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BIG (TOURISTIC) FRANCE
(La France Gonflée)

© 2007 Darrell Taylor        All rights reserved.

The image above is another digital "collage" of several hundred individual pictures and picture fragments. I spent a couple months constructing it in Photoshop CS2. The original image file weighs in at over a gigabyte--18,000 pixels wide, by 7,800 pixels in height. Printed at 300 dpi, the picture is 60 inches wide. I have halved the dimensions for web display.

I started making these collages in imaging software then available in the early '90s, and my first website in 1995 included several that I had constructed a few pixels at a time. Today's imaging software and storage capacities make working with these much larger images feasible.

This picture is devoted to France--my travels and memories. It contains hundreds of "characters"--most actual, some fragments of French works of art--all placed in a "heroic" landscape/citiscape. As with my former large photomontages, there are "secrets" built into the image, most visible only at higher magnification for those with patience to explore. With the exception of a few pictures of me (taken by F.) and the artwork fragments stolen from the artists listed below (which take up less than 1% of the collage), all photos used in this collage were taken by me in France on various trips in the last ten years.

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If you'd like to play "Where's Waldo?", here's a complete list of the works by French artists that I have pasted into the composition--to give the impression of being able to visit these masterworks as an ordinary part of the passing French scene. I'm often struck while traveling with the fact that France, and the French look like the realist artists' works--works that when young I'd thought were highly imaginative and beautiful distortions. (Same goes for Dutch interiors in Dutch paintings, Venetian skies in Italian paintings, and so on). This allows many of the fragments used to slip "seamlessly" into the collage --though perhaps not Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon, etc.!


Manet, Déjeuner sur l'herbe
Van Gogh, Field with Crows
Millet, The Gleaners
Van Gogh, L'Église
Rodin, Eternal Idol
Rousseau, The Dream
Picasso, Portrait of a Girl (title?)
Van Gogh, Sunflowers
David, Death of Marat
Manet, The Execution of Maximillian
Picasso, The Lovers
Matisse, Harmony in Red
Balthus, Nude With Arms Raised
Picasso, Two Women Running on the Beach
Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People
Gauguin, Two Tahitian Women on the Beach
Manet, Olympia
Manet, Fifer
Ingres, The Source
Ingres, The Turkish Bath
Van Gogh, Work Boats (title?)
Cézanne, Les Joueurs de Cartes
Van Gogh, Self-Portrait
Cézanne, The Bather
Rodin, L'Age de bronze
Van Gogh, L'Arlésienne
Matisse, La Danse
Brancusi, The Kiss
Picasso, Pierreuse
Ingres, Grand Odalisque
Matisse, Mme. Matisse: Madras Rouge
Dégas, Classe Danse
Morisot, Reading
Manet, Guitarist
Manet, Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets
Picasso, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon
David, Napoleon I
Balthus, Thérèse rêvant
Manet, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère
Gauguin, Spirit of the Dead Watching
Degas, The Absinthe Drinkers
Saint-Phalle, Black Venus
Saint-Phalle, Sun God
Ingres, Odalisque and Slave
Balthus, Alice
Cocteau, Self-Portrait
Unknown, Poster of B. Bardot
Duchamps, Large Glass
De Staël, Poster for Beaubourg exhibition
Note: The curious inclusion of the photo of Brigitte Bardot in the foreground is due to the fact that the second movie I ever saw in my life was Vadim's "And God Created Woman", starring Bardot (1956). I was 20 years old at the time, and she made the expected erotic impression, while fixing forever in my private mythos an image of France as a sensual paradise of good food and wine, good sex, beautiful people, and personal freedom. I had sneaked away from my college dorm to Indianapolis to indulge my curiosity anonymously. I should also acknowledge the work of Escher, who gave me the idea of constructing the "impossible" architecture of the left-side ruins.

Copyright © 2007   -   Darrell Taylor