The Les Roches Rouges team invited several young contemporary artists to decorate the walls of the hotel. Their works are frequently abstract, executed in glowing colours recalling the Mediterranean light that has always inspired painters, some of who have even painted directly onto the wall, as Le Corbusier did in the iconic Eileen Gray-designed villa E1027.
Brian de Graft, the surrealist eye
It was while browsing the social networks that the hotel design team first came across the work of German-born Brian de Graft, whose surrealist collages overlay old photos with sheets of coloured paper. Graft, a former student of cinema and literature now based in Amsterdam, gave up a career in journalism to devote himself to art. His work is a dizzying mix of shapes and colours, with large gleaming areas overlaying charcoal sketches, record covers or images on paper. Working in mixed media, Brian de Graft has drawn inspiration from plants and the sea for the glowing images that he has created to adorn the walls of the hotel bedrooms.
Rosemarie Auberson, from sky blue to midnight blue
Many students find themselves obliged to set aside their artistic ambitions to focus on work that will help them pay the bills. American Rosemarie Auberson turned to graphic design after art school for just that reason, but she quickly found that, thanks to social networks and exhibitions, her work as an artist was beginning to take precedence over her graphic art commissions. In her paintings, executed on different types of paper, she explores the relationship between colour, shape, line and surface. Les Roches Rouges inspired a series of twelve large-format paintings based on a palette of blues ranging from pastel hues to inky blue, each refracting and reflecting the crystalline Mediterranean light from the walls of the hotel bedrooms.
Jean André: if walls could speak
Jean André calls himself a “gentleman artist”. His subject is the female form, which he reveals in sketches, paintings and engravings, all imbued with a characteristic and contemporary sensuality.
At Les Roches Rouges, inspired by the wall frescos of Cocteau, le Corbusier, Matisse and Man Ray, Jean André has painted landscapes that tend towards abstraction, and female silhouettes. Some of his works are expresssed in shades of Provencal ochre, as though in dialogue with the landscape. He creates large-scale paintings as well as smaller works that reveal themselves as delightful and unexpected surprises.
Guy Bareff, master of clay
During the 1970s, ceramics enjoyed a renaissance in popularity influenced by the school of Vallauris, just west of Antibes, where Picasso lived and worked. In subsequent decades, potters tended to use less organic, more high-tech materials. One of them, clay specialist Guy Bareff, made large numbers of wall lamps and other “illuminating objects” for hotels, before turning to painting, yoga and interior decoration.
In 2014, Guy was discovered by gallery owners Benjamin Desprez and Hélène Breheret. Since then, his studio in Les Baux-de-Provence has gone back into full-scale operation and his work has been shown in a leading New York gallery. Guy has made a series of mask-shaped light fixtures for Les Roches Rouges, crafted in raw clay from his beloved Alpilles mountains.
Claire Oswalt: blues and pinks
Austin, Texas-based artist Claire Oswalt works instinctively, seeking harmonies of form and colour and applying them to large sheets of paper in spontaneous abstract shapes. Then she develops these in a more restrained and intuitive manner, painting and repainting in a palette of blues and pale pinks until she achieves just the right balance. Her calm, delicate aesthetic provides a counterpoint for the buzz of the hotel.
Caroline Denervaud, and the colour was …
Artist Caroline Denervaud is a former dancer who has transformed her passion for movement into painting. She draws, paints and collages spontaneous, unplanned gestures whose rawness she leaves untouched. The Les Roches Rouges team was very taken with her abstract paintings, and invited her to decorate the hotel’s bedrooms. Inspired by the play of colour, she works with multiple shades of blue and red that she harmonises with browns, pinks, yellows and ochres. She works in pastels that she rubs with her fingers, to create a dense, velvety depth of colour, echoing the abstract harmony of colours that she creates in her Paris studio.
Antoine Ricardou: the great blue yonder
Antoine is the founder of be-poles, the company that carried out the art direction for Les Roches Rouges. He is also a passionate photographer and sailor. His pictures for the hotel’s bedrooms, taken on the open water, are stark silhouettes drenched in blinding Mediterranean sunlight.