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My five favorite painters

It would be very difficult to list all the famous painters who influenced me. I love it and admire it so much. If I had to name five, I think I would quote Johannes Vermeer, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte because I know quite precisely what they brought me.

Johannes Vermeer is a Dutch painter born in 1632 in Delft and died in this same city in 1675. He is the genius of light, chiaroscuro and cast shadows. Even if he did not leave many known works (barely sixty I believe), Vermeer is nonetheless a very talented portrait painter who knew how to bring light into the dark Dutch houses of the 17th century. . The characters of Vermeer are sublimated by their environment of shadow and light. We cannot imagine the difficulty of doing this in painting. Known for "the girl with the pearl earring", yet so perfect, I prefer even more the profile portrait of "the astronomer", enigmatic in front of her globe and her window.

The period of the Impressionists has always marked me because they did not seek to reproduce reality through pompous or academic painting. The painters of this period that I adore are numerous. I love their way of painting so perfect and so imperfect at the same time that it makes it seem easy to produce (and yet so difficult to achieve). Of all, I have a marked preference for Edgar Degas who could spend hours refining an important detail in his eyes, without finishing the rest of his canvas. Edgar Degas seems to be the painter of the moment or the snapshot, a bit like a stolen photo. Edgar Degas is a French painter born in 1834 and died in 1917. He is known for his little dancers at the opera and his horse races. He is also a wonderful sculptor and even less is known a photographer. Above all, I like the great sensitivity of his portraits in oil or pastel. My favorite painting is "L'absinthe" where we discover in a glance, the whole story of a woman in despair over a drink in a Parisian bar. His almost cartoonish neighbor seems to live in a parallel world.

Another famous painter of this time is Henri de Toulouse Lautrec who made both canvases and posters (known for his posters, he only produced 31). Henri de Toulouse Lautrec is a French painter born in 1864 and died in 1901. He is the portrait painter of women (often of little virtue). I love to see the Goulue and Valentin the Boneless swinging their hips on the floor of the Moulin Rouge painted on "the dance at the Moulin Rouge". His drawings are less well-known but much more numerous and just as wonderful. Toulouse Lautrec knows how to paint the essential in just a few strokes, as the great poster artists know how to do, always at the limit of painting and caricature. I admire all the painters who, like him, know how to get to the point, with a gesture or a brushstroke like Chinese calligraphy.

I really like Salvador Dali not only for the permanent madness of his tortured history but also for his extremely demanding painting technique. Salvador Dali is a Spanish painter born in 1904 and died in 1989. He is one of the greatest representatives of surrealism, painter of its fantasies and anxieties. He was also a great admirer of Vermeer. I love the optical effects he was able to create on some of his canvases such as "Voltaire Impression" where we see the portrait of Voltaire appearing in a crowd of characters. I like his ability to appropriate the whole history of art and reformulate it in his own way. I love his ability to transform objects like his flowing watches defying time. Each Dali painting is a great lesson in humility for all demanding painters. There is always something to learn in his paintings both about his technique and his sensitivity. You must visit his museum in Florida where a large part of his work is exhibited.

Rene Magritte to whom I pay tribute with my 2015 work presented in this article (tribute to the painting "the son of man") is also a very great technician who knew how to use his technique in the service of creativity. Magritte is also a surrealist, Belgian painter born 1898 and died in 1967. For him painting is not a pale reflection of reality. He likes to add to it the invisible resulting from the thought. Magritte constantly makes us think about the meaning of art, not failing to embark us in his poetic and zany universe. A Magritte canvas is a journey but a journey of thought. Unlike Dali's self-centered painting, Magritte's painting is a painting of sharing with those who want to share his universe and his desire to explore. Thus painting is both a work on oneself but also an opening to others.

I invite you to discover or rediscover these painters in particular the five paintings that I have mentioned. Of course, five painters is too short a list and I will be sure to come back to other favorites in a future article.

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