Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Jean Triolet - Painter of Felicity

From the fragrance of the garrigue, one drifts slowly towards
that impalpable lightness of things that attests that his
paintings are about felicity.

A grey-blue background, a hand and brush that paint. A line is drawn, forms appear. In several minutes, a landscape of Provence emerges on the canvas. And the painting had the effect of an antidote. If you are depressed or melancholy, settle yourself in front of this armful of colors. Your eyes light up, a smile comes to your lips, your soul finds serenity.

Painting is to Triolet what rhetoric is to a public defender: an arsenal for eloquent expression. Between the Mediterranean and the Alpilles, he found the land whose beauty he has recreated for thirty years, the Provence “that laughs, that cries, that sings with the cicadas.”

“I’ve always had Cezanne’s palette, I mean in the tones,” he explains. “For three decades, I’ve played with the nuances. There is a law in painting: one color is judged in regards to another color.”

Each canvas of Triolet is a personal vision of Provence, a Provence of origins, quasi-immemorial, that he would like to see preserved from the ravages of industrialization and galloping urban growth. Nostalgia? No.  Only the love of nature and respect for an indentity. One cannot help but subscribe to this thought of Alauzen di Genova: “The painter in front of his stretched canvas reconstitutes the mental architecture that he transposes from nature - to render it more sensible to others.” Who would blame Triolet for magnifying or idealizing his Provence?

The still-lifes and landscapes confirm his gifts of observation and his infatuations. What has changed, someone has said, are the softest colors. This is a new departure in his painting, yet not a repudiation of his previous criteria. And nothing allows us to judge this better than his recent productions or exhibitions. His art has the same coherence.

Triolet has too much experience to ignore that painting is a profession, a double engagement of the eye and spirit. It is an art of perception as much as one of memory. If the French artist, ambassador for his country, is appreciated in Europe and overseas, it is because in the United States, in Japan, in Switzerland or in Canada, people like knowing that his painting is more about what it contains than what it shows.

His paintbrush reconciles you with the real treasures of life. He is a painter of felicity.