Monday, April 1, 2013

Philippe Dutilleul - Poet of Light

That delicate touch of light!
Each painting that Dutilleul undertakes is a new quest. His desire to paint, and always to renew, goes hand-in-hand with the subtle investigation into light and shade.

In the midst of a very successful career with prestigious representation in one of the best galleries in Paris, Dutilleul’s health faltered. He suffered from an illness that robbed him of his sight. For nearly fifteen years he was subjected to fevers and deadly headaches. Fortunately he recovered a few years ago and started painting again. He now feels the illness brought him to where he is today. There is no regret. There is an enhanced love of life. Light is an obsession.
It is these glimpsed effects that he will search for and collect in the area around Uzes, the Cevennes, the Lozere and further afield in Corsica and Andalucia. "Lighting interests me perhaps even more than landscape" he reveals.

His passion is such that, whilst painting, he is already imagining the quest for and discovery of new colors for his next works. Every day he feels both his vision and skill developing. Technically he begins with a luminous, lightweight coat of acrylic paint, next enriching the canvas with delicate strokes of oil paint. This results in an ethereal, heavenlymountain landscapes, using royal blue, violet, at the same time introducing in the shadows – some secret hints of red ochre. The gorge thus illuminated, becomes suddenly sensuous . . .

Originally from the misty north, Dutilleul attended the Decorative Arts School in Toumai, and then the Acadamy of Fine Arts in Douai.  Inspired by paintings of an earlier age, he practiced the delicate craft of restoring paintings for the Museums of Strasbourg.  Hooked on art history, he became intimately acquainted with the Old Masters.  This interest has never left him, for even today, to relax, he makes accomplished copies of an Arcimboldo, a Rembrant or a Vermeer.  His relationship with the latter is very special, in fact it is not unusual for him to follow the Dutchman’s example of using almost photographic soft-focus in the foreground combined with strong keylight.  A colorist, he treasures memories of some key works:  Monet, Matisse, Bonnard or even Bioules.

At the moment of achieving superlative beauty – a perfect footprint in the clay – he makes a sky shine with fire beyond a jagged horizon, giving us moments of pure unforgettable poetry.  From one canvas to the next, Dutilleul makes the great spectacle come alive for us, with a background accompaniment of subtle, sublime music.