Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Patrick Poivre de la Freta, my sculpture teacher - mentor - coach

I committed to talk a little about him before year end, so here it is.

Male love was his oxygen, .............  A real artist, in many directions. As a painter he opened two galleries in France - Brittany and St Paul de Vence. He mastered silk painting, for Givenchy and others. Had several 'periods' in his painting career, such as abstract, onirism, surrealism, lyric expression, figurative. He was a student of Salvador Dali in Paris. Also active as a writer, as a sculptor, creating furniture design, numerous frescoes and trompe-l'œil, as well as a wall mosaic like the one below in a bathroom (private collection).



Patrick was my sculpture mentor and coach, and I will forever be grateful for the time spent with him, receiving his guidance and encouragements to pursue and develop my sculpture work.

I was regularly bringing to his studio my work in progress, to spend a few hours while he was painting or drawing or writing, and checking from time to time my clay or stone work, showing me how to better express a neck move, insisting on the tension to be shown to be more expressive, and even to dare do large cuts! As an example, below is one of my sculptures in his painting studio.

I would not sculpt during almost my full -available- time today if I had not met him.
So, thank you, Patrick !

The photo below shows Patrick in his home and studio, taken after lunch and some flavoured rhums... together with Eric, one of his models for the major sculpture project, the Ignudi


Below is one of Patrick's 20 Ignudi waterlocors, choosen for Pascal's pose.


The next 3 photos were taken during one of the photo shootings, showing Pascal then Eric, posing under Patrick guidance for 2 of the Ignudi planned sculptures (pictures of models are published with the models' approval - all rights reserved).


Patrick last project : to sculpt the 20 ignudi from the Sistine Chapel!

Michelangelo painted Chapel Sistine ceiling during four years (between 1508 & 1512) at the commission of Pope Julius II. Initially he refused to do it, as he considered himself more of a sculptor than painter (and we will see in future posts some sculpting masterpieces of nude male sculptures from him). But forced to do it, he negotiated to get a total freedom for this giant work.

"The Ignudi are the 20 athletic, nude males that Michelangelo painted as supporting figures at each corner of the five smaller narrative scenes that run along the centre of the ceiling. The figures hold or are draped with or lean on a variety of items which include pink ribbons, green bolsters and enormous garlands of acorns." ...        "Their painting demonstrates, more than any other figures on the ceiling, Michelangelo's mastery of anatomy and foreshortening and his enormous powers of invention." (source Wikipédia).

These 20 «ignudi» have been with Patrick for many years, as he started with a serie of watercolors called 'The Sistine Chapel revisited' from the early 90s.  Then he wanted to include them in his next adventure!

Indeed, aged 65, Patrick envisioned his latest artistic challenge, in sculpture. He felt that, maybe, Michelangelo would have loved to sculpt these 20 nude sitting men. Patrick's contemporary 'twist' was to take models living or visiting regularly St Martin, to add a contemporary item linked to the model, and a body pose matching fully the Michelangelo characters. Below one of the character in clay, and a detail of his first bronze.

Patrick planned to do all these sculptures in 2010-2011. But unfortunately a sudden unexpected cancer stopped him in March 2012.

                                                                                                               Photo Jean-Marc Riva.

Tropismes Gallery, and Art Lovers

Patrick was a co-founder of Tropismes Gallery, in Grand Case, together with Paul Elliot and Nathalie Lepine, gallery which displays contemporary art pieces from local and international artists.
During 3 years, he also acted as secretary of Art Lovers Association, founded by Denis Thuleau, which promotes the St Martin island's artists and organizes each year the Art Lovers weekend, during which most of artists' studios are open to the public.

Some highlights 

Born in Paris in 1944, he won a few prizes in poetry during his youth and started to paint. He spent 2 years in the French navy (theme which can be seen in many of his paintings), and opened his first gallery in Brittany at age 33. He was a student of Salvador Dali. Then opened his second gallery in St Paul de Vence. Many personal exhibitions in France, Los Angeles, Brussels, Munchen, Chiraz Persépolis Festival (Iran), Montréal, Ottawa, Chicago, Caribbean islands. Moved to St Martin in 1997. Patrick's legacy for all image rights from his paintings, drawings and works in general has been given to Yves Carteau, photographer.