Antoine Blanchard was born in 1910 in a small village near Blois on the banks of the Loire, in a region of France known for its magnificent chateaus, mild climate and bright skies. The eldest of three children, he spent his early years in a peaceful, domestic atmosphere. Even as a young boy Blanchard was determined to become an artist and loved to paint scenes of his native village and surrounding countryside. Anxious to promote development and full flowering of his gifts, his parents sent him to Blois for drawing lessons. They then sent him to Rennes, the chief city of Brittany, to attend the classes of the Ecole des Beaux Arts. Three years of steady work there further developed his skills in drawing, so evident today in the accuracy of each line of his canvases.
In 1932 Antoine Blanchard left Rennes to attend the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. After four years there he had acquired such a mastery of technique that he was chosen to enter the competition for the important Prix de Rome. It was also at this time that Antoine Blanchard discovered a particular interest in painting scenes of the Parisian streets, the canvases that have merited his place in the affections of American and Canadian collectors, as well as those of England, Germany and his native France.
All these years Blanchard’s father had been a highly successful business man owning an important joinery business in the village where Antoine was born. His father took such pride in his son’s obvious talent and strong desire to develop in the painting field that Blanchard was allowed complete freedom from business ties. However, when his parents died, Blanchard was compelled to return to his little village and continue his father’s business. Consequently he had little free time to paint even for his own pleasure. But shortly after World War II he finally retired completely from business and moved his family to Paris. From that point on he devoted his time and energy to painting.
Imaginative artist, refined colorist in love with light, Antoine Blanchard possesses a remarkable skill for creating the atmosphere of a street scene. Though he was a contemporary artist, he painted the Paris of 1900 and through his paintings revives a period full of charm. His mastery of drawing results in compositions in which the architecture of the building is always faultless. He fills the streets and boulevards with human figures clad in the mode of 1900. The street lamps and lighted windows of the shops cast reflections on the streets, often shimmering with the moisture of rain or glistering with the whiteness of snow.
For Blanchard, Paris is an inexhaustible subject. The flower carts in the spring, the book stalls along the Seine, the Champs- Elysees filled with bustling crowds after a rain, street cafes with their brilliant glow of lights reflected in the street and silhouetting passersby, the famous and historic buildings- all furnish subjects for his brush. He employs rich color in muted resonances, brilliantly accented with touches of almost electric color in the skies or on the streets themselves. Antoine Blanchard is both artist and poet in developing his beautiful studies of Paris.