Liberating power of colour and form, her interior scenes and still lifes incorporate the exotic and the exquisite
The overwhelming delight of Nancy Delouis’s paintings comes from the liberating power of colour and form. Her interior scenes and still lifes incorporate the exotic and the exquisite, often featuring social groups such in West African marketplace or a Japonisme interior. Interweaving patterns and textures are often incised into the surface with the point of her brush. In most respects her work is purely French, following in the same aesthetic tradition that shaped the ornamentalism of Bonnard and Vuillard, the luminosity of Renoir, the plasticity of Matisse and the cloisonnism of Gauguin.
Beneath the surface of her works is a genuine sense of reserve; women read, reflect, work or bathe, alone or in groups, but always with an air of calm self-possession. Her paintings often give almost equal weight to both figures and objects, allowing them to enter into a lively dialogue of colour, form and pattern.
Nancy Delouis received no formal artistic training and yet she comes from an artistic family: her mother was an artist who carefully guided her daughter’s development; her great-uncle Henri Cheffer, who died in 1957, was a distinguished illustrator and engraver who welcomed his great-niece as a child into his studio; and Auguste Rodin, one of France’s greatest artists, was also a distant relative.
Perhaps the greatest impact on Nancy Delouis's work has come from Limoges, where she was born and still lives and works. The city’s remarkable decorative legacy and the surrounding Limousin countryside continue to shape her technique and style: “Although my subject matter is particularly intimate, I think it is very important for me and for other painters in general to commune with nature.”
This heritage helped direct Delouis towards pursuing her own life in art, and to see and record things of beauty, peace and harmony – the tranquil hallmark, along with sunlit colour, of all her artistic production. In Delouis’s paintings and pastels we are freed from busyness, noise, bluster and bad weather. Instead, we enjoy the peaceful view from a sun-drenched garden somewhere in France, or vases filled with spring flowers, or the intimate moment of a woman sleeping, or a few girl friends relaxing.
Delouis has described Gauguin as her ‘first love’ – as a child she covered the walls of her bedroom with reproductions of his work – whilst Matisse has been another artist of great significance to her.
Another French artist Pierre Bonard has been a significant influence upon Delouis. Like Delouis, Bonnard (who died in 1947) revelled both in the effects of strong sunlight and in images of the female nude, in French landscapes, interiors and still lives. And like Bonnard, Delouis often prefers to work from memory. She tends only to make a few sketches during her travels and, as she says, ‘I paint mainly in the imagination, before going to the country, and again on my return, creating a relationship between the imaginary and the real.' She can revisit in her paintings a scene, a place that she actually saw many years before. It is this, perhaps, that gives so much of her work its attractive, dreamlike quality.
Recent Solo Exhibitions
2019 Messum's, London
2015 Messum’s, London
2012 Messum’s, London
2009 Messum’s, London
2004 Messum’s, London
2002 Messum’s, London
2000 Messum’s, London
Alfa Gallery, Le Havre
Much Gallery, Nantes
Jean André Gallery, Paris
Ellen Richard Gallery, Zurich
Le Chèvre d’Or Gallery, St. Paul de Vence
Terre des Arts Gallery, Lyon
Terre des Arts Gallery, Cannes
Chisseaux Gallery, Paris
Walter Gallery, St. Paul de Vence
Chateau de la Bertrandière Gallery, St. Etienne
Artset Gallery, Limoges
The Cultural Centre in Issoudun
Terre des Arts Gallery, Paris