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Bernard Chauchet French Contemporary Masters 2014 Review

A wave of nostalgia washed over our team at Latest Sale on the way to the Bernard Chauchet Gallery on the evening of February 5, 2014. We were instantly transported back to la Rue Auguste Comte, an iconic, gallery-ridden street in the heart of Lyon, France where many a night could be spent attending similar openings and consequently developing a profound appreciation for all that is art. Images courtesy of Bernard Chauchet Gallery

The intimate gallery, set in a quiet, residential area of Chelsea, had been engulfed by a sea of Francophones that spilled out through the door and onto the streets. The hum of guests engaged in riveting discussions about the array of Impressionistic landscapes, mixed media Pop Art pieces and Abstract portraits displayed as part of the French Contemporary Masters exhibition 2014 filled the neighbourhood with joviality and dynamism.

 

Artist: Philippe Pradalié
Title: Mas Rouge
Material: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 97cm x 130cm

This exhibition, however, was no ordinary art exhibition. The French Contemporary Masters show is the first of its kind, owing its patronage to none other than the French Ambassador to the United Kingdom, M. Bernard Emié, whom we had the pleasure of meeting that evening. The goal of the exhibition is to promote French cultural identity and disseminate contemporary French art on an international scale, and where better to start than London?

The gallery and Embassy, together, did an excellent job of curating the exhibition, displaying an array of young, up-and-coming artists such as Olivier Camen, Eric Pradalié and Topolino (a nickname that we learnt means ‘Mickey Mouse’ in Italian!) with well-established artists Jean le Gac and Philippe Pradalié, a personal favourite.

 

Artist: Philippe Pradalié
Title: Calipso passes in front of the Pic St Lou        
Material: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 65cm x 100cm

 

Philippe Pradalié’s impressionistic French landscapes are representative of the typical ‘Chauchet style.’ However, his muted colour palette and absence of human activity instill in the viewer with a paradoxical feeling, one of serenity and longing to escape urban living mixed with one of utter isolation. On the other end of the spectrum, we have Olivier Camen who literally embroiders his printed canvases with textiles and threads, adding a modern, playful twist to old Hollywood starlets and Pop icons.

 

Artist: Philippe Pradalié 
Title: Mazets Boularan et Chazottes
Material: oil on canvas 
Dimensions: 65cm x 92 cm

 

Overall, there is an excellent effort on the part of the Bernard Chauchet Gallery and the French Embassy to display the vast artistic diversity and innovation that France has to offer. The French have always impacted the international art world in countless ways, and if this exhibit is an indication, their reigning influence will not diminish any time soon.

 

Artist: Philippe Pradalié 
Title: Vic La Gardiolle
Material: oil on canvas
Dimensions: 114cm x 162cm