Monday, August 09, 2010

New book by Norman Beaupré - The Man with the Easel of Horn - The Life and Works of Émile Friant

Press Release: August 2010

The author discovered one of Émile Friant’s paintings entitled, La Douleur, in the Philippe Claudel film, “I’ve Loved You So Long.” It’s a painting filled with realism and touching pain of a woman leaning over the open grave of a beloved one. Beaupré was so impressed by the painting that he decided to do research on the artist. This led him to the realization that very little had been written about Émile Friant. Much research had to be done on his life and paintings.

Émile Friant was born in the province of Alsace-Lorraine and later moved to Paris where he established his studio. His paintings are well known for their sense of realism, hence the title of “The Man With the Easel of Horn.” This reference was taken from Homer’s Odyssey.
This novel can be seen as a companion work to Beaupré’s recent publication on Van Gogh, The Boy With the Blue Cap. Both novels are based on the historical and aesthetic facts surrounding the lives of the two artists. Van Gogh is considered a post-impressionist, while Friant is a realist painter. Both experimented with new styles and subject matter. Although Friant is not as well known as Van Gogh, he is considered an important artist with a considerable artistic output. Beaupré has used his experience in the fine arts and his travels to world museums to fashion a novel that is both entertaining and informative, while maintaining the creative essence of the novel. The following elements are incorporated in this work: Friant’s many paintings well analyzed, the Parisian ateliers of his day, photography as a tool for painting, the Grand Salon of the 19th and the early 20th Centuries, the literary life of Friant’s times, the 1889 World’s Fair that introduced the Eiffel Tower, and the close relationship with the best French actor of his day, Bernard Coquelin, as well as the Franco-Prussian War and WWI. There are enough elements to make the novel lively and fascinating.

Moreover, we encounter a seduction scene on the part of a young woman, Mademoiselle de Vaucanson, a difficult friendship with an Italian connoisseur, Angelo Scarfieti, who tries to teach the artist the notion of sensuousness, the struggle with the concept of infinity on the part of the creative self in Émile Friant, and a professional relationship with the renowned artist, John Singer Sargent. This is a work of facts interwoven with imaginary happenings in the world of fine arts with Paris as its cultural epicenter. The local color of Alsace-Lorraine is well represented by its geography, food and recipes and a lifestyle only known in that region of France.

Norman Beaupré
has written and published twelve works, and this novel is his 13th work while he has already finished translating his very fist novel, Le Petit Mangeur de Fleurs, so that whoever does not read French will be able to read his most popular work, an autobiographical novel that was published in 1999 by Les Éditions JCL in Chicoutimi, Québec. Beaupré is Professor Emeritus at the University of New England and he was decorated by the French Government in 2008 with the medal of Officier des Arts et Lettres for his outstanding contribution to the French culture. He plans to visit Alsace-Lorraine in the near future.

For more information on Norman Beaupré, visit his website at


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