December 06, 2002

Natura Morta

Jean-Pierre Velly was a French, more specifically Breton graphic artist and painter who spent most of his working life in Italy. He excelled above all in natura morta (i.e. 'still-life') scenes, such as the following...

Notturno watercolour, 1984.

I discovered his work when my eye was drawn to the window of the Galleria Don Chisciotte one day as I was walking towards the nearby Piazza del Popolo in Rome. I peeked as best as I could at the works inside, but did not venture inside until the next time I passed by the same way, a few weeks later.

Fiori sul Mare, oil on canvas, 1985.

At that time I felt apprehensive about going into private, commercial galleries, deterred by what I imagined to be their frostily rarefied atmosphere, but curiosity eventually took me inside - and I was very glad it did, as I have very seldom felt such an immediate and powerful connection with any artist's work, before or since.

Apres, oil on canvas, 1986.

The gallery owner, Signor de Maranisch, spoke almost no English, and my Italian was still fairly poor, but I succeeded in explaining, I think, how much I enjoyed Velly's work, and bought a few small catalogues illustrating many of his etchings, watercolours, drawings and paintings.

I Cardi Blu, oil on canvas, 1989.

I scanned these images from a catalogue (published by Fratelli Palombi) of a retrospective exhibition held at the French Academy in Rome in '93. In 1990, at age 47, a boating accident on Lake Trevignano had claimed Velly's life. The next three images are taken from a collection entitled Velly pour Corbière, of works inspired by the poetry of fellow-Breton Tristan Corbière (1845-75)...

La Ciel et la Mer I, Pencil, Ink and watercolour, 1977

La Ciel et la Mer III, Pencil, Ink and watercolour, 1977

Rien, Pencil, ink and watercolour, 1978

This is one of Velly's remarkable pencil self-portraits, one of three in the 1993 catalogue:

Autoritratto a Grandezza Naturale, Pencil drawing, 1987

And this last is one of the arrestingly morbid images from his collection Bestiaire Perdu:

from Bestiaire Perdu, Pencil, ink and watercolour, 1980.
Posted by misteraitch at December 6, 2002 12:14 PM

These are marvelous, thank you for sharing. Enjoyed perusing your cozy and charming archives very much.

Posted by: elena on August 2, 2003 07:44 PM

dear fellow, it seems that these images dont appear any more, at least on my mac here in paris were i am posted for this holiday season. We are working on the catalogue raisonné of both unique pieces (drawings, watercolors and paintings) as well as the engravings and etchings, with some new material.

If you need more Velly pictures, send me a note.

Bye for now

Pierre Higonnet

Posted by: pierre Higonnet on December 25, 2005 12:58 AM

Merci for your comment, Pierre. The images should be visible again now. I would love to acquire a copy of the catalogue raisonné when it is published, and I am very grateful for the fine job you have done of collecting and presenting Velly’s work on-line.

Posted by: misteraitch on December 25, 2005 09:23 PM
Comments are now closed