jeudi 26 mai 2011


 A Singerie is, according to french dictionnaries" a mural decoration, painting or tapestry whose main figures or subjects are monkeys". The most wellknown reference of this type of ornamentation is the Grande Singerie de Chantilly painted by the uncontested master of this specialty , Huet, and recently restaured .
It is full of humor and of the playfull irony that characterises our Louis XV style.
It is one of the most original expressions of a time period and of its mood. The theme itself and the distance and reflexion it implies on human behaviors and attitudes , but also the  technique used by the ornemanists of the time are evidences of their thought process and of the distance they could take on their own practice.

They are usually very well executed but also full of freedom and inventiveness...I have tried to keep this spirit alive in my copies or recreation of Singeries...

This is the first version of a singerie that I called the "The flute player"(casein on gessoed linen)

Second version...

...this one was painted on paper instead of gessoed canvas like the first two...

...last version at a slightly smaller scale.

First version of another singerie I also painted several times for different clients, this one is called "The Dancers"...

....another version on thick linen, lime based paint background and quite bigger ( 6 ft high)...

...detail of central motif...

...on paper...

"Singes musiciens" also quite big ...

...detail of central figures...

...ornament on the right side...

...and on the left.

This one was called "Le Marchand d'Orvietan",painted on paper glued up on canvas...


This one had no name and belonged a series of four ...

...casein on paper.

"Le singe au Violon"...

Here is a pair of singeries painted on silver wax over gesso,.

This one is called "Le Dresseur". It is painted with oils on  gessoed canvas glued up in a boiserie that was done by my friends from Elusio.

vendredi 20 mai 2011

Memories of Farnesina.

I have a fascination for Rome ( not very original, right). We visited Villa Farnesina twice , spend as much time as we could inside despite the heat of the roman summer and tried to take pictures despite the interdiction. Being a decorative painter I think all these frescoes are "my" heritage and I have a right to take pictures for my professional use and my growth as an art person.
A few years after a client called me for two panels in his home ...he wanted two female figures illustrating Summer and Autumn . I guess these were the periods of the year he preferred.
I worked in the studio and drove to his home , in Provence.

This was the end of February , the wind had been blowing hard for a few days , the sky was as transparent as crystal and the light as strong as it can get in those places, in the middle of the winter.

I had picked up two figures by Raphael, from the Villa Farnesina's gallery ceilings.
The house is one of these large estates where they had vineyards and olive groves. It was in state of total decay and got bought by some Provence lovers coming from german switzerland.
The interior is vast  and it still has the severe and rustic "grandeur" of these family homes.

We had brought the canvases rolled  up and mounted them on stretcher bars on site. We did in the backyard, under the sun, it took the whole afternoon.

I love all seasons but  I had a preference for the Autumn painting...

When we left the night had come but we had bright memories of this afternoon in Provence.

samedi 14 mai 2011

Objects in the sun.

It is really interesting to notice that most large classical compositions painted between the XVIth and XIXth century include a certain number of objects that either make perfect sense in the overall design or are simply used as ornamental elements in some lower corner in the foreground of the painting.
As a muralist, the painting of objects is a field you must try and improve in.
SoI sometimes paint objects and still lifes too.
Here are a few examples of such subjects.

"Classical" still lifes first.

"Black Bowl". Acrylic on board. 45x65cm.

"72%".Acrylic on board. 45x65cm.

This next one is quite different. I had done a whole series of these for some of my exhibitions at Maison & Objet in Paris. The design is different in the sense that there is no perspective at all and that the point is to create a more ornamental or decorative effect as opposed to the realism of the first two paintings.

"Cider Apple".Casein on canvas. 30x45cm.

But in fact I do do not think I am very much of a still life painter.
When I paint objects I need them to be related to a specific place.
This ,for example, was painted in the house where my wife was born.

"Small House".Acrylic on board. 65x45 cm.

And I also like when the objects are related to or located in some sort of landscape...

"A chair in Tuscany". Casein on canvas. 60x92cm.

...or even better for me,... when they are in the sun.

"Old Horses" Acrylic on board. 45x55cm.

"Tin PItcher1" Acrylic on board. 45x55cm.

"Tin pitcherII".Acrylic on board. 45x55cm.