Occasionally in our travels, an event occurs that becomes the highlight of the trip and stays engraved in our memories for years to come. Meeting Michel Boulet and his son, Terry, was one such occasion.
Ruth and I happened upon their small art studio while walking around the narrow streets of the iconic village, Saint-Paul de Vence, in Provence.
No shop windows to catch our attention, only a double glass door covered with colourful art and leading into the gallery with works of similar style.
Michel’s art is unmistakable. It is fun and whimsical, full of life, colour and joy, with happy scenes of beaches, markets and circuses. Women with large thighs and small round faces predominate. Small dogs, bicycles and frolicking children always seem present.
Born September 7th, 1938, in Marseille, Michel showed a marked inclination towards drawing and painting from an early age. He began his career as an illustrator, designer and graphic artist and then went on to teach silk-screen printing at the School of Fine Arts in Marseille.
Michel’s desire to devote himself solely to painting led him to Saint-Paul de Vence, where he finally opened his art-studio in 1981. Soon collectors from around the world began to acquire his colourful compositions.
The life of an artist is not easy. To support a family, the artist needs continually to produce work. As one original sells, a new one is started. Unless you are a prolific worker, keeping a gallery fully stocked is very difficult.
Enter Michel’s son, Terry. It was Terry’s idea to create a reproduction business. So now, Michel can be more relaxed about his painting with Terry creating canvas or print reproductions of originals in various sizes for sale within the gallery.
Speaking perfect English, Terry is an engaging personality. He was only too happy to explain the business of art reproduction and even showed us the small studio replete with easel, paint, cameras, computers and printers.
Terry also explained the gallery’s connection with Australia. Apparently, a few years back, two well-known Australian business identities, Lindsay Fox and John Elliott, walked into the gallery, in much the same way that we did. Not only did they buy Michel’s art on that day, they also invited him to exhibit his works in Melbourne.
Ruth and I spent almost two hours with Michel and Terry and, of course, we came home with a reproduction, personally signed by Michel. The time went quickly, but the memory lingers. Hopefully, we will return one day.
Michel Boulet Art Studio
80 Rue Grande, 06570 Saint-Paul de Vence
+33 (0)9 51 32 43 29