0045 Colonizing the Côte d'Azur: Neo-Impressionism, Anarcho-Communism and the Tropical Terre Libre of the Maures, c.1892-1908

  • Tania Woloshyn (Author)
    McGill University, Montreal, Canada

    Tania Woloshyn is a  postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Art History & Communication Studies at McGill University, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). She completed her Ph.D in 2008 at the University of Nottingham. Her research focuses on intersections of art, tourist and medical histories of the Côte d'Azur, c.1890-1920, particularly the visual culture and history of heliotherapy. Recent publications include: "Aesthetic and therapeutic imprints: artists and invalids on the Côte d'Azur, c.1890-1910," in Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide (2012); "La Côte d'Azur: the terre privilégié of invalids and artists, c.1860-1900," in French Cultural Studies (2009); and "Marking out the Maures: Henri-Edmond Cross on the Côte d’Azur, c.1891-1910," in a special issue of Nottingham French Studies (2011), which she co-edited with Nicholas Hewitt.

Identifiers (Article)


This article explores neo-impressionist representations of the Maures region (Hyères-St Raphaël) of the Côte d'Azur as an ideal space of anarcho-communist liberty or, to borrow from Jean Grave's Terre Libre: Les Pionniers (1908), a "free land." In doing so it questions art-historical literature of such images as utopian, with its implication of geographic non-specificity, through analyses of anarcho-communist and geographical texts and images. Tropical markers, especially palm trees, feature in Grave's vision of a "free land," corresponding to perceptions by contemporaneous artists, tourists and geographers of the exotic, island-like geography of the Maures. The article argues that, for Henri-Edmond Cross, Paul Signac and Théo van Rysselberghe, the Maures landscape was imaged and imagined as a sunlit terre libreon home soil, naturally suited to these self-styled pioneers.


neo-impressionism, the Maures, Côte d'Azur, artist colony, anarcho-communism, Melanesia, Jean Grave, Mabel Holland Thomas, sunlight, Henri Edmond Cross, Theo Rysselberghe