French toast to nature
Gaze at artist Maite Delteil’s artworks, and you realise an intense fascination with rounded trees in full bloom and birds, a penchant for using vibrant colours and a harmony of structure. Titled Enchanted, the latest series of artworks by the French artist depict nature in all its glory and is inspired by her childhood. Through the passage of seasons she also draws attention to the process of creation, destruction and regeneration that is evidenced in nature.
Explaining her fascination with nature-based themes, Delteil recalls, “I was born and lived amid nature. In our house, we had a big garden with all kinds of flowers, and a very big old tree. We had an apple orchard and cherry trees, redcurrant and gooseberry bushes. So, it is only natural that the foliage has crept into my work.”
Slow and precious
Delteil has been working on the 30-odd paintings of various sizes, which are on display, over the last three years and she is exhibiting in the city after a span of six years. “My process is extremely slow and detailed. So, it takes me time to prepare for an exhibition. I don’t like to rush into it; I spend a lot of time enjoying the process. Though I am displaying some large works, I have also done a series of small, miniature, 1 x 1 foot artworks, without losing any of the intricate detailing of the larger works. My compositions are not premeditated — there is a natural harmonious symmetry,” she states.
While her style marks her as unique, she refuses to define her style of art: “Every artist has his or her vocabulary; my work has its own unique space. Every phase of an artist’s life is influenced by many factors, and this then projects itself in the work. This present body of work is more vibrant though it is not an intentional shift.” She also admits to not having any favourite artwork as each work brings with it a certain joy and certain anxieties. “But I have enjoyed doing the series on seasons (a suite of four paintings of the exact landscape in four seasons). I also feel the work entitled The Bride has a deep sensitivity,” she states.
Art scape stories
Delteil studied art in France at the Ecole Des Beaux-Arts, Academie de la Grand Chaumiere, Academic Julian and National School of Art. She also won a fellowship from the Government of France to study in Spain and Greece. “Following my art education, I worked under painter Chapelain-Midy and engraver Cami. I travelled extensively in Europe, absorbing the various cultures and visiting all the museums.
I have exhibited my works in France, Germany, USA and UK. Japan holds a special place in my heart — the people there respond to my works with great sensitivity and I have had several shows there. I married Sakti Burman in 1963, and was then exposed to Indian art. There is a lot in common in our two cultures and I have enjoyed exhibiting my works in India. Being married to a Bengali, and spending time in India, there is bound to be subtle influences. I have also done some works featuring Durga,”
Delteil is closely associated with Art Musings Gallery — this being her third solo exhibition with the Gallery. The Gallery has also released a coffee table book, which documents Delteil’s works spanning her entire career, rare photographs of the artist with her family and in-depth writing. “The monograph covers varied aspects of my life and work, documenting works from the early 50s to the most recent, along with in-depth writing by Dr Alka Pande, Anupa Mehta and Ranjit Hoskote,” she summarises.
Till February 2
At Art Musings Gallery, Admirality Building, Colaba Cross Lane, Colaba.
Enchanted, Maite Delteil, After Image Publishing, Rs 3,000. Available at Art Musings Gallery.