What is it about the French artists I represent which is quintessentially French? This is a question I am frequently asked.
All artists I work with are chosen for their mastery of technique and integrity of vision. The craft element of making art almost runs counter to the accepted art school norm these days. Young people arrive at art school thinking they are already artists and do not need to be taught anything, certainly not such ‘difficult’ disciplines as drawing, composition or modelling. In France, there exists a strong artistic tradition which runs counter to the prevailing art officiel view.
My French artists come from a figurative and representational tradition. It is this counter culture which I find to be essentially French. To hold on to figuration and representation, even moving from this foundation to semi-abstracted landscapes, is indeed revolutionary given contemporary conditions.
All the featured painters and sculptors have fought passionately to maintain the craftsmanship and discipline of this tradition. For example, the sculptor Jean-Claude Mathieu traces his heritage directly to Rodin. His tutors, Léopold Kretz and Charles Auffret, were taught by artists from Rodin’s atelier. There has been no rupture in this tradition. It has always existed.
Much of contemporary art is made by people who are merely amusing themselves; it can be fun, shocking and eye-catching, but it lacks something essential. However, my French and English artists are serious down to their soul — perhaps because they create from their soul.