Esthetic choices and technique in his work
by Alain Favelle
With truly great painters, it is their emotional fabric which command their language, pushing them on towards other feelings and passions waiting to be revealed. Toussaint is a great painter.
We have seen the profound spirituality of Toussaint’s work. It is that which inspires the language of his art. But just how does he do it ?
Firstly by his choice of subject matter.
His paintings could be seen simply as genre pictures. And this would be wrong as one quickly perceives that his paintings are not just anecdotal, instead the landscape surrounding the narrative is a key element to the picture itself. So why is the landscape so important ? It is true that a landscape which works well reflects the mood of the person contemplating it – there is a recognition of self or if needs be a readjustment of self resulting in perfect empathy.
It is this empathy which the artist strives for and which he has at the front of his mind when starting out on a painting. Then come the other foundations of his work : wonder, order and beauty.
Our eyes and our souls worn out with the madness of the modern world have forgotten how to see its beauty at any given time.
In fact, Toussaint has moved from a stance of observation to one of contemplation. His pictures, whilst still admitting reality, have moved towards the undiluted mental image and are now a working of the mind, the fruit of contemplation. In his art, whilst it can be said that there is a pure contemplation of what is manifestly before him, there is also a manifestation of the fruit of contemplation which springs directly from his own soul and mind.
In an age when there is so much ignorance, so much fakery, so much downright craziness, in an epoch when work is knocked together indifferently, it seems right that a true painter such as Raphaël Toussaint – without his rejecting outright a certain contemporary technicity – should recall the grand virtues of our past Masters, offering us, by way of his pictures, precious jewels which through their pure brilliance bring light to our eyes and illuminate our souls.
Alain Favelle Member of The International Association of Art Critics
Photos : Marie-Noëlle Péridy
I look and live in the Present,
Its reflection projects me into the Future,
My sustenance is in the Past.
Raphaël TOUSSAINT : A ‘Little Prince’ Art
By Yves VIOLLIER
I knocked on the painter’s door with the knocker ring. Some white dove was unfolding the wings of her tail, strutting on top of a stake. Waves of mist were rolling through the slender members of a birch grove. The swings had been taken down from their frame. Virginia creeper scratched the wall with its dense entanglement of leaf-bare venules. Short grass. It was cold but I was feeling well, already. That little world huddling up shiveringly within the patch of trees and walls reminded me of the intimism pervading the paintings of the man whose steps I could now hear.
In fact, there was not one, but multiple and innumerable festivals inviting me through each of the painter’s canvas: those present in his studio, and the others, all those he had touched with his eyes, his hands, his heart, long since gone to America, Germany, England, Japan… For Raphaël TOUSSAINT is much in demand: his canvases are sold before they have even been painted. All lovers of painting know that Raphaël TOUSSAINT can reveal wonders through a simple dip of his brushes: dream sceneries engraved deep inside all of us, which we have been too prompt to forget, getting lost in the jungle of daily life and lack of sweetness.
This is the shattering feeling you get when standing in front of a canvas painted by Raphaël TOUSSAINT. Overwhelmed by such wonder, you will find yourself thinking: “And what if it were true? If only it were true! So happiness would amount to this? It would be that simple?
Is this the kind of peace we could enjoy instead of killing time fighting?…”
“To those of you who are blind: you have been given eyes to see and you don’t even use them. Look for he has done wonders! Stop getting accustomed to everything. When you look at some tree, don’t say: ‘it’s a tree’, but tell yourself that it is unique and that there is no other like it.”
Yves VIOLLIER (writer)
Extract from L’Oeil écoute (The Listening Eye)