Sunday, 5 August 2012
The jewelled landscapes of Bonnieux
Did you spot the visual clue to the treasure in the last post? Across the road from Le Fournil, the restaurant in Place Carnot at Bonnieux, is a bright modern canvas in a display window. This is the studio and gallery belonging to artist Rahim Najfar.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I'm a huge fan of Rahim's modern Fauvist paintings. (Click this link for an introduction to his work: Terre Fauve.) His vision of the countryside all around the hilltop village where he lives and works is rendered in bold colour, reminiscent of the works of Derain, Matisse and the German expressionist August Macke. A Najfar summer scene flashes and clashes with all the extremes of light and shade that define southern Europe.
I went into the gallery to say hello to Rahim and his lovely wife Suzanne and to see his latest works a couple of weeks ago. As ever, there was much to admire and several works I would love to have taken home. But one painting stood apart for me. It seemed to glow from the wall with rich jewel colours, amethyst and ruby and sapphire.
Its title is Sous-bois Automnale (literal translation: Autumn Undergrowth - though I'd go for something more lyrical. Under Autumn Wood, perhaps, with a nod to Dylan Thomas). With the change of season comes a deeper, more contemplative colour palette interspersed with happy reminders that the sun is never far away here.
Reader, I bought it. I'd been longing to have a Najfar original on our wall and now that the sitting room has been rebuilt and remodelled it was the ideal moment to act on impulse. Treasure indeed, at least as far as I'm concerned. And here's a photo of the artist with his work, the artist as expansive and jolly as his joyous understanding of the jewelled landscapes of Provence.