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ORIGINAL PAINTINGS BY MICHAEL FRENCH

GICLEES BY MICHAEL FRENCH

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XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXMICHAEL FRENCH
XXXXMichael French is an internationally recognized artist. Born in 1951; over the past forty six years he has exhibited in Toronto, Montreal, New York, Paris and San Miguel de Allende. Michael moved to England in 1957 where he started school. His father Dr. Barry French was a professor and recipient of the Order of Canada, awards from NASA and the Canadian Space Agency. Michael´s mother, Gloria French, was a teacher in normal and specialized education most of her life. When Michael was young he lived and travelled with the family extensively throughout Europe which had an influence on his painting subjects in the years to come.
In 1972 Michael met the American realist Andrew Wyeth in South Cushing Maine. Wyeth was supportive while giving Michael valuable advice regarding the art world and painting techniques. Wyeth was a tremendous influence in French’s earlier work. Michael corresponded with Mr. Wyeth including sending him invitations, and catalogues from major exhibitions Michael had in cities such as New York and Paris.


XXXXIn the same year that Michael met Andrew Wyeth, Michael joined the Roberts gallery in Toronto where he exhibited for the next 25 years. At that time the Roberts Gallery was definitely one of the most prestigious galleries in Canada representing artists such as A.J.Casson, Lemieux and Tom Forrestal. The early shows in the Roberts Gallery coincided with a period of time in which Michael was home steading in Newfoundland, where he mostly survived by hunting moose, caribou, waterfowl, caught fish, cut and chopped fire wood to heat his home, heat water and cook with. He spent about half of the day doing survival chores and the other half painting by natural light. Sometimes Michael would go in to the country or Barrens of Newfoundland and lived off the land using his survival skills for two or three months at a time drawing and photographing subjects for his paintings.  All of his paintings from this period were painted on art board composed with acid free paper. He painted in acrylic using watercolor techniques. His subjects were often of the ocean, buildings, wild life and people.


XXXXAfter the home steading period he moved to Quebec in 1983 where he lived alternately between two residences, an apartment with a large bay window overlooking the Plains of Abraham in old Quebec city and a stone farmhouse dating back to the “Regime Francais” on the Ile D´Orleans which had a view towards the estuary of the St. Lawrence River. During the Quebec period of years, (1983 to 2002) Michael painted on solid acrylic panels. His subjects were similar to the Newfoundland subjects, but often were more surrealistic and painted from memory.  In the mid 80´s Michael entered the Basmadjian Gallery in Paris. There he had group exhibitions and a major solo exhibition in 1987. As a result, Richard Humphrey, a dealer from New York invited Michael to exhibit in the Humphrey Gallery in the East Village. Michael exhibited there until the early 90s and had a major exhibition in the Humphrey when it opened the new gallery on Broadway.


XXXXAfter the Humphrey gallery years, Michael worked with James Whitfield in New York, a former dealer with the Findlay Gallery and he had an exhibition in the Dennis Di Lorenzo Gallery just off Madison and 62nd and two exhibitions in the Forbes Gallery Museum just North of Washington Square on Fifth Avenue in conjunction with James. Michael has had a long professional relationship and friendship with the Forbes family which exists to this day. The Forbes family have acquired 17 of his paintings over the years. The last commission was a portrait of Adelaide Forbes, Christopher (Kip) Forbes´ 
grand daughter in 2012.


XXXXMichael worked with the Hammer Gallery in New York for three years after his exhibition in the year 2000 in the Forbes Museum. After Michael´s second exhibition in the Forbes Museum, Michael was represented by the Findlay Gallery in New York for a short period of time. Michael has had representation and many exhibitions in New York by five different galleries and James Whitfield.


XXXXAt the end of 2002 Michael moved to San Miguel De Allende where he now resides with his Mexican, Canadian family. He works in his studio most days except for vacation time spent on the family´s 50 foot Hinckley sail boat, sailing on the Pacific Coast of Mexico or in Canada. His subjects include seascapes, San Miguel street scenes, still lives, people and landscapes of Canada in the Canadian Shield areas such as Muskoka, Lake of the Woods and Georgian Bay. The move to Mexico coincided with Michael´s work becoming more focused on hyper-realism than the partially surrealist work of the Quebec period. In 2005 Michael started working with the prestigious Kinsman Robinson Gallery in Toronto. They have had many successful exhibitions over the last 10 years.


Michael paints images from reality, carefully composing the compositions, looking at photographs he has taken of his subject before he even starts the painting process on panels. His work often reflects the influence of the great early 20th century European surrealists, such as Magritte. A noted aspect of his paintings is the extreme light which sometimes borders on the surreal.


XXXXHis work now figures prominently in major public and private collections around the world including those of  HRH. Prince Charles, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and President George W.Bush , who gave Michael´s commissioned portrait of Mr. Bush to his Presidential Library. President Goerge W. Bush invited  Michael as a VIP guest to the inauguration ceremony of the Presidential Library. The MC. was then, Governor George Bush and the guest speakers were Nancy Reagen, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton , Jimmy Carter and of course George Walker Bush.. Michael did the tour of the museum with Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Whitfield. In 1995 when the Forbes family started collecting Michael work, Christopher Forbes essentially became Michael’s patron in New York.. Christopher Forbes presented one of Michael’s paintings to HRH. Prince Of Wales. In 2011 one of Michael´s paintings, a street scene from San Miguel, was presented to President Felipe Calderón of México which is now in his personal collection.
For more 46 years Michael has had a total of thirty 37 group exhibitions and 28 solo exhibitions since his first solo show in 1968 in the McCready gallery in downtown Toronto.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXTECHNIQUE
XXXX
Michael’s paintings are always from images he has seen in real life.  He extracts only the most important elements from memory or later from a photograph. By eliminating all of the extraneous or unimportant, cluttering objects in a composition Michael creates a reality that conveys a sense of harmony, balance and calm where the environment seems perfect or pristine. Photographs sometimes help by freezing the changing conditions such as changing light or flowers wilting, etc.. Michael can study the unchanging photo image for a much longer period of time, which is necessary for highly detailed subjects such as the execution of a portrait. In Michael’s more recent hyper-realistic paintings this advantage is very important.  Much of the art process if using photographs, is in the original capture of the image. Still, working from memory, a photograph or reality, what is really essential is the composition, that incorporates balance, negative and positive, color balance and the design, lighting and textures all of which have to reflect the image forming in the artist´s mind.
XXXXMichael painted on acid free art board panels for approximately the first fifteen years of his career. He, then painted on sanded acrylic panels for almost another twenty years. In the last 13 years Michael has returned to painting on acid free art board panels that he has specially constructed. The image from the photograph or from his mind is usually transferred by pencil to the art panel. Some artists like Vermeer used lenses to accomplish this and in modern time artists use various techniques by example projection, tracing, using a grid or other tricks of the trade.
XXXXThe next stage in his painting process is the under painting, which is done totally by airbrush of the sky and water by example and always in acrylic. Airbrush is essentially a very fine spray. The reason why the under painting is not normally done in oil is because layers of oil over many years tend to crack but if only the over painting is done in oil or glazes there is little risk of eventual cracking. Michael has occasionally done the total under painting in black to white in oil and then glazed in the color only as was the technique used by the Flemish masters but normally he under paints in acrylic which is a far more stable medium and far more suitable for airbrush under painting.
XXXXMichael has his art panels constructed out of art board made with 100% acid free, rag cotton, archival thick paper (sometimes with a texture) which is also opaque white. When painting on these panels Michael can achieve the luminosity often apparent in his work using thin glazes for color. The paintings are then varnished many times with thin coats of museum quality synthetic varnish (that will not yellow, crack or bloom like natural resin damar varnish) and the paintings are usually framed in real 22 carat gold.

 

SOME CORPORATE AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

George Bush Presidential Library
Forbes Magazine Museum,
Bank of Nova Scotia
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
CIT
AGF Management
RBC Dominion Securities
Davies, Ward, Phillips and Vineberg
Gordon Securities
Heenan and Blakie
YMG Capital Management
Hiram Walker
Lloyds Bank
Great West Life London Life
McCarthy, Thetrault
Borealis
T D, Canada Trust
CAE Industries
Xerox
Manulife-John Hancock Financial
SNC Lavalin
Cumberland Wealth Management
Royal Bank of Canada
James Richardson and Sons Kenora Public Art Gallery
Art Gallery of Ontario

 

SOME PRIVATE COLLECTIONS

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales
President Felipe Calderón of México
Hon. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney
Hon. Frank Moores, estate
Hon. John Aird, estate
Hon. Barney Danson,estate
Hon. Don Jamieson, estate
Anne Murray, Singer, Performer
Christopher and Astrid Forbes,Forbes Magazine
Craig Dobbin estate, Canadian Helicopter Corporation
David Sobey estate, Sobey´s  store
Douglas Mackay Former, RBC Dominion Securities
Fraser Fell Former, RBC Dominion Securities
Garnet Watchorn President, Graywoods
Stephan & Adriana Benediktson,
Susan Glass and Arni Thorsteinson, President Canadian Shelter Co.
(Member World Presidents Organization)
Duncan and Judy Jessiman, President Bison Transport.
(Member World Presidents Organization)
William and Donna Lovatt, former CFO London Life and Great West Life
Dr. Steven and Elizabeth Funk. CEO Dignity Fund. (Member World Presidents Organization)
Blane and Barbara King, Former President Shoppers Optical
Gerry Connor, Cumberland RCB Management
Gordon Ritchie Past President, RBC Dominion Securities, New York
Irving Ungerman, Philanthropist, estate
Jeanne Beker, Television Celebrity
Dr. And Mrs. J. Barry French
Kenneth Field President, Invest Corp.
Jim Meekeson, President Trimin Capital Corp.
Mark Wettlaufer Past President, Asset Management Toronto Dominion Bank
Moe Koffman, Flutist musician estate
Peter Widdirington Estate,  Past Deputy, Commissioner of Major League Baseball
Peter Bronfman, estate
Brian Robbins, Exco Tecnology Ltd.
Ron Meade, Altamira Mutual Funds
Jim Thomson, Thomson Terminals
Jean Paul Leroy, Seprim Paris, France
Warren Thomson, Executive Vice-President & Chief Investment Officer, Manulife Financial
Marvin and Lynda Barnett
Robert Foster President, Canada Capital
Robin Korthals Former President, Toronto Dominion Bank
James McSherry, Vice-President Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Reay Mackay past Vice Chairman, Royal Bank
Timothy Danson, Trial Lawyer
Timothy Price Chairman, Trilon
Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Breukelman Former Owner IMAX & Sciex
Estate Monroe Meyerson, Radiology Corporation of America
Ron Joyce, founder of Tim Hortons
Pierre Lasonde, past CEO and President of Newmount Mining
Hartley Richardson, Richardson and Sons
Scott Beattie , Owner and CEO of Elizabeth Arden Cosmetis William M. Tatham Chairman
CEO of Nex J Systems John and Sheryl Teed John
Elizabeth Irving, Irving Oil
Henry Fiorilo, Value Gap
Ginde and Jacobo Becker, Diamond importers, México
Louise Kennedy , Fashion Designer Dublin,London