At the age of fourteen, Paule Marrot was given art lessons by a family friend and her quick progress lead her directly to the school of the Decorative Arts. After a few months, the quality of her work took her into the superior division, where Eugene Morand was teaching, he was known to raise the mind to the intelligence of the art. She remembered the lessons of Dusouchet fondly, for they instilled, with a charming oratory, the rules of the composition and the technique of engraving.
One day, with much courage she presented herself to Renoir, who lived in a house facing her aunt’s house in Cagnes. She was spellbound by the master's extraordinarily scrutinizing eye and under this terrifying eye she unpacked her small paintings of novice: an orange and some flowers. Renoir stayed morose. Then as she showed her drawings and sketches, the big man smiled and spoke with sweetness. He let her come back and each time he gave her wisdom, precious and encouraging that remained in her memory for ever.
In 1920, the seventeen year old Paule Marrot left the school of the Decorative Arts to deepen her knowledge of engraving on wood and linoleum. At this time, Maurice Denis and Georges Desvallière directed a workshop, that they had founded under the sign of the Sacred art, in Furstenberg. Paule asked to work there and was received like a student. She adjusted her capacities to fit perfectly the nature of the teaching, and then became a professor of engraving. She was proud to take her place at the table next to her Masters during the meals and I was a great pleasure to hear them calling her with a smile, ‘colleague’. Two years later she left the Sacred Art and started to live the ‘hard life’ of an artist, here and there, this and that, religious pictures for Rouarts, aquarelle and paintings for merchants, etc. Soon, she started printing on cotton fabrics in her room. One of these first prints she titled Mignone allons voir si la rose…
In 1928, the Blumenthal price was given to her on a consignment of models and tips of printed fabrics. Her work was described as disparate, ‘pas à la mode’ but somewhat removed from influences of painting. Paule soon found herself in Batignolles the birthplace of her handicraft at the small manufacturing boutique of the Rue Truffaut. The friends met in the middle of the freshly painted percales. It was a happy center of labor, where in the hope of a spiritual effervescence, new relationships began.
The destiny that printed the colorful smiles on the plot of Paule Marrot‘s life, brought also a moment of panic that peaked, when an industrialist declared that a factory in Alsace, in the city of Ribeauvillé, waited for her cardboards to start producing their subtle prints with powerful means. If found pleasing to the windows of the whole world, they were to be fixed to the indanthrene the stain (immutable to winds, rains, lightning, centuries, moon, sun, stars, etc) on endless strips of cloths.
It was only 1933 when she decided to leave to Ribeauvillé, and the big adventure began for the young artist. In Colmar, Jean Schlumberger waited for her, he showed her the factory, she was surprised and excited by the perfect organization of the factory and the beauty of the numerous machines. All stages of the artisan work that she had done empirically had led to good. Collaboration was proposed to her officially, but Paule Marrot didn’t have a penny, so she felt more than ever rich with projects and ideas. Jean Schlumberger was conscious of the luck that was offered to him, so he proposed that Paule Marrot engrave on his expenses, with her designs, and provided her with fabrics.
In the best technical requirements on a fine percale, the first fabric printed was L’arbre. Followed by Mon oncle Emile , Le chat, La belette et le petit lapin, Voici des fruits, des fleurs... and the customers were delighted… The mill of Ribeauvillé was pleasing to Paule, who always liked life in the country and drew her essential inspiration from there.
On the cotton fabrics of Paule Marrot, were printed the songs that have no end. They proposed beautiful pictures of symbolic intention and real appearance. The author's secret was to seize the shape that oscillated between the synthesis and the reality.
The author's constant aspirations maintained the fundamental unit of expression, while the different themes caused the variations of style and composition. The mind of the themes ordered the arrangements in streaks, strips, quincunxes, harlequinades, paving, overlapping, arabesque, labyrinths, rains of motives, whirlwinds, etc.
It is cool living, petulant; the branches, the reeds move; it seems to swarm of whispers, of screams, of chirps along the extents of ponds, forests, hedges or groves. Of big bouquets of wild flowers, of the squirrels, the parrots, the fruits, the sheaves of gladioli, of the pipes, the caravels, the crocks, the doves order themselves in free corteges in the universe of percale that is assigned to them.
The colors pulled from the rainbow of Paule Marrot, in poetics register from the mauve shade to the quick red of the zinnia, adjust the tones of the ambiance: melancholy, beautiful life, triumph of the solar illuminations... There are funds of color, there is an atmosphere of feelings. Often the tones vary and the same design is played with different chords.
The percales of Paule Marrot, participate as a kind of decorative echo of the fables of The Fountain and Florian, most likely pleasing to Clara d’Ellébeuse, to Adélaïde d’Etremont, to Francis James, penetrating homes with a grace, bringing with them comfort in a friendly way.
This canvas that is printed in the memory of Lebasque is named Nono au Cannet. Les Pommiers is the testimony of admiration to Gauguin; Du côté de chez Swann is a reverence made to Proust.
Paule Marrot renovated the art of the printed fabric: she gave it a perfect style in harmony with the aesthetic conceptions of our time. As a painter, she learned, experienced, the expressive value of the colors and understood that their intensity, their oppositions sometimes create some bursts of the dissonant or vulgar, whereas some rapport, subtly studied, emanate a harmony of straightforward and just tonalities that recover, with happiness, the same of nature. All the flowers of the gardens, the prairies and woods, the fruits, the leaves, the herbs and even the trees’ branch are ‘figurées’ with primitive's fidelity, but chosen and assembled with the demanding science of the painter and the colorist.
If she seemed to have given herself the most modest part, it was to show well, by multiple examples, the role that she always wanted to reserve to her fabrics, the interior decoration. A material decorated, confides to us Paule Marrot, must be cheerful but not ‘tapageuse’; it must contribute to the charm of the home while keeping certain discretion.
When Mireille Storck was a teenager, the dining room of her parents was decorated with the curtains Les Pommiers, the tablecloths were baptized with names like Bouquets de Muguet, Boutons d’Or, Clématites. Paule Marrot was everywhere.
A cordial and cheerful ambiance emanated from these fabrics, it was spring in our house all year round. Naturally, Mireille was more than interested in the acquirement of the collection Paule Marrot. In 2002, she could finally take part in this marvelous universe that always made up her dreams. Mireille is French and lives close to Colmar, where Paule Marrot had her wonderful fabrics printed. What a nice chance for her, to be able to let the designs and work of Paule Marrot continue to bloom in Alsace, cradle of the printing on fabrics.