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Gérôme & Muenier: A French Village’s Painters’ Trail

June 25, 2024
A landscape of a bridge crossing a small river in winter by Jules-Alexis Muenier

Coulevon Looking Towards Vesoul by Jules-Alexis Muenier

In a significant addition to the area’s cultural landscape, the eastern French village of Coulevon has inaugurated a new painters’ trail to honor some of the area’s most esteemed artists. The trail consists of ten panels scattered around the village that educate the public about the lives and works of the area’s two most prominent artists: Jean-Léon Gérôme and Jules-Alexis Muenier. This trail was set up to coincide with Gérôme’s two-hundredth birthday.

a sign with the painting on it


Gérôme, the more well-known of the two, was born in Vesoul, the main town of the Haute-Saône department. Muenier was also from Vesoul, going off to Paris in 1881 to study under Gérôme at the École des Beaux-Arts. At the time, Gérôme was one of Europe’s most famous and popular academic painters, known for his historical paintings and Orientalist works. On top of his teaching position, Gérôme also had a studio in the western suburbs of Paris and a country house in Coulevon, two miles away from his birthplace. Gérôme, wishing to remain in Paris permanently, decided to sell the house in 1885 to his former student, Muenier. Muenier would remain in Coulevon for most of his artistic career, gaining success painting scenes of country life in the area. His first Salon success came in 1887 with his painting Le Bréviaire.

an image of the sign that was created


As part of the new painter’s trail, one of the panels includes a Muenier painting accompanying the text. This painting is Coulevon Looking Towards Vesoul, which Rehs Galleries bought and sold back in 1996. The painting’s subject, a snowy country bridge, still stands today, with the painters’ trail panel placed just to the side of it. The bridge spans a small river called Le Bâtard, connecting Coulevon to Vesoul’s Les Rêpes district. The panels were unveiled this past weekend, with representatives from local cultural and artistic associations present. Nicolas Muenier, the artist’s grandson, was also in attendance. The mayor of Vesoul, Alain Chrétien, remarked that the area’s residents are lucky that “the paintings of Gérôme and Muenier are all around us since they preserve these landscapes.”