Blue Devil Art
As a filmmaker and artist Revere La Noue builds bridges through his storytelling. The BLUE DEVIL, ALPINE GOTHIC project is full of bridges: art to sports, 20th century to 21st century, military tradition to collegiate tradition, folklore to history, France to the United States. In 2009, when he relocated to Durham from New York, La Noue first had the idea of trying to link the Duke University tradition with the Chasseurs Alpins in a meaningful way and it has been a textured and winding project from the outset.
The Story of the Blue Devils
The original Blue Devils were an elite French military unit that fought in the Black Forest and Alps in WWI. Notorious for their resourceful fighting style, the Chasseurs Alpins were dubbed “Blau Tuefel” by their German enemies, Diables Bleus in French or Blue Devils. Their innovative tactics, unrelenting courage, and distinctive attire became legendary in France and ultimately in the United States. In efforts to help Uncle Sam sell war bonds, veteran Blue Devils crossed the Atlantic. Vast crowds cheered as the French Soldiers paraded through New York, Chicago, and the White House. The major newspapers recounted their war stories bullet by bullet. Duke students were looking for a mascot with dark blue color as stories of the Chasseurs Alpins made their way from the Alps to Durham, North Carolina. Although it was not immediately accepted, Duke University officially embraced the Blue Devil nickname in mid 1920’s.
The Artistic Process
I have spent almost five years putting this project together, researching, studying, sketching, drawing, drafting, painting, repainting and printmaking, but in some ways it’s been building for decades.
In 1986, at age 10, I spent a year living in France when my parents were on sabbatical in Alsace, a strategic focal point and recruiting area for the Blue Devils. In 1996, I spent a year in the Loire Valley studying French politics, military history and art. During that time, I was also able to jump on a train and visit the work of the great French painters from the WWI era. In 2010, I studied landscape painting in the South of France not far from the Pyrenees, another recruiting and training territory for the Blue Devils. In 2012, I moved my studio and exhibition space to Main Street in Durham, North Carolina, less than a mile from Duke’s campus (another Blue Devil training center).
Inspired by French impressionism, figurative drawing and the gothic architecture of Duke’s campus, The Original Blue Devils, Alpine Gothic is a collection of artwork that reflects a time of great valor in military history, the distinguished Duke tradition and an artistic synthesis for me.
Revere La Noue August 2012
There are a limited number of prints and a few pieces of original art work from the Alpine Gothic series for sale. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more.
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