The artist discovered his signature ‘naif’ style at the age of 35. He began painting at the young age of seven, and experimented with many types of painting before perfecting his poetic and evocative style. Delacroix says “it was as if there was a door. I opened it and there was a rush – something rushed out. I can still hear the noise of the horses on the cobblestones.” Delacroix’s works impart visions of Paris, however, he does not generally paint ‘en plein air.’ His works are modified by mood and memory rather than observation. Similarly, his color palette is not inspired by nature and reality but by atmosphere and emotion. The scenes are recalled from the Paris he once knew; when he saw the city occupied during the Second World War. Rather than see the dark streets of Paris, lacking automobiles and streetlights, he saw it as a “magical theater.”
While he does depict the Paris that he recalls, he also invites the viewer to participate in the scenes by attaching their own associations to the image. Each image, although reminiscent in itself, invites the viewer to assign their own memories of the Paris they love. “His faces are made deliberately bland, even blank, as they gaze out at observers from the toy-like bistro tables, as they might in some old family album that once revealed the precisely articulated features of parents and grandparents, frozen for the slow speeds of the bulky cameras of their day.”
Delacroix splits his time between Paris and Cambodia. He paints in his studio each morning and gardens each afternoon. He focuses on his family, and they continue to be the driving force in his life. Delacroix’s work has been exhibited in over 300 solo shows in the U.S. and abroad.
Delacroix’s show is currently on exhibit at M Fine Arts through December.
To learn more about Michel Delacroix’s work visit his artist profile.
Text by Margaret Britven