Biotopes and Ecotones: Slippery Images on the Edge of the French Atlantic
International Centre for Landscape and Language
Landscapes: the Journal of the International Centre for Landscape and Language
Looking outside canonical late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century modernist images of the French Atlantic coast, this essay examines usually discrete fields of landscape painting, botanical visual culture and nascent intertidal natural history to articulate an ecological realism of the ecotone. In a survey of peasant gleaning practices, popular natural science of the shore as well as amateur marine botany, the ecological visual literacy of viewers of this era is speculatively assembled. Works by artists such as Elodie La Villete, Charles Cottet, André Dauchez and Mathurin Méheut who lived long term on the coast are put into dialogue with the pressed images made by seaweed collectors and the industrial harvesting of geological and botanical resources of the shoreline.