It was with great emotion that I set up the private exhibition, at The ONE Hidden Place from June 13 to October 15, 2020, of the great French painter Jean Podevin whom I am lucky enough to have known well and whom I had exhibited at the Carpe Diem Gallery in Paris in 1991/1992.
Knowing "The Master", Mr Jean Podevin was a true privilege, exhibiting him was an honour.
This very beautiful exhibition had undoubtedly enthused the visitors of the Gallery. At the opening, the crowd was heterogeneous and this revealed the interest that an exhibition of this Great Mister of the Arts could arouse. Among them were journalists, art critics, artists, collectors and connoisseurs of the painter. For them, it was simple, they knew what they were looking for: quality, know-how, talent, authenticity, poetry... At their side, there was also an audience of young and old people, guided by the hearsay or the reputation of the painter, who still knew little or nothing about his work, but each of them was driven by the same desire - the desire to discover, to approach the Master, to see with their own eyes, to realize by themselves, to appreciate the material, to let themselves be carried by the vibratory waves of the complicit colours, to be caressed by the sacred grace of the lights, to the point of immersing themselves, at last in confidence, in an unknown world of profane forms and perspectives. And then there was also a handful of institutional sceptics, their usual haughtiness attending all the vernissages of the capital, wondering what an old painter could still hope to bring to Art if it was only outdated and stale redundancies from a bygone era, while contemporary art was propelling itself higher and higher each day, towards summits where human genius was condescendingly mocking the old Gods of an outdated pantheon.
Jean Podevin had nothing of a star, it was not in his genes. He had for him his tranquility, his bonhomie, his reserve too, and his humility. His honesty. He spoke to each of those who approached him, answered, told, explained with detail, patience and sweet passion. But even more than him, his works spoke and "embarked" everyone, even the most dubious ones.Yes, the painter was totally dominating his subject: the composition: infallible, the associations and harmonies: mastered to perfection, the matter: coronated, the technique: perfect and the poetry: divine. Triumph was total.
One wonders therefore why, despite all the honours that France has reserved for him, Jean Podevin is not better known internationally, why he is not mentioned spontaneously among the painters who marked the 20th century... I personally deplore the fact that unfortunately the fate of many of the greatest painters is to finally be recognised for their true worth only posthumously, sometimes even long after their death. I find this, distressing and tragic, unjust and it is also one of the reasons why The ONE Museum wants to offer a chance to artists who are sometimes not yet or not celebrated enough, while their talent still sparks in the darkness of the forgotten fields. I hope, with all my great respect and my heart, that Jean Podevin will soon be recognized internationally and that from where he can be now, his eternal cigarette in his mouth, he will have that little manly grin mixing a smile sketch with a good-natured grumbling, seemingly saying: "Well, there you go, I knew I had done a good job!…»
In a few months' time, we will pay him an official tribute in the great halls of the Museum. He deserves it so much! He has always given his all in his work, with application, rigour, determination and passion, for the love and respect of Art, with a constant and unalterable integrity.
Before ending, I would like to thank infinitely his family, his sons Jean-François, Jean-Paul and Philippe who welcomed with enthusiasm and confidence my proposal to bring back to life here this great man, this extraordinary painter whose sublime work can only be admired. Without them, nothing would have been possible.
Curator at The ONE Museum
Critics talk about Jean Podevin
The Press talks about Jean Podevin
Marked by cubism, Jean PODEVIN, groups in vivid tones ardent shapes of boats, of houses: whose stains overflow one on the other, with a light heated exuberance. However, in space, the overall orders itself in well disciplined troops, vibrant with optimism.
LA VOIX DU NORD
High in color, these canvases, probably many times revised, often carry the mark of a matter full of energy. The subject matter, PODEVIN has ordained it, rhythmic, in a rigorous composition where the fervid of the “Golden Ratio” will relish the discovery of logarithmic curves. But he is able in this type of studio work to retain the initial emotion of his sketch from life.
Man of the North, of Valenciennes, established in Paris, PODEVIN works in a very personal, dynamic-swirling style that grants a major place to gesture and to light.
Vigorous colorist, he manages to solve delicate problems with the help, not only of impastos, but also of exactitude in his choice of colors.
A painter is revealed to us as one of the most curious, the cleverest and the most endearing that we have met for a long time.
A work whose brilliant topic doesn't crush the desire of conciseness and originality proper to the artist, or his taste of a certain extension of reality, beyond the precision of the gesture, and the very displacement of static shapes.
LES NOUVELLES LITTERAIRES
Jean PODEVIN decomposes and recompose the plans, suggest by means of colorful spots, plays with a subtle range of deep blues in his Mediterranean marines, delight himself with light, says with blood and gold the tragic and imposing feast of the bullfights, the man and the beast bound in the same movement. Here is a painter featured by the gallery Fernand Depas, whose work it will be necessary to follow up attentively.
That he/it paints in Burgundy in Spain or in Sicily, that he/it transposes the dialogue of the sky and the sea, that he/it recovers the beauty of the couples spread on a beach, it is this same different light according to the hour or the climate, that allows him to magnify everything that his/her/its palette, to the rich tones, made pass under our eyes.
Jean PODEVIN composes and transposes the light of which he knows how to impregnate itself better than no one. His/her/its canvases are happy, resplendent of very happiness when they are not animated. More symbolist than representational he/it gives to his/its work a personal mark, a key whose burst stays a long time in the spectator's memory.
... In the young school of which very fortunately a lot of artists remained faithful to the sensation felt in front of nature, Jean PODEVIN occupies an important place.
Jean PODEVIN reveals himself as a great colorist and especially one in love with beautiful textures. The artisan technical side of the painting fascinates me. This faculty that he has of not to cool his composition is striking in his paintings.
After having valued, felt, sized up the ambient world with a non hidden pleasure, PODEVIN restitutes transposed images, decanted without excess, granting to the poetic feeling a primordial place without falling falsely into glitter
Lines of force on his canvases clear themselves from the symphonies of light enhancing the flexible joints and the major cadences, all his propositions, drawn of a most finely tuned prism of iridescent colors, are windows on the beauty of the spectacles of the world.
" He paints sounds " - While brushing the silhouettes of the Moroccan “water bearers”, I first discern the tolling of their bells: and the market is only a pretext to the juxtaposition of colored, as well as musical impressions.
For PODEVIN, Marrakech is the blinding light, the kindling of his painting. Full summer of color, all fervors caught in a clever choreography.
LA VOIX DU NORD
There is an aspect that is brutal and exploding in the painting of Jean PODEVIN. Behind the violence of the features and colors there is a sensitive artist, who knows how to translate with perfection the emotion that creates such or such landscape, or such or such feminine body.