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Things to do in the Languedoc:   Cultural Activities:   Art and Artists:   Contemporary Artists

 

 

Well known contemporary Languedoc artists: click on any of the names below for more information and samples of their work. (Click here for Historic Artists and Art Festivals)

Pierre Soulages (1919 - )
Vincent Bioulès (1938 - )
Manolo Valdés (1942 - )
Vanilla Beer (1950 - )
Catherine Mascrès (1954 - )
Anthony Murphy (1956 - )
Hervé Di Rosa (1959 - )
Ellie Clemens
Paul Davison
Simon Fletcher
Deev Vanorbeek
Danielle Eubank
Allison Carmichael

 


Prehistoric Art in the Languedoc-Roussillon

Art has long been practiced in what is now the South of France. There are some 200 cave paintings currently known that date from prehistoric times.

 

 

 
Cave paintings at Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc in the Ardèche to the north of the Languedoc date from (30,000 - 25,000 years ago


Pierre Soulages

Soulages, who creates works of art sculpted with a knife. Pierre Soulages was born in Rodez, Aveyron in the South of France in 1919.

At the age of 18 Soulages traveled to Paris, where he visited museums and was fascinated by the artists Pablo Picasso and Paul Cézanne. In 1941 he was drafted into the army; his regiment was located in Montpellier (in the Hérault département), where he attended the École des Beaux-Arts. There he also became acquainted with the abstract artist Sonia Delaunay.

From 1946 he maintained a studio in Courbevoie near Paris and established contact with artists such as Domela, Picabia, Hartung and Léger. In the following year his pictures were exhibited publicly for the first time. In Paris he designed several stage sets between 1949 and 1952. Along with trips to Mexico and the USA, his visit to Japan in 1958 took on special significance. Early impressions of his country's austere Romanesque architecture and Celtic monuments as well as the later influence of East Asian calligraphy dominated his paintings with their black and brown beam fonts on light coloured bases.

In his later works Soulages used flat rubber spatulas or roll brushes as painting utensils, which influenced the aesthetic effect of his bulky works. As an important representative of the Ecole de Paris and informel art, Soulages was repeatedly represented at the documenta in the 50s and 60s. In the following years he received numerous international art awards, including the 'Rembrandt Award' in Germany in 1976 and the 'Great National Award for Painting' in Paris in 1987. In 1994 he was honoured in Japan with the 'Praemium Imperiale' for painting.

The execution of the 104 stained-glass windows for Conques abbey, the designs for which he had already begun in 1987, was completed in 1994. Pierre Soulages lives and works in Sète and Paris.

 

 
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Vincent Bioulès

Vincent Bioulès was born in 1938 in Montpellier in the Hérault département, where he now lives and works. He began his early painting career with traditional paintings of countryside based on a particular theme such as an oak tree, light, the sky.

From 1967 to 1982 he worked at the Aix School of Art. In the 1960s, his work became abstract following the fashion of the day, during which time he joined the geometrically abstract Support, Surface movement which emerged in Nice in 1969. This movement existed from 1967 to 1974 and consisted of a group of French artists who sought to "liberate abstract art’s practice from the tyranny of taste, the banality of Expressionism, the sentimentality of late Surrealism and the purity of Art Concrete."

During the 70s, he made a decision to leave the abstract behind and return to figurative art. Since 1976, he has tackled all the major themes of painting: landscapes, interiors, portraits and nudes. He rounded up his teaching career at the Paris Beaux-Arts academy in October 1999, and has exhibited iinternationally.

His exhibition at the Céret Musée d’Art features around 80 selected works from 1966 to present day, including paintings conceived during a stay in Céret, and mirrors his reflection on scenery, space and the themes that have occupied him as an artist during his life.

 

 

 
Le chemin de St Jacques
Painting, Oil/canvas


Manolo Valdés

Manolo Valdés works in drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking. In each medium he is skilled, original, and provocative. Born in Valencia, Spain in 1942, he began his training as a painter at the age of 15 when he entered the Fine Arts Academy of San Carlos, Valencia.

In 1964 Valdés, Rafael Solbes, and Joan Toledo collaborated to form Equipo Crónica, an artistic team that used Pop Art to question the Spanish dictatorship of Franco.

After the group dissolved in 1981, Valdés reinvented himself. He drew heavily upon Spanish artistic heritage, particularly the work of Velázquez and the informalismo of his immediate predecessors Manolo Millares, Antonio Saura, and Antoni Tàpies.

Today Valdés lives and works in New York and Madrid.

 

 
Manolo Valdés (1942 - )
Perfil
Oil on canvas. 187 x 187 cm 73.6 x 73.6 In.
Private collection Barcelona


Hervé Di Rosa

Born in Sète, in 1959, Hervé Di Rosa is a French artist who creates paintings, sculptures, installations, animation movies, and books, portraying a collection of improbable individuals, as shown on the right.

In France Di Rosa led the "Figuration Libre" with Combas, Blanchard and others.

His universe is filled with humour and excitement and his passion for kitsch "Art Modeste."

Di Rosa built a Museum dedicated to Modest Art in Sète.

He regularly exhibits internationally.

 

 
Hervé Di Rosa (Né en 1959) : « René Pirate »
Acrylique sur toile signée en bas à droite. Dim. 69 x 69 cm.


Vanilla Beer

Vanilla Beer Vanilla (Nilz) was born Sheffield, England in 1950. She is an established London artist now working in Espéraza in the Aude département.

Trained at Farnham, then Walthamstow in the UK, she taught part-time for 25 years in various colleges. She has exhibited world-wide - over 100 shows to date. She has published a book Prenez, Vivez & Mangez (in English & French) - a title which reflects her other great interest, Christian theology.

Her work includes series - generally oils - on fossils, relics, clay, nudes, war, Martinique, hidden and secret art and a successful original series on food generally incorporating a French saying or idiom (see example on the right). Beer has her own gallery in Espéraza  and regularly exhibits there and abroad. Her current work is concerned with food; "I paint what I eat and afix captions - a diary of sorts"

For more on Beer's's work visit www.vanillabeer.org

See also Der Volksstuhl

 

 
Vanilla Beer (1950 - )
Le Chapeau du Jour
(Hat of the Day)


Catherine Mascrès

Mascrès (1954 - ) was born in Charenton-le-Pont, today part of Paris. Under the influence of her parents, who both moved in artistic circles, she quickly developed a taste for art and literature. After a couple of years of working as an agricultural engineer in Montréal, Québec, she went to Africa where she was influenced by the local art. In 1993 Mascrès settled in the "Haute Vallee de l'Aude" in the Aude département

She has adopted the swinging movement from African and Hawaiian Dances, the symbolism of the Mayas and the Eskimos and the European tradition of painting and sculpture.

For more on Mascrès's work visit www.cath36.com/

 

 
Catherine Mascres (1954 - )
Série Orange


Anthony Murphy.

Anthony Murphy, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1956 of Anglo-Irish descent. After a career as a child actor and an English barrister, collecting an Emmy and an Oxford degree on the way, he has lived and worked near Carcassonne since 1992. He paints there in the Aude département and in his ancestral home country, Galway in Ireland.

He typically uses sombre colours in his paintings.

He exhibits regularly in Paris, London, Dublin and the USA.

For more on Murphy's work visit http://www.murphygallery.com/

 

 
Anthony Murphy (1956 - )
Vallée de l'Aude
Oil on canvas -
18" x 21¼" - 46 x 55 cm


Anthony Murphy (1956 - )
The Road To Montsegur (2007)
Oil on canvas
25½" x 32"


Ellie Clemens

Ellie Clemens is an American artist currently living in the South of France. She is originally from New England, where she has exhibited in galleries and shows and won a number of prizes. She has been awarded the status of "Distinguished Artist" by the Concord Art Association of Concord, Massachusetts.

She and her husband now live permanently in Espéraza, in the Aude département of the Languedoc-Roussillon. Her favorite subject is the landscape, and it is the vistas around her home in the Haute Vallée of the River Aude.

Her works go beyond a representation of landscape features simply as rocks, trees or fields. She treats these objects as areas of colour and shape, translating the landscape into vistas of colour and light, softness and brilliance, giving to the viewer a new perception of everyday scenes.

She has exhibitted in France and the US. She works mainly in acrylics and water colours.

Click on the following link for more about Ellie Clemens  

 

 
Ellie Clemens
Les Pins Parasols, Contre Le Soleil
(Parasol Pines against the Sky)
Acrylique/acrylic
50 cm x 50 cm (20 x 20 ")


Paul Davison

Paul Davison was born in Leeds, in the north of England. He always had the urge to draw and paint and I won a drawing competition at the age of nine.

Between 1984 and 1988 he did courses in Display and Exhibition Design at Jacob Kramer College of Art in Leeds and then Visual Information Design at Sunderland Polytechnic. There designed and made sculptures, models and interactive mechanical exhibits for exhibitions, museums and industry. Painting was always part of his work, and he continued to paint in watercolours in his spare time. At this time he painted landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales in northern England. He then painted in watercolours with great attention to detail.

He and his wife decided to head for a warmer climate to see if this would improve his health. This was the beginning of his path towards becoming a full-time landscape artist and oil painter.

He and his family have lived in the Languedoc region of southern France since 2001. They live in a little off-shoot of the Orb valley, surrounded by densely wooded hills and abandoned vineyards. Living in this very wild environment, he felt that he wanted to capture bold light effects and broad sweeps of vibrant colour. He felt drawn to paint in oils, although he had never done so before. It took him some time and experimentation until he began to get the palette and the sense of light and depth that he wanted.

He lives in the Parc, naturel, régional du Haut-Languedoc, where the hills and mountains of the High Languedoc lie at the southern most end of the Massif Central before the landscape suddenly flattens out to form the drier, vineyard covered plains that sweep down to the Mediterranean Sea, and the towns of Béziers and Narbonne. The Park, like the rest of the Languedoc, offers the artist not only a variety of landscapes but also an ever-changing spectacle of colour and light. He did not specifically move to the Languedoc to paint, but found it increasingly difficult to resist the urge to paint the wonderful things around me.

He says he is drawn to the villages of the Languedoc where “Jumbles of Medieval buildings huddle together on rocky hillsides or seem to loom from the top of high hills. They do not appear "built" but to have grown from the rock on which they sit. They can glower with greys and browns or glow golden or pink, depending on the light. These beautiful old villages are leading me to a new study of form, light and colour - yet another step in my immersion in art in the Languedoc”.

Click on the following link for more about Paul Davison and his Online Art gallery

 
Paul Davison
Le Vieux Puits
Oil on Canvass


Paul Davison
Vieussan en été
Oil on Canvass


Paul Davison
La Vendange en Famille
Oil on Canvass


Simon Fletcher

Simon Fletcher was born Birmingham, England, of Scottish, German and English descent. He attended St Albans, Watford and West Surrey Art Schools before graduating in 1971.

He has travelled in Europe Africa, the Middle East and India.

Moving to the South of France in 1982 to concentrate on painting, Simon Fletcher began developing his techniques in water colour and pastel. He has held exhibitions all over Europe, run workshops in both disciplines, and published a number of publications.

Click on the following link for more about Simon Fletcher  

 

 
Simon Fletcher
Château et Terrace
Watercolour


Simon Fletcher
Red Orchard
Watercolour


Deev (David) Vanorbeek

Deev Vanorbeek is a self taught sculptor specialising in spectacular large insects made in iron wire. He has exibited widely in Belgium and throughout France.

You will find examples of his work dotted around the Eastern part of the Midi. They are fascinating, disturbing and amusing according to taste.

Today, Deev is moving towards more abstract art.

Click on the following link for more about Deev Vanorbeek  

 

 

 

Deev Vanorbeek
Preying Mantis


Deev Vanorbeek
Fly


Danielle Eubank

Danielle Eubank is an oil painter from Occidental, a coastal town in Northern California.

She is best known for her undulating, ‘close up’ paintings of water that are remarkable for the way they capture the personality of the subject. Her work is modern, perhaps formalist, although it is rooted in figurative art. She holds a postgraduate degree in fine art from UCLA in Los Angeles and she has worked for some of the largest media corporations in the world including Microsoft and the BBC.

In her paintings of water, she uses reflections to enhance the composition and approach the subject of light. Her artistic vision has always been influenced by the intensely rich and varied landscape that surrounded her in her formative years in California. Her outlook and career have a strong international character and, from studios in London and Los Angeles, she travels the world to find the rich subject matter that characterizes her work, and has been attracted, like so many artists, by the light and landscapes of the Languedoc. She has painted extensively in the Aude département of the Languedoc-Roussillon.

In 2004 she was invited to participate in the international Borobudur Ship Expedition. As Expedition Artist, she travelled 10,000 miles with the replica 8th century Indonesian wooden boat from Indonesia to Seychelles, Madagascar, South Africa, and Ghana, painting and drawing. The boat was of a design based on stone relief carvings found on the Buddhist temple at Borobudur on the island of Java. The works she produced during this voyage (over 100 paintings and photographs) were presented at a solo exhibition held at Thompson’s Gallery in l London.

In 2005, a group of collectors sent Eubank to the island of Bali for 3 months to create a series of 20 paintings. Based in Ubud, a centre of traditional arts, she immersed herself in the local culture, people, seascape and artistic heritage of the island — all of which is celebrated in the work she created there.

The following year she painted the portrait of General Sir Peter de la Billiere that hangs in the foyer of the Naval and Military Club in London. In the same Spring, Thompson’s Gallery, London, hosted her second large solo show, with over 40 paintings.

Standard Chartered Bank commissioned Eubank to produce a portrait for its new headquarters in London. The painting will be part of an international travelling show before it is hung in the London office.

Eubank is the Expedition Artist for the Phoenician Ship Expedition 2008-2009. The replica 600BC ship will sail from the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal, around Africa and back into the Mediterranean. Then it will sail to London to be part of the British Museum exhibition about the ancient Phoenicians.

Click on the following link for more about Danielle Eubank  

 

 

 

Danielle Eubank
Red Boat, 2006
(A fishing boat in the Ancol marina, Jakarta, Indonesia,)
Oil on linen canvas 2006
42 x 42 inches

Danielle Eubank
St Ferriol, 2006
Oil on linen canvas
32 x 34


Danielle Eubank, 2004
Cape Town Waterfront 03
Oil on linen canvas 2004
38" x 38"

Allison Carmichael

Allison Carmichael's landscape paintings are inspired by the warmth and vitality of Southern France, with its unique vibrancy of colour. The South of France has long been a base for artists to explore the depth of colour in nature, from the terracotta earth, the rich variety of greens to the brilliant azure sky and the shining Mediterranean Sea.

Carmichael's portraits and figurative paintings are inspired by the percieved inherent goodness in people, the paintings depict the fairy, angel, madonna or pan that she believes is hidden within all of us.

More on Allison Carmichael

 
Allison Carmichael
Vineyard near Carcassone -
Acrylique sur toile / Acrylic on Canvas
81 x 101cm

 

Other contemporay artists include:

For a recommended site on art in the Aude département , with extensive links to many contemorary artists, click on the following external link to: Aude Culture Next.

 

 

In May each year an organisation called Artistes a Suivre…mounts a weekend exhibition spread over multiple locations in the Haute Vallée de l'Aude. Click here to vist their WebsiteNext.

 

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The Arcadian Shepherds  (Et in Arcadia Ego) by Poussin. Click here to see a larger version in a new window.
Art and Artists in the Languedoc