“One day, while we were having dinner at the home of some wealthy friends overjoyed to have acquired a canvas by a renowned master. This very large oil on canvas sat in the middle of a vast white wall. No oil pigments, just white, white on white. A low-angled white light highlights some discreet dark white shape. The agility of the knife in this impasto is subtle and powerful. A lot of worldly debates could make the flutes tinkle on the creaking parquet floors of a Haussmann loft, but I feel like replacing that old poster above our sofa with a creation of my own.
What arrogance, what contempt for art, for beauty, am I really so short-sighted? The innocence of my early twenties and a few hundred hours spent tinkering in my grandfathers’ workshop are driving me up the wall. This weekend, I’m gluing. In the Normandy workshop, I made a frame and stretched a linen canvas that I was preparing.
Back in Paris, I took the plunge and found this extract from a painting by Léon Lhermitte, ‘La Paye des moissonneurs’ , which I sketched onto my canvas before painting it with a knife.
Being a clumsy right-handed newbie painter, my gesture was gawky and the result had no claim other than to add a little colour to our ochre wall. The painting suits our sofa. I forget about it, a few flattering or sympathetic friends rave about it. I thanked them, they encouraged me, even if I wasn’t fooled at the time that the road ahead would be long… very long.
As the years went by, I finally got bored of the painting and started to paint a picture of a young Cambodian monk whose portrait I had taken during a stay in Siem Reap. With only my daub to hand, I ventured to cover it in a dark green and brush out the relief left by the knife strokes. I liked the result, which we used to decorate our new living room in Singapore.
Years later, one evening when I came to see her because she had given me a magnificent painting of a faceless bard, which I keep with love, for my wedding, Chantal, whose work has thrilled me for years, said to me when I told her the story of my painting,“You never cover a painting“, which still torments me a little.
“Barde”, oil on wood by Chantal de la Boullaye-Billet
Today my daub rests gracefully under the monochrome Kesa of my appeased monk.”
Fabien Raveton, 1999
Acrylic on canvas
Exhibition space : No longer exists, masked.
Published on: 13 July 1999 - Filed under: Paintings
Take advantage of discounts of up to 20% for your extended stays!
Managing cookie consent
To provide the best experiences, we use technologies such as cookies to store and/or access device information. Consenting to these technologies will allow us to process data such as browsing behaviour or unique IDs on this site. Failure to consent or withdraw consent may adversely affect certain features and functions.
The storage or technical access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The storage or technical access is necessary for the legitimate interest purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
Storage or technical access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.Technical storage or access which is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. In the absence of a subpoena, voluntary compliance by your internet service provider or additional third party records, the information stored or retrieved for this sole purpose generally cannot be used to identify you.
The storage or technical access is necessary to create user profiles in order to send advertisements, or to track the user on a website or on several websites with similar marketing purposes.