The Coup de Mistral

The "Coup de Mistral ©" by Santons Fouque


The santon emblem of the Maison Fouque and masterpiece of the Art of Santon, the "Coup de Mistral ©" was born, in 1952, the observation by Paul Fouque of a shepherd advancing with difficulty in the wind.

Its creator, lover of Provence, took up the challenge to integrate the Mistral, the impression of movement and breath in a santon. The original sculpture was modeled directly in pure clay. Then, in a second time, the work was broken down into fifteen different pieces, from which were made the mother molds, then the son molds necessary for the reproduction of the santon in several almost identical copies.

Of course, each copy is unique and entirely made and painted with oil painting by hand. More than 14 molds are thus needed to make, from pure clay, the different pieces (face, arm, cape ...) which, assembled with the slip (liquid clay), will constitute the famous "Coup de Mistral ©". The santon is then placed in a hot and humid cellar with constant hydrometry where it is kept upright by wedges of wood or clay. This drying period, approximately two months, guarantees the removal of 8 to 9% of water as slowly as possible to avoid the risk of cracking. After a few days out in the open, the santon is gradually cooked, up to 960 degrees, then slowly cooled in the oven for 48 hours. Finally, the santon is painted with a brush, color after color. The oil painting used, similar to that of the old paintings, guarantees the almost eternity of the santon.

The famous shepherd has become one of the main characters of the Nativity scene and a piece collection exhibited in museums around the world. In 2012, Maison Fouque celebrates the jubilee of the creation of "Renaude", whose model was created in 1962.

The "Coup de Mistral ©" is an exclusive creation of Maison Fouque. It is deposited at the I.N.P.I and issued hallmarked and accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. It exists in several sizes, from 2 cm to 50 cm.

Renaude and The Coup de Mistral ©: A beautiful love story!

If the "Coup de Mistral" © and Renaude his companion are unanimously considered as the two masterpieces of the art of the santon, they are also the two characters of one of the most beautiful love stories written in Provence. Its author is none other than Paul Fouque who knew how to immortalize them in the clay so that their memory and their most beautiful love story will be perpetuated.

"Once upon a time there was a shepherd, whom Paul Fouque called" Le Coup de Mistral "because he often saw him moving with difficulty against the bursts of the mistral, with his stick for support and his floating cape In the wind.
At the age of twenty, this shepherd, whose real name was Jean-Baptiste, fell in love with a young Arlesian, pretty and intelligent, named Renaude. Cupid did well because the beautiful girl also fell in love with her suitor. Until then, it could have made a very beautiful marriage.

But here, Renaude was the daughter of the owner of a large farmhouse in the plain of La Crau and Jean Baptiste was none other than one of the 50 shepherds employed in this farmhouse to take care of his huge flock. The rich landowner had many other ambitions for his only daughter than this poor shepherd among many others. Renaude was cultivated, "she had letters" as they used to say in Provence and had a consequent dote that attracted the suitors. But in the face of Renaude's love for his beloved shepherd, the father could do nothing and resigned himself by saying to his daughter, "Listen to Renaude, if you love him, marry him, but then you must do it in secret. , so that people do not know it! ".

Thus, after being married discreetly by the priest of the village, Renaude and Jean-Baptiste both left to settle in a modest hut La Crau. Thus began a long and beautiful love story. Jean-Baptiste continued to work as a shepherd until the end of his life and Renaude often joined him in the pastures with his basket at lunchtime. Sometimes they came to Aix-en-Provence with their horse-drawn cart to go to the market of Sainte-Barbe (December 4) and to attend the feast of kings on January 6. They were happy, and as proof of his love, Renaude sewn on each of Jean-Baptiste's trousers a piece of his most beautiful floral dress.

That's why Le Coup de Mistral Always wear pants patched at the knee with floral fabric. And keep an eye on it, because still today, the legend tells Renaude and Jean-Baptiste still love each other and that the days of grand mistral it is not rare to see them, side by side, cross the plain of La Crau ".

REPRODUCTION AND APPEAL PROHIBITED: Any model of a similar appellation or similar can only be a copy made to induce collectors and customers in error, concerning this santon of international renown