Pont Royal, Paris (Le Soir), 1922
signed and dated lower left “Frank M. Armington, 1922″
titled and signed to verso
Palace of Arts, The British Empire Exhibition, Wembley, London, 1924, cat. no. FF.110
Related etching, Pont Royal, Paris (Le Soir), 1923, in the collection of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.
This exceptional Impressionist work by Frank Armington has a stellar note in its exhibition history. It was shown at The British Empire Exhibition at Wembley – known colloquially as Wembley – in 1924. A classic example of Armington’s second French period, he and his wife Caroline had left Canada and returned to Paris (this would be their second trip) at the end of the First World War. They would remained based there, although they travelled frequently, until the Second World War forced them back to Canada again.
Pont Royal, Paris (Le Soir), it is a beautifully handled scene. We have Pont Royal at night, captured in delicate blue-green brushwork, with alternating lights illuminating the traffic that crosses the bridge. It seems as if it is raining, the light and air in the work have a quality of wetness to them, especially the reflected light as if bounces on the waters of the Seine below. Pont Royal is an arched bridge, built in
1685 over a four year period. It is one of the oldest bridges in Paris, and is located in the heart of the city. It connects to the Musée du Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and the jardins des Tuileries, with the Jeu de Paume and the Musée de l’Orangerie at the end of the gardens.
Armington’s treatment is delicate, with the soft rose and canary yellow lights alternating as we move across the bridge. They shine downward from their beautiful cast iron standards, illuminating the activity on the bridge itself, and then reflecting off the river below. The lights from the street in the distance that we see under and through Pont Royal’s arches line what is now Quai François Mitterand. These lights reflect in stripes of yellow and rose light, with lights from boats breaking up the pattern. Above and to the left, we can see the distinctive roofline of the buildings of The Louvre, while on the right, a pair of rose lights shine, diffused and softened, through the leaves of a tree, perhaps the
ancestor of one of the elms that still grow there today.