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Michele met André at the Cucuron market. It is a quaint market that takes place every Tuesday, Place de l’Etang. L’Etang, a large basin that is spring-fed, goes back to the 14th century and once provided water to a mill. It is also surrounded by old sycamore trees that provide a welcome shade in the summer.
Michele loves spending time exploring markets. And it is after walking every étalage that she met André. I caught up with her right after that, at the end of a long bike ride.
She was already convinced that André’s paintings would be a perfect addition to our growing artist family. Since it was the end of our stay in Provence, we agreed that we would try to meet him the next time we came.
It did not take too long. I called André once we were back in the US and explained what we had in mind. He remembered speaking with Michele and said he would be happy to talk further about our project.
André is, as the French say, "un homme haut en couleur". An engaging personality, a son of the Luberon, a lover of Provence and a wonderful artist. Ask him, he is "Le Peintre du Luberon".
It is at his atelier and showroom in Villelaure (Vaucluse) that we met him that second time.
Stepping through the front door, you discover André’s world. It is all about Provence, with bright, bold colors, and a definite style that André calls Provencale Moderne or Fauvisme Moderne. As André describes it, you hang one of his paintings on your wall, and every morning you will have an open window of Provencal sunshine that will bring you joy and happiness. We are told that wearing our Tee has the same effect.
André uses different techniques and supports. When we met him, André was focused on acrylic. A first sketch with a lead pencil outlines the background, often featuring the mountains of the Luberon. The same contours are then marked with a thin black line of black acrylic. Once dry, the bright colors can be applied for a stunning result.
It is easy to fall in love with André’s work. But as much as we love his art, what makes it even more compelling is the Provence storytelling that André is known for.
André knows a lot about painting but is “intarissable” (never runs dry) on the subject of Provence. Its history, traditions, people and language. He is a published author and has another book coming. Looking around his workshop, you will notice all sorts of awards and distinctions. In addition to being an accomplished painter, he is also generous of his time and wears his heart on his sleeve.
When we left, André promised us an “apéritif” at his secret hideout; we can’t wait to go back.
You can find more about André at http://peintreduluberon.free.fr/film.html.