Thursday, 9 February 2012

Francois Chevalier

Whilst visiting the RĂ©tromobile exhibition of Vintage and classic cars in Paris last week I had the enormous pleasure of meeting the extraordinary Francois Chevalier. This beguiling gentleman is a self taught artist, caricaturist and sculptor of great talent. Having run the famous Paul Ricard motor racing circuit for many years he has turned a hobby of making drawings into his main profession. He always has a small booth tucked out of the way at the show but those in the know make a beeline for it. Here you will be entertained, for he is almost as good a raconteur as he is an artist and there is always a drawing of his that is affordable and appropriate. If you're lucky there's a glass of wine on offer too. His loose style of drawing belies an innate understanding of exactly how things work, and therein lies his great skill. Sometimes he jokes with us through his monstrous inventions and adaptations of famous and historic cars....his six-wheel Bugatti Royale transporter being a great example. At other times his drawing is reportage and you are convinced that HE WAS THERE, when the event in question was aeons ago,

He doesn't confine himself to cars either. The drawing here is of a Vincent motorcycle having its clutch attended to - an event not unknown in my experience. And just look how he captures the wiseacres standing around 'assisting' the mechanic in blue with ever more helpful suggestions. The sculpture is in bronze and of Lockhart's Stutz Black Hawk in which he was killed aged but 26 years. The book jacket is of his superb 'Le Petit Bugattiste Illustre' a volume of 'cartoons' and captions.

He's a lovely chap and a fine and often humorous draughtsman. Do seek him out.