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...
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.
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.
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 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)...
This is one of Velly's remarkable pencil self-portraits, one of three in the 1993 catalogue:
And this last is one of the arrestingly morbid images from his collection Bestiaire Perdu: