It is at "La Cheminée Bleue" (The Blue Chimney) , their workshop, that Simone and Henri Jean realize with four hands their engravings.
For these dreams surveyors, travelers of memories, in love with papers, traces and signs, the hand that trims, digs, scratches, inks and caresses is their guide on this journey of emotion and knowledge.
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" It is for me a genuine emotion to pay my respects to the great artist and the noble-hearted man who has been Henri Jean. Great by his talent and by his works that will remain engraved in time, but also by a humanism that hasn't ceased to inhabit him all along his life. The retrospective devoted to him today is here to recall us of this.
His works, let's speak about it! Full of imaginaries, of oneiric characters and of influences as diverse as the Latin-American mural frescos, the Egyptian art or the abstract art, rich of a large range of warm colours and matters with pronounced relief, they don't cease talking to us and telling us secret stories, at the same time intimate and universal. From that alchemy, born of a long bond with Simone, his companion, comes the emotion proper to any work of art. Simone and Henri Jean’s etchings and compositions are known all over the world. In Chile, first, where he did his first exhibition, in France, of course, but also in Mexico, in Japan, in Canada, in The United States, in Australia, in Spain by way of Malaysia and Korea. That is saying if their recognition has largely exceeded our French hexagonal borders! And that is because Simone and Henri’s works speak a language common to all, the one of art. Simply take some of their etchings or paintings like ‘l’Oiseau Moqueur’ (‘The Teasing Bird’), ‘Bleu Lumière’ (‘Light Blue’), ‘Amours Volubiles’ (‘Voluble Loves’), ‘Trois Masques’ (‘Three Masks’) or even ‘Venise’ (‘Venice’) and let yourself get carried away into vaster horizons.
But these numerous exhibitions around the world haven’t dampened the enthusiasm that drove them, the one of knowing the other. Exhibiting in New York or St Petersburg never put a stop to them taking part into local events in the Pays Mellois that had adopted them. They knew well how to pass on to us their simplicity at the service of art. They brought their teaching skills all the way to schools and universities either through workshops in their beloved Cheminée Bleue –the workshop in their house- or through the talks they have given. Simone and Henri Jean had their proper vision of the world, a vision that they projected onto their art. Their explanations could even put shed light on technical terms such as “Amate”, “Aquatinte” or even “Guillochage”. They would animate themselves to make up an alchemy and, as said Henri “remonter loin, très loin, pour parler du present, aux presents, au vivant, maintenant” (“Go back away, far away, to talk of the present, to the presents, to the living, now”).
“Poetry is the inside singing" as said Chateaubriand. In more ways than one, Henri was also a poet, today, we miss him but I wish all of those who came to (re)discover his works to pierce some of the mysteries living in each of these. "
Current French minister and former candidate for the French presidential election