(Chantal Andrea Barthélémy)
I was born in the south of France, near Marseille, and grew up in Avignon.
I’ve been living and working in Provence for several years.
When I was 17 years old I loved painting, so I enrolled in an art restoration programme and graduated four years later.
In 1982, I opened an art gallery and workshop in Avignon.
I restored paintings for churches and private individuals. Though I continued to paint while I was practising this rigorous profession. I also organised cultural exchanges in Europe.
From 1984 to 1990, I exhibited my paintings at prestigious venues, alongside other artists’ creations.
Distraught by my father’s death in 1991, I re-evaluated my life and my choices.
I decided to work less and go back to school. I thought it would help me deal with the painful loss of my father.
I attended Aix-Marseille University in Provence, while continuing to practise my profession. I studied art, culture and Chinese civilization. Ever since I was a teenager, I had a long-standing aspiration to design Chinese ideograms (graphic symbols used to represent words). The combination of drawing and writing fascinated me. I specialised in Chinese and obtained my Bachelor degree in Art and Languages. I continued to receive art restoration requests and was awarded the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Grand Prize for Restoration and Cultural Heritage Preservation in 1997. Although it was exciting, I began to abandon my core business more and more as I felt a real need to paint. I obviously had a choice to make.
I decided to study Chinese painting at the Hangzhou National Academy of Fine Arts in China, near Shanghai.
I loved the classes I was taking and I chose to study the “ShanShui” (Mountains and Water) style of painting. I discovered a mindset and concepts that were new to me. I learned, for example, that empty space frees the imagination. Philosophically speaking, a painter must merge with nature to capture life’s rhythm and draw inspiration from it. The act of painting requires this type of preparation.
I remember those magical moments when our entire class (both the teacher and students) left the academy. We biked to the surrounding countryside so that we could listen to nature and feel its vitality: we observed the dew glistening on the tea fields. A family of tea farmers invited us to enjoy their tea in religious silence. At that moment, time seemed to stand still. Back at the workshop, these moments of observation and contemplation were transcribed in accordance with our feelings.
When I returned to France, I closed my gallery-workshop in Avignon once and for all. I wanted to live out my passion, and I needed to find myself through painting.
In 1999, I became a member of the Paris Maison des artistes to formalize my new status as a painter. My studies at the Hangzhou National Academy of Fine Arts enabled me to participate in various art shows throughout Asia, mainly in China.
In July 2006,
I was invited to present
a retrospective account
of my 30-year painting career at
the National Gallery
Two of my works
added to the gallery’s collection.
« La Provençale ” [“Provençal Woman”], oil on canvas – 170 x 117 cm »
« Les Dentelles de Montmirail”, acrylic and silver leaf on canvas 130 x 97 cm »
Unfortunately, a heavy burden awaited me in 2007 as I learned that my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. I did my best to care for her in the years that followed.
Her diagnosis prompted me to research art therapy for the elderly. My mother often used to paint in her spare time, and I wanted to find ways to encourage her to do what she loved.
It worked for a while, but she eventually forgot who she was. She couldn’t remember her life history and called me mum…
The flame went out little by little, and my mother died in June 2015.
During those years (from 2008 to 2015), I was invited to participate in the Beijing International Art Biennials. My artwork gave my life meaning and helped relieve my anxiety.
« Maybe that’s what I’m trying to achieve when I paint, particularly when my fantasies include contemplative characters who exude a certain rhythm.
They represent introspection.
Painting is an internal adventure. It requires great concentration. I have to gather my thoughts and engage in an inner struggle against oneself.»
1984 – Franco-Polish Cultural Exchange, placed under the Patronage of the Ministry of Culture:
First Edition: Palais des Papes (Theology Room), AVIGNON
Second Edition: Palace of Culture and Science (Studio Theatre), WARSAW– POLAND
1985 – Galerie Akademia Exhibition, TOULOUSE
1987 – Retrospective Exhibition, “Ten Years of Painting”, Galerie Andrea, AVIGNON
1988 – Salon des Indépendants, Grand Palais, PARIS
1989 – Franco-Belgian Cultural Exchange, placed under the Patronage of the Vaucluse Department:
First Edition: Museum of Walloon Art (St. George Room), LIÈGE – BELGIUM
Second Edition: Palais des Papes (Theology Room), AVIGNON
1993 –Europ’Art Exhibition, PALEXPO, GENEVA – SWITZERLAND
1999 –Europ’Art Exhibition, Exhibition Centre, BEIJING – CHINA
2000 – Nichifutsu Art Exhibition, International Convention Centre, OSAKA – JAPAN
2000 –Europ’Art Exhibition, Exhibition Centre, BEIJING – CHINA
2000 – Shanghai Art Exhibition, Exhibition Centre, SHANGHAI – CHINA
2001 – Wanshou Temple Exhibition (Meditation Room), BEIJING – CHINA
2001 – 2001 Art Exhibition, International Convention Centre, OSAKA – JAPAN
2001 – Shanghai Art Exhibition, Exhibition Centre, SHANGHAI – CHINA
2002 – Women Artists Exhibition, Exhibition Centre, BEIJING – CHINA
2002 – Shanghai Art Exhibition, Exhibition Centre, SHANGHAI – CHINA
2002 – Contemporary Art Triennale, Grande Arche de La Défense, PARIS
2003 – Art Forum Exhibition, Convention Centre, MONTREUX – SWITZERLAND
2003 – Kunst Event Exhibition, Bouwcentrum Antwerp Expo, ANTWERP– BELGIUM
2004 – Shanghai Art Exhibition, Exhibition Centre, SHANGHAI – CHINA
(ANDREA represented the city of MARSEILLE)
2004 – Aumônerie St Jacques Exhibition, GORDES (VAUCLUSE)
2004 – Kunst Event Exhibition, Bouwcentrum Exhibition Centre, ROTTERDAM – NETHERLANDS
2004 – Shanghai Art Exhibition, Exhibition Centre, SHANGHAI – CHINA
2005 and 2006 – BA Gallery Neptun Platz Exhibition, COLOGNE – GERMANY
2006 – Art Exhibition, Town Hall, ELASSONA – GREECE
2006 – Remp’Art Exhibition, Palais des Papes Convention Centre (Jeanne Laurent Building), AVIGNON
Cultural exchange with Cambodian artists.
2006 – Retrospective Exhibition, “30 Years of Painting”, National Gallery, BANGKOK – THAILAND
2007 – International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Fortezza da Basso Exhibition Centre, FLORENCE – ITALY
2008 – BEIJING International Art Biennial, National Art Museum, BEIJING – CHINA
2010 – BEIJING International Art Biennial, National Art Museum, BEIJING – CHINA
2012 – BEIJING International Art Biennial, National Art Museum, BEIJING – CHINA
2012 – International Art Festival, Institut de France, YANGON – MYANMAR (formerly BURMA)
2013 – “Les Elles de Pompadour” Exhibition, Château de Pompadour, ARNAC-POMPADOUR
2014 – SANTORINI International Art Biennial, MESSARIA/FIRA – SANTORINI ISLAND – GREECE
2015 – BEIJING International Art Biennial, National Art Museum, BEIJING – CHINA
2016 – International Art Exhibition, Yan Huang Art Museum, BEIJING – CHINA
2017 – Atlantic Arts, Espace Encan, LA ROCHELLE
Late May 2018 – PARIS Art Shopping Exhibition, Carrousel du Louvre, PARIS
Early June 2018 – International Contemporary Art Fair, Luxexpo The Box LUXEMBOURG