Drunken Boats, Blue Boats exhibition

From 15 December 2018 to 9 March 2019

Under the very Rimbaud-esque theme of “drunken boats”, seventeen painter and fifty-two works, canvases, pastels, gouaches and watercolours, are exhibited at the Cristel Éditeur d’Art Centre in Saint-Malo to tell the dazzling that catches men launched to the open sea, elsewhere. This thousand colours dazzling is punctuated by artists from the 20th and 21st century that have notoriously marked their time. Boarding with Alechinsky, Brusse, Nørgård, Moretti, Feyen, Jérôme, Berland, Linfort, Lézin… all came to demonstrate together the genius of sea painters.

To the open sea, elsewhere

Rimbaud bathed “in the Sea Poem”, infused with stars, in a milky tide, consuming blues and greens, under dismantled waves, among backwash and currents… He was only seventeen but already he cried: “O that my keel would break! O that I would go to the sea!”. These are the words of the Drunken Boat, feverishly collected by Verlaine. Homer himself could have thought of these timeless, universal words: is it not telling the consubstantial dazzling that catches men launched to the open sea, elsewhere?
“Drunken Boats, Blue Boats”. It is under this resolutely literary name that the Cristel Éditeur d’Art Centre organises its nineteenth exhibition. It echoes Rimbaud, of course. But it is also an invitation to follow artist that have also rubbed against the milky tide, the blues and the greens. The story is old, as the first boats date back to the Neolithic, that was about eight thousand years ago! Homer narrated the never-ending sailing of Ulysses, who voluntarily attached himself to the mast to escape mermaids. Even though this fact is less known, it is important to inform that ath the beginning of the 18th century, a future seascape painter, Joseph Vernet (father of Carle, grand-father of Horace), claimed the same privilege. And as the whole crew was frightened off by a storm, he was passionately fixing the horizon, taking in unerring memory the twists and turns of darkened skies, the smacking of sails and winds, the boat’s movements, the whining of spars and yardarms, the short gaps of light, the shape and strength of waves, their colour, their breath, and the long shroud of foam… Through a surprising short-cut, talking about Joseph Vernet, one might feel thrown in front of the six pastels made by Jean-Michel Linfort that are welcoming our visitors today. And what pastels! Or more like, what waves! At times raised, at times broken-off, but they are more real and more vibrant than in the middle of the vast ocean. Without waiting for the private preview, the followers of the Art Centre have stopped by, surprised, captivated, dazzled–the famous dazzling that catches those that the sea is calling…
Seventeen painters in total, and fifty-two drawings, watercolours, gouaches and oils, are sharing for three months our picture rails. Consider this an immediate boarding with artists that have notoriously marked their time. Good manners would be to name the great olds first, Eugène Feyen, once applauded by Van Gogh, and Carlos-Reymond, who started painting thanks to Monet’s support. Pierre Jérôme and Georges Cheyssial are two very appealing winners of the Prix de Rome, as well as Jacques Berland, Edouard Goerg, André Planson, Andrée Bordeaux Le Pecq, Maurice Verdier, all exhibited in different museums, in France or elsewhere. Like Jacky Lézin, exhibited for the first time at the Cristel Éditeur d’Art Centre, or like those who are coming back–contemporary masters: Michel Bez, Mark Brusse, Lars Nørgård and Pierre Alechinsky— these painters, along with Lucienne de Meiffren, are giving us to see harbours, beaches, boats, distance. All have their own style, strength and mind. May we take the liberty of separately classifying The Man and the Sea, masterpiece made by Raymond Moretti that Picasso and Jean Cocteau have truly admired. The Jade coloured skies, the sharp-edged sea, the dull rumble of magma. And a sail, free and light, to force destiny. Rimbaud would have cried.

Christophe Penot

Exhibited works