precedent return precedent page
Docteur en Histoire de l'Art
The Museum Antoine Lecuyer's Curator
Saint Quentin - France

retrospective de 1981 a 1987
Retrospective de Pastels Pierre Risch de 1981 a 1987

" Because we respect this spirit as defined above and we believe in it,  we have chosen to exhibit today the work of Pierre Risch, one of these contemporary artists who has understood all the possibilities given by the use of pastels. For the past twenty years, Pierre Risch has focused mainly on work on paper, first Lithography, then Engraving, then Watercolour. So by a natural process he came to Pastels, guessing the satisfaction that the technique would give him, and wishing too that with his talent, he would give it back its true worth, or at least its own identity and its unique originality.

This is where the artist's worth lies : he is contributing back into favour an endearing technique which is too often thought as minor and which is so little - known. He shows us convincingly the various possibilities of plastic expressions that it offers artists of our time. Pierre Risch can also prove that Pastel is not only synonymous with soft colours and realistic portraits, flowers or landscapes. So when he discovers the Venice Carnival, he foresees that the theme will enable him to fully express what he wants to say.

He then becomes the First French painter who works on the theme of carnivals: Bale, Binche and mostly Venice that he has followed since 1981 and chosen (like a thunderbolt, the tltle of one of his paintings) to be the central core of his work as a pastel artist. "What a delight, what a wealth of colours and movement, what a treat for the eyes and the mind!" he says.
For the past six years he has endeavoured with much sensitivity to protray the most subtle nuances of make up and masks, of shimmering fabrics and whirls of sparkling costumes. "The world we live in is so sad that I wanted to produce something that is happy" he adds.
Pierre Risch has become the painter of Celebrations and colour, as well as the friend of all the characters of the Italian Comedy who live in his paintings. He has become the confidante of all the likely lads at a party, of the clowns and the jolly people dancing the Sarabande, of Harlequin, and Pierrot, occasionally surprised in his loneliness on the shore of the lagoon, and so many others.
Nothing escapes him of that ambience so peculiar to Venice at that time of year dedicated to entertainment, beginning the day of Epiphany and finishing at the start of lent, on Ash Wednesday. He knows the atmosphere, both relaxed and full of mystery, generated by the men and women who over centuries love dressing up to forget during several hours the blandness, the mist and finally the dream and the unreal that are so present in his paintings.
Pierre Risch is also the painter of movement, poses caught on the spot, and feelings expressed with equal spontaneity and truth in every one of his characters.
He is a witness to the complicity that unities two hearts as they meet by chance ( Histoire Sans Paroles, Seuls Au Monde, Coup de Grisou au Coeur, Une Histoire Simple,  Voyage Intemporel...  so many expressive titles!), or to human warmth felt at Florian's, but he participates as well to the preludes to the festivities and he does not forget the morning after the carnival, when the music has stopped, and fun has turned into indifference (Loin De La Rumeur, Fini, La Musique, Il Suffit D'y Croire...).
Today our exhibition shows the evolution of the Venice Carnival over more than six years, as well as the work of a painter whose approach, as he says himself, is essentially based on that hteme to demonstrate, and more, that everything is possible with pastels. To the ambience he depicts, at times cool, wet, nostalgic, at times warm, exuberant and carefree, he matches a shade, sometimes dominated by greens, greys and blues, often awakened by yellows and bright reds, symbols of celebration and joy.
With his handwriting where the fathoms all secrets, he translates with surprising mastery, the thousand different shimmers of the rain, of clouds, of mist, or of the water sparkling in grey daylight. Therefore, his style reminds us of the Impressionists. At other times though, the nervous hatchings have replaced the juxtaposed dabs of paint and they take over the flat tints to render, in a style more akin to frottage, more shimmering, indeed very free and modern, the richness and variety of the outfits, enhanced by a few collages of fabrics or precious stones, in an obvious effort to make them more realistic.
In short, Pierre Risch, who has been exhibited countless times in France (Strasbourg, Dieppe, Lyon, Chamonix, Les Ullis and of Paris) and abroad (Belgium, Switzerland...), not forgetting New York in the past few years, whose work it must be said, is already in public collections as well as private. Pierre Risch enchanting work offers us a very personal and endearing vision of the most famous of Carnivals, Venice.
This lover of the Venitian Celebration invites us through his work to share his enthusiasm, he conveys his share of enchantment and dream, he invites us to participate in the bewitching mystery of his eternal city. We must thank him for that. To conclude, and as a well deserved reward, I would like, with his permission, to mention the parallel with the great poet Theophile Gautier, who was himself, more than a century ago fascinated by the Venice Carnival."