A painter of our time : remarkably singular, singularly masterful
by Lois Levanier

Raphaël Toussaint is a man apart, something of a unique case, shunning standardization since neither does he belong to a « school of » nor does he display the need to weigh his work down with any particular frame of references.

Strangely enough, he reminds me to a certain extent of Balthus. It is true that Toussaint is artistically elsewhere, covers different ground, but he too has managed to slough off all attempts at being labelled and this, no doubt, because of certain points in common with Balthus.

Both painters criticize non-figurative painting for having abandoned the landscape and Nature, which they indeed consider as quintessentially linked to, as keystones of, art itself. And much as Balthus consciously filtered his work through the prismatic Quattrocento, Toussaint constructs his art in the light of the tradition of the great Flemish painters (Breughel immediately springs to mind), the Italians (not only Raphaël), the Eighteenth century masters (the influence is unobtrusively there) and the great French landscape painters.

I consider Toussaint to be a beacon, a painter of utmost importance. He nourishes our sight, allowing us to see in the way that André Breton understood vision. And the many different facets of his work, their grandeur demand our attention over time – it is only then that they can be fully appreciated.




Loïs LEVANIER (Art critic)

March 2001

Photos : Simon Bourcier & Marie-Noëlle Peridy