You may have already heard of our upcoming event called Americans in Paris Paint Provence, which will take place in September 27-October 6, 2020. This once-in-a-lifetime workshop is a co-presented by Americans in Paris and Workshops in France, and will feature instruction by 5 of today’s contemporary masters.

Americans in Paris is the brainchild of Vanessa Rothe, renowned fine artist, curator, author and designer, headquartered in the famed art center of Laguna Beach, California. We recently sat down with Vanessa to learn more about this amazing program, how it came about and what it means.

WIF: What was the inspiration for your creation of the Americans in Paris art project?

Americans in Paris started out with the initial idea to inspire some of the American artists of today to travel to Paris where so many great artists had gained inspiration through the ages, to collect exciting new ideas for their works of art.

Following in the footsteps of the great American painters before them, such as Sargent, Whistler, and Cassat, a group of American realist and impressionist artists would travel to Paris, the City of Light, architecture, and fine art and draw inspiration from all that the city offered. There they would copy in museums, study the masters, absorb the culture, share ideas and inspiration and paint together with the goal of reaching the next level of mastery in their work. 

WIF: How does a project like this tie in with the purposes of you and other artists?

The main purpose is to create new exciting works with important and interesting subjects. Many great artists can paint, but a project such as the Americans in Paris inspires us with exquisite subjects. We learn from European masters not only for technique, but for subjects as well, and seeing European scenes and architecture

Subject matter is a big part of sales and identity to an artist. Being French and having lived surrounded by these ideas, France is a big part of my works and my identity as an artist. It’s who I am, so it’s what I paint. My whole life.

I always have ideas to paint, and they sell well since my subjects are as interesting, or as beautiful or as easy to look at as they are pleasing. Painting European scenes and selling them in California has made me stand out among other landscape painters here over the last 20 years. 

Americans in Paris allows me to share what I do and my recipe for success with friends to help them, and also to help raise the quality of art in America in general. These are top painters and they are benefit from this inspiration. For other artists, I’m trying to introduce them to more European subjects which are considered foreign and different and exciting. For collectors, the allure of the “ foreign” is always interesting, be it clothing, art, or food. 

WIF: Talk about your original Paris retreat, the Paris Seminar.

In order to raise funds for the original retreat, I curated an exhibition at the Salmagundi Club in New York in 2016 for 12 select American realist and impressionist artists. Many works were sold and we were able to plan for the journey.

The first trip to Paris was actually created as a workshop week in May of 2017 that I organized to give the artists valuable relative information about art history, as well as the humanities and group figure composition. The 12 American artists painted in Paris and the Grande Chaumiere atelier for one week together, and filled their sketchbooks and minds with new ideas, some inspired by the past. The group had lively evening discussions based on specific topics,  just like creative groups of the past such as the Impressionists and Hemingway and Fitzgerald’s writing groups did in the Paris bistros and bars years before. 

Image Courtesy of Павел Котов.

WIF: What do you feel attendees took away from that retreat?

Tons of new ideas, subjects, and influences from one another. They all told me it was a game changer, and they were infused with new life and ideas!

WIF: Why did you join forces with Julie Snyder for the upcoming Americans in Paris/Workshops in France joint retreat?

I honestly needed hep with the organizational aspect—it’s too much for one person and Americans in Paris had grown with success.

I decided then, that I wanted help from a workshop, and I felt that Julie was more than capable of helping make this joint venture great. It was the perfect choice. I’ve always admired and had been watching Julie’s workshops for years. I also knew her personally from our plein air conference, and we always got along. We’re like-minded artists and lovers of France, and I’m very excited that we are joining forces.

WIF: This exclusive workshop-retreat is for both artists and collectors. What do you feel attendees will achieve?

I feel they will walk away with the same inspirations as those on our 2017 retreat—infused with ideas and subjects. And with these 5 teachers, they will also learn to improve their technique. In addition to all that, they get to totally enjoy France. They can focus on their art and their inspirations, without the worry of where to eat and where to stay. We all can focus on our creating! It’s a huge win for us all.

We are making art history. As writers and artists of the past grouped together to share ideas and common threads, we are weaving our ideas together and creating new art. I’m very honored to help the artists of today evolve new ideas, to inspire them in a way with what comes natural to me with my French history, to share the knowledge I have of art history, and to share the beauty of Provence.

Casey Childs: Youthful Decadence.

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