877 - 1957)
La Charente à Angoulême
Oil on panel,
H. 24 cm; L. 33 cm
Signed and dated 1908 lower right
Provenance: Private collection, Angoulême
Born in Verteillac in the heart of the canton of Ribérac, Camille Merlaud remains in the memories of Périgord as an amateur painter and designer, but also a musician. He seems to paint very early since several known works are dated from the 1890s, in a very simple figurative style. It is around the First World War that we know Merlaud the most and his works, mostly made up of portraits and French trenches. During this period, he was mobilized and joined the front as a sergeant-major, that is, “music director”. It will punctuate life in the back of the trenches by the organization of concerts along the front lines, with several dozen musicians. Enlisted in the territory of the 93rd regiment of Périgueux, he was also a nurse during the conflict. The works of this period that the artist regularly gave or sold are regularly found on the art market. Animated by his native country, Camille Merlaud will represent throughout his career the images of the countryside and of the souls to make live. Peasants leading their oxen to plowing or making hay, breaking nuts at the corner of the cantou when a peasant girl spins wool on her spinning wheel, without forgetting her representation of the landscapes of the Dronne and Isle. True testimony, the rural scenes of the painter earned him the Medal of Agricultural Merit. Camille Merlaud, a great fan of his painting, will exhibit in several European Salons, like that of the Independents in Paris and of course with great loyalty to that of Périgueux. He died according to his wishes, alone, in his workshop in Verteillac, where his family still owned the department store with the unbreakable name in the name of this artist of passion.
Here is a view of the edges of the Charente below the old town of Angoulême, which is represented with a very beautiful golden light. We can assume that this view was taken near the paper mills in 1908.