Artist Michael Cheval Gives the Backstory Behind 4 of His Incredible Creations

 In Art & Gallery News, Articles, Artists & Special Collections, Michael Cheval
Artist Michael Cheval

Artist Michael Cheval

Collectors love asking us about the hidden meanings and secrets behind artist Michael Cheval‘s intricate, enigmatic paintings. There are just so many layers and levels to his works that his fans spend hours combing over every detail, as if they were trying to solve a coded treasure map or unlock a puzzle box.

In a previous interview, we asked Cheval to give us some insider insights on six of his most famous works, such as “Engima” and “Inspiration.” That article received such an enormous response from our collectors that we decided to sit down with Cheval again. This time, he clues us in on the mysterious meanings and inspirations behind another 4 of his unforgettable artworks.

Enjoy—and remember that you can browse Park West’s full collection of Cheval works here.


“Down to Earth”

Michael Cheval absurd art

“Down to Earth” (2016), Michael Cheval

Despite its title, this figure seems anything but down to earth, but Cheval explains that this butterfly-winged cyclist is on a mission:

“The barefoot girl flitters lightly and carefree on her wooden bicycle down to Earth along the cloud. She is the spring that descends to sleepy and cold Earth bringing bright colors and the hope of awakening. Her bicycle is made of an old spinning wheel, which might have spun the thread of eternity. Behind her back are the butterfly wings as bright as her dress. Birds accompany the girl to guard her and guide along the way.”


“Flying Dutchman”

Michael Cheval Park West Gallery

“Flying Dutchman” (2016), Michael Cheval

The Flying Dutchman is a ghost ship, said to be cursed to sail forever and bring doom to those who see it. Cheval, however, takes a lighter approach to the legend:

“Everyone has heard the legends of the Flying Dutchman, a terrible harbinger of storms. A deserted ship from nowhere that appears and disappears like a ghost. But maybe everything is not so bad. Maybe the Flying Dutchman is just a flying ship. Maybe some ingenious Dutchman has attached balloons to his ship that helped the ship to flit from wave to wave, racing across the seas and oceans. Here you have a new legend, which I like more.”


“Promises of the Parting Summer”

Michael Cheval Park West Gallery

“Promises of the Parting Summer” (2016), Michael Cheval

Much like “Down to Earth,” this work incorporates butterfly wings and themes of seasonal transitions, but also the magic and wonder known only to children:

“After a warm, bright, and cheerful summer comes—as we know—a cold and rainy autumn. So sorry to leave the summer! But the summer, giving us the last days of warmness and sunlight, promises to return.”

“A man with a hang glider behind his back is the envoy of the summer. He’s probably a magician or the fabulous Sandman who blows on his hands and scatters stardust as the last of the summer’s fun. The children enjoy these miracles, because they believe in them. Miracles are always surrounding children, so they are happier than adults. Stardust is transformed into butterflies, and butterflies turn into small airplanes.”

“It’s all an illusion with which you do not want to leave. Months pass and the rain will be knocking on the windowpane, the cold wind is going to rock the bare trees and the past summer will also become an illusion, a pleasant memory. But we all need to remember what that summer promised: summer always comes back and a lot of joy and happiness awaits us ahead.”


“Time to be a Queen”

Michael Cheval Park West Gallery

“Time to be a Queen” (2016), Michael Cheval

Those familiar with fairy tales may have already guessed the meanings behind this work, but Cheval invites his viewers to go further with a message about taking hold of their own destinies:

“The clock struck midnight! At the same moment, the carriage turns into a pumpkin and a lovely lady, who shined at the royal ball, turned back to Cinderella. But what happens if things do not go according to the scenario and Cinderella turns into a pumpkin and the carriage will turn to a steam engine? What will happen to the crystal shoe, which has no one to wear? Maybe she has to throw out all conventions and magic and take it all in her power. It’s time to take care of herself and become the Queen!

“In art, everything is possible and there are no barriers for the artist’s imagination. Cinderella—the dream of many girls. But everyone wants to see only the final part—the colorful and happy ending. But how many different options life offers us! And which way is the right one? Only by taking responsibility for your own destiny, can we find out the answer to this question.”


Be sure to view Park West Gallery’s full Michael Cheval collection. For information on how to collect the art of Michael Cheval, contact our gallery consultants at (800) 521-9654 ext. 4 or

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