Between the tumbling slopes and steep pine-bristled ravines, the sea was a constant companion. Its dazzle lifted the letters off the pages of my walking guide until I could see precisely how each black mark was stamped on the soft paper.
from The Lantern
This bold Fauvist-inspired painting by Rahim Najfar is a masterly understanding of landscape lit by summer sun in the south of
. This is the burning light that sears every edge between tree and sky, earth and scrub, setting disparate elements jangling and competing. Opposites sizzle against opposites in a joyous display of the colour wheel: blue versus orange; red versus green; yellow versus purple. France
Born in Iran, Rahim Najfar works in the picturesque
, high on its hill and topped by a defiant church spire. Across the valley, one of the many that ripple the Luberon ridge, is Lacoste with its ruined castle once owned by the Marquis de Sade. village of Bonnieux
A stroll up the steep winding streets of Bonnieux will bring you to Najfar’s studio and exhibition space in Place Carnot. From spring to autumn the door is always open. His landscapes are big, powerful statements: some completely abstract, some with Persian-influenced borders which seem to tell his journey here, from his birthplace in Teheran, an academic career as professor of art and drawing at the universities of Farabi and Teheran, to teaching at Aix-Marseille, and becoming an artist who has lived for many years in Provence and exhibited widely abroad.
Terre Fauve, the picture above, is redolent of a slightly more southern landscape, where umbrella pines flower against the penetrating blue of
skies. It’s the countryside down towards the sea at Marseille and Cassis where the much-loved French writer Marcel Pagnol spent his boyhood and recaptured in La Gloire de Mon Pere. Riviera
But you can still be surprised where we are by paths that seem warmed by their own micro-climate, and have the look and scent of the coastal south. Pines smell stronger, as does the wild thyme. On such a path the low spreading juniper bushes release the sharp tang of gin and the dry earth beneath your feet seems salted with sand.
For Rahim Najfar’s website, click here. His studio-shop in Bonnieux also sells limited edition prints and a wide selection of his pictures printed on cards.