Georges Artaud (b 1947) is a keen
observer of ambience. Whatever the technique, whatever his subject, he puts no more on his canvas than the essential: the light. With a few strokes of his brush the misty banks of the Charente appear, or perhaps an interior in which you would be at home reading your paper.
Pastel is mostly kept to translate the fragile transparency of flowers and the calm tranquillity of landscapes filled with the harmonies that are spring and autumn. However, it is watercolour that takes pride of place. This technique is not just “a small squeaky voice overwhelmed by the orchestra that is oils” as was written by
If history has long buried it in preparatory studies and decoration works, if it has been described as the pastime of the young ladies of wealthy families,watercolour has also always been the favoured medium of seasoned travellers and the faithful companion of the upheavals of modern art. In a word, the companion of those who know how to really look and not merely see.
Georges Artaud uses it in a modern manner, but remains conscious of the tradition it conveys. The modernity manifests itself in his free touch and in the accidents of which he knows how to use. The tradition persists in the precision of his touch. His works are a subtle mix of finesse and force.
A large proportion of the ceations of Georges Artaud are flowers. Either in watercolour or in pastel, he draws with the passion of the attentive observer of nature that he is. He paints them with refinement and precision, which allows him to portray all the beauty of the natural world in a single flower.
Whilst always inferring the presence of man, his other works avoid figures. They are countryside and urban landscapes, river banks or the sea, several still lifes of fruit-classic in their inspiration, and anecdotally certain less obvious subjects, like the pair of shoes or the plastic bottles in a plastic sack
Even if the competence shown by this artist is undeniable, we are still won over by his exceptional mastery of light. Be it in an evening along the Charente, a roof in Paris in the rain, an abandonned boat on the shore, wet cobblestones or a simple moss covered fence dividing two fields, never has watercolour appeared so luminous, so powerful. Often served by a foreground of impeccable sharpness and a soft evasive background, the works of Georges Artaud tell of a soft elegance in which the onlooker can drown with pleasure. You cannot but succomb to their charm. By their form and colour, they distill a delicate energy with which one is completely at ease.
Alain Coudert, chronicler of art at Arts Actualités Magazine.