La Belle Époque

2016 Oil on Italian Linen 140x168cm

It was the Beautiful Era. Before they stuffed it up again with another war.

Buoyed by income from industrialisation and empire and not yet restricted by labour laws which would mandate fair wages and conditions, in the period between the Franco-Prussian War and WWI, Europe was awash with cash. And they spent it on shiny things. World Expo’s every few years, the Eiffel Tower, monumental buildings - and lots and lots of art.  

Sculpted in 1882 by Jules Blanchard for the forecourt of Paris’ L’Hôtel de Ville and directly symbolising science, art and architecture, she exemplified of hope and possibilities of the era. She was the “belle” of her day.

And then there is now - quite possibly a new golden age, with more artists practicing right now than in any period in human history. Including the street taggers, for whom all previous art and architecture is simply blank canvas.