Friday 6 May 2011

South of France

A lucky find amongst a job lot of cards, four lovely pictures of the south of France, probably during the 1940s or 50s.

The publishers, M. BarrĂ© and J Dayez were founded in 1925 and published about 5000 different cards up until the 70s.  As far as I can tell they normally all have rather jagged and fibrous edges because of the method of cutting.  Mine do have the rough edges but apparently many retailers did crop them off.

I can't find out very much about the artist P Charlemagne.  I did find a site, the memoirs of an American artist called Ray Ronyak who met Charlemagne while he was in France after World War II.  He died aged 93 in 2010 and unfortunately the site has since disappeared.  He words were:
"I admired the red tile roofs on white stucco buildings as we approached the very blue Mediterranean. The airport juts out into the Mediterranean - a very lovely setting as one beholds the craggy coastline interspersed with flowered villas. No wonder the ancient cultures settled these shores. The Corniche highway, a most beautiful highway, continues past Nice, Monte Carlo, and on to Italy.
I discovered a small art gallery near the Flower Market off the Promenade de Anglais. The Promenade de Anglais is one the most beautiful and charming promenades in France. The gallery didn't offer too much, but, I had the good fortune to meet the manager-owner. I had a good chat - I was the only person there. Later, when I attended a dance for the G.I.'s at the lovely Negresco, I met P. Charlemagne's (art gallery's) wife.

She was representing the G.I.'s as she could speak French and English. In the course of our tango or whatever, and chatting with Mrs. Charlemagne, she understood I was interested in art. I and a friend received an invitation to their residence for a cup of whatever (all drinks were suspect) and I did accept.

We found their lovely home and did drink their whatever, and, then she produced her husband's rather fine pen and ink drawings - with prices there on. She subtly mentioned that Jimmy Stewart, then in the Eighth Air Force stationed in England, had made some purchases. We did ooh and ahh but kept our hands in our pockets and retired from the situation the best we could. After the war, I sent to P. Charlemagne some pens and ink, however, I heard no more."
 It  isn't very much information at all, but at least it does give an idea of the dating for the cards.

This is a post for Postcard Friday, which is hosted by Beth Niquette at The Best Hearts are Crunchy.


  1. Charming cards. Ray's description *in the course of the tango or whatever" seems to indicate he was no dancer:-)

  2. Absolutely beautiful cards - I love the wonderful soft colors.

  3. Sheila they are beautiful. Hope you have a great weekend. Don't know if you have children but Happy Mother's Day for Sunday.

  4. Sheila, the cards are lovely ... the pastels ... so different from what we usually see. Happy PFF!

  5. Sheila, these are fantastic cards! I love the illustrations - it's so nostalgic of an era gone by in France.
    Happy Mother's Day!

  6. This is a very neat vintage postcard! I love the way it was drawn.

  7. Ilove the lovely pastel colours too! Beautiful cards.

  8. hi there! beautiful cards... Happy Mother's day to you!

  9. Such exquisite cards, more meaningful to me because, several times, I've been to the south of France!

  10. Very nice postcard from France. Mine is here - Postcard Entry

  11. I recently purchased some of Ray Ronyak's artwork. He was quite the artist himself.


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