Emile Bellet was born in Provence, France in 1941. He began to paint at 5 years old and by the age of 19 he held his first exhibition in 1960. When he was only 12, Emile won first prize in a national art journal. In 1976, his career began in earnest when he was noticed by Galerie Guigne. Bellet completed the stained glass windows of the church “Notre Dame de Bon Voyage” (Our Lady of Happy Travels) in 1978, in Port de Bouc, France – a beautiful display of his talent. He was also commissioned by the Alpine Maritime Region to paint the work, “Travaux des Champs” (Work in the Fields).
Bellet is a self-taught artist who has aligned himself with the discipline of the Fauves (French for “wild beasts”) — a school of artists who lived at the turn of the 20th century that includes Matisse, Cézanne, Dufy, and Vlaminck. They painted in vivid non-authentic color and Emile has mastered this discipline with an impasto knife, using highly saturated colors to paint his elongated mannerist forms. Bellet loves his brushes and oil paints. When he began painting, there were no acrylics, and his love for his favorite tools increased.
He enjoys painting “en plein air” as the Impressionists did, choosing to paint the villages and scenery from his native France. He lives high up in the mountains, taking in the breathtaking colors of the Mediterranean that suit his painting perfectly. By painting outdoors, Bellet feels like he is bringing a small piece of Van Gogh to our time.
Every morning, Bellet rises very early and eases into his activities of the day – what he calls his “second breathing state.” He arranges flowers, tends to his olive trees, and decodes the various themes of his paintings in his head. He thinks about his paintings for hours, has lunch, and begins working around noon for the rest of the day.
Emile’s paintings are notorious for the mysterious female he includes in his compositions. His wife, his daughter, and musings on an idyllic kind of woman are all sources for his inspiration. The familiar female figure used throughout his work is symbolic of his impression of femininity. She represents all women and for this reason has no facial expression. She is timeless, ageless, and universal. He also paints her in stages – first in blonde, then in brunette, and finally with red hair. The whimsical movement derived from Bellet’s impasto knife lends a sense of vision to his work, taking the viewer to a passing, momentary location. His settings are ethereal and transient, creating an atmosphere of mystery.
Patrice de la Perriere, Director of the Art Revue, “Univers des Arts” (Universe of the Arts) says of Bellet:
“Les femmes rouges de Bellet, evanescentes, s’exposent avec magnificence dans la fragrance d’une lumiere d’ete. Qu’elles soient debout, pres d’une fenetre s’ouvrant sur un paysage romantique, ou bien assises langoureusement dans un interieurconfortable, les “femmes” de Bellet n’en finissent plus de vous attirer dans un monde onirique.” Leur presence, indiscutablement, apporte au spectateur une reelle emotion.”
“The ethereal, red women of Bellet magnificently show themselves in the fragrance of summer light. Whether they are standing near a window opening onto a romantic countryside, or sitting languorously in a comfortable interior, Bellet’s women never cease to draw you into a dreamlike world. Their presence undeniably brings a real emotion to the viewer.”
He has held numerous exhibits in France: Grenoble, Aix en Provence, Cannes, Marseille, Lyon, and Megeve. He has also held numerous exhibitions overseas: Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Switzerland and Japan (Gallery Mainichi). He currently enjoys permanent exhibits in Cannes, Lyon, Salon-de-Provence, Grenoble, Toulon and Annecy. His impressive resume also includes illustrations for “Les Cahiers d’Art, Regards vers Ailleurs, Empreintes” (The Notebook of Art, A Look Beyond Printmaking).
Emile Bellet delights in his work like a peasant in the fields of Provence. Both treat their labors with love and respect and his body of work reflects this feeling. While he works with Park West, Emile has said that he feels enchanted to be able to share his work internationally with his collectors, enjoying such freedom to create.
To learn more about the Emile Bellet Collection at Park West Gallery, please visit www.parkwest-bellet.com.