Durand: Allegorical Portraits

April 2019

Since he was eight years old André Durand has been painting portraits. His mother taught him how to get a likeness in the belief that it would provide him with a stable income, especially in England. The wrinkles of old people are so easy to capture and so he started with his grandparents. He then moved on to character studies as a child - pirates, gypsies, shepherds, fishermen slowly progressing to portraits of women and children.

 

In the 80’s he began to incorporate portraits into allegories as most of the old masters like Rubens, Rembrandt, Raphael, had done using the people around them. Durand is aware that it is easier to engage with a narrative when you can identify with the people depicted. He switches from formal portrait to allegory with ease, although formal portraits require an entirely different approach - formal sittings such as the artist had with Saint John Paul II and the HH Dalai Lama.

 

Durand enriched his colour palette 2010-2016 in Sperlonga, Italy, intensifying the reds, purples and pinks, to increase the ethereal quality to his work. Like all of us, Durand deals with electric light in our garishly coloured contemporary world, not at all like the 15th - 18th century in a candlelit epoch before electricity was invented. He is very aware of the psychology and power of colour. and sometimes brings the colour tones to a very high pitch, contrary to what one would expect in Dorset. 

 

Church Farm Fine Art will accept special portrait commissions on behalf of André Durand