Chemin de la Mer à Antibes


It is an enigmatic, surreal scene. Two-thirds of the canvas is filled by the dark green foliage of a tree hanging over to the right. This is mirrored on the right-hand side by a thick pole leaning to the left, with cables that are just visible through the leaves. A man on a wooden stepladder is trimming a conifer into the shape of a cone. The brightly lit white area in the centre is the most puzzling: in it stands a second figure, with his back to us, without feet, as if he is standing in water. A path probably runs through it, as we so often see in Alexandrine’s paintings. The backlight highlights the suspended foliage in dark contrast against the sky. The two figures have no contact, both existing in their own world. The culture-lover versus the admirer of unspoiled nature, or more prosaically, a white settler and a black gardener?
See: Smolders, F., e.a.; Solitary Creations. 51 Artists out of De Stadshof Collection, Eindhoven 2014.

It has unjustifiably been thougt that Alexandrine was inspired by Henri Rousseau. At the beginning of her career, however, she had not even heard of him and drew her inspiration from her own experience. In a sense her pictures are more real than the Douanier’s, who never saw a jungle. The past and present are intermingled in her works, in which gorgeous blue-green nuances create an effect of melancholy. Her themes are for the most part her youth in Indonesia, the landscapes of southern France and Paris.

from: Bihalji-Merin, Oto; World Encyclopedia of Naive Art, Belgrade 1984, pp. 93-94.