1972, Versailles (France)
Gérald Engelvin .A painter of interiors
“There, nothing but order and beauty dwell, abundance, calm and sensuous delight…” wrote Baudelaire. And this verse immediately comes to mind when we stand in front of one of Gerald Engelvin’s paintings. True serenity radiates. We cannot go past them, we feel irresistibly summoned and willingly drawn into reverie. We are literally struck by beauty while holding on to our freedom. Somehow there is something there that is already known to us, something we recognised from deep inside us. We are being told a story but can make up our own, digging into past memories. We invite ourselves into a world where we are expected. In front of these young beautiful girls, one reading a book, another one lost in her thoughts or in her dreams, time seems suspended and our gaze becomes soothing and dreamy.
When we deal with art, we always face two dimensions. Our reality and the world we are taken into by the artist. There is no trompe l’œil with Gerald Engelvin. All is order and harmonious architecture. His space becomes our space. A wall becomes the wall of our own abode. Beyond poetry and feminine grace, lies a definite mystery. Youth does not last, nostalgia is already within reach. The peace is only disturbed by the sheer movement of a head, by the book left aside, by the ruffling of a dress. The palette is soft and delicate, the style elegant. The staging of these family scenes suggest melancholy and nostalgia, a sense of loss not unlike some still lives that show us the passing of time.
Sleek greyish rooms, long corridors, grand staircase, high ceilings, timeless parquet floors and octogonal white and black tiles, antique chaises longues, Persian rugs, the variation of faded colours, the backdrop of the family scenes, evoke the intimacy and softness of the Flemish masters. Nothing is obvious, everything is suggested, an invitation to a world of innocence, yearning and daydream."