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SIMON FLETCHER Biography 2018
Etudes de Beaux Arts, Southern University of the Arts, Angleterre
BA en 1971.
1972 – 1975 Dessinateur pour paysagistes 'Gardenesque et Cie'
1976 Formation de sa companie 'Simon Fletcher Landscapes' à Oxford. Directeur de l'Oxford Printmakers Cooperative.
1980 1re prix pour paysage, British Landscape Awards
1982 S'installe en France.
1983 Diplome d'Honneur, Salon d'Agde, France.
1983 1re prix pour l'aquarelle, Mouvement Artistique Française.
1988 1re sejour en Allemagne, premiers expositions à Dusseldorf
1994 Publication de son livre 'L'Aquarelle, Art de la Transparence'
1997 Publication de son livre 'Das Pastel'.
Sponsorisé par Deutsche Telecom et La Commune de Ravello pour expositions
2000 Medaille d'or, Salon International de Beziers.
Sponsorisé par Hitachi Corporation pour visite au Japon, livre et expo musee
2001 Musee d'Art Contemporain Beziers, retrospective
2003 Musee de Siena, SS Quirico, Italie, avec catalogue
2003 Embassade Britanique d'Oman, ouevres recentes
2004 The Economist, Frankfurt, expo sponsorisé
2006 James Rothschild, exposition ouevres recentes
2016 Musee d'art Modern, Salerno Italie, avec catalogue.
2019 Creation d'un fresque mural de 70m² pour Salle de Spectacle ESAT Plaisance, France
Entrre 1990 et 2008 l'artiste était professeur de dessin et
l'aquarelle en plusieurs établissements Allemands.
Il a publié douze livres en trois langues.
Ses ouevres figurent dans les collections Royals, publique et privé dans le monde
Pour plus d'information www.simonfletcher.org
Simon Fletcher by Catherine Milner
Simon Fletcher “I never cease observing landscape and finding the ineffable logic therein,” says Simon Fletcher, the artist who has made the South of France the principal subject of his watercolours for the last thirty years. The stripes and cubes, whorls and dashes in his pictures, provide a uniquely satisfying and unorthodox structure to his works. Their colour - luminous, transparent sweeps of teal and aquamarine; violet, lavender and ochre - appears to have emanated directly from the Mediterranean landscape. This is the terrain that inspired Cezanne and Matisse. Like them, the flourishes of natural design in the frond of a fern or the spears of a cactus are relished by Fletcher whose paintings reflect the relentless order of Nature as well as its anomalies. Fletcher’s latest works are drawn not only from the South of France but also from Morocco where the dry woodland and succulent cacti contrast with the limpid, turquoise sea, beyond. There are also views of the Orb Valley in the South of France with its hanging gardens at Roquebrun, a village beloved by the Romans. St Martin de l'Arcon in the Orb valley overlooking the confluence of the Jaur and Orb rivers is another subject and the picture of the blue tree was done at Cessenon in a very ancient winery, probably dating back to pre Roman times where the 'flow' of the landscape use can still be seen. “I'm a classicist and love the way the Romans were so site specific about their building,” says Fletcher. “Pliny for instance gives a discourse on how villas should be sited on a gentle South Eastern facing slope with overhanging eaves to protect from the summer sun.” It is the combination of classical precision and order and modern vibrancy and vigour that makes Fletcher’s paintings so timeless and enduringly pleasurable to look at.
Catherine Milner 2013
Catherine Milner was, for more than ten years, the Arts Correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph and has written about contemporary art for a number of newspapers and magazines including the Financial Times, The Economist, Apollo Magazine and Art Review.
"The Way of The Moving Brush" watercolours of Japan and Germany by Simon Fletcher. Forword by Toshio Watanabe
'We can detect artistic affinities between Britain and Japan; Simon Fletcher's evocative brush strokes are continuing this tradition. He has found inspiration in Japan just as John Varley had done over a century earlier.'
Toshio Watanabe is head of research at Chelsea School of Art, London
A Portrait of the Artist, Simon Fletcher by Rupert Wright
I first met Simon Fletcher about ten years ago in the south of France. The event was the launch party of my book Notes from the Languedoc, but just ten minutes of talking convinced me that he knew the region better than I ever would. Even so he was very generous in his praise of my efforts, something that was particularly striking, as artists are generally curmudgeonly souls, as inclined to praise as a football manager is to say a good word about the opposition.
Ask any artist what they think of Pablo Picasso and they will reply: “A fair draughtsman”. Or Matisse: “A tolerable colourist”. But Simon was kind, praising my enthusiasm and failing to point out my many errors. This, I think, is the mark of a true artist, as well as a gentleman, somebody who can tolerate another’s work without thinking it diminishes his own.
In order to tap into his knowledge and make myself look good, I persuaded him that we should do a book together. We discussed various options over the odd glass of wine and discovered that we shared a number of passions: the wine, the landscape and the architecture and people of the Languedoc. He had lived in the Haut-Languedoc for nearly 30 years: he knew its ways and moods intimately. Two years later and the planning was done. We spent a number of memorable days in 2004 visiting 20 different wine domaines in the region. I would write about it; Simon would paint it.
He didn’t just paint it beautifully, but he helped me see it clearly. I have always been drawn to writers who can make you see. Give me Robert Byron or Bruce Chatwin any day over James Joyce or José Luis Borges. One day we were at a monastery in Mougères, just outside Pézénas, about half an hour from the Mediterranean. I wandered off to look at the buildings and the vines, and left him alone with his easel. When I returned he showed me the work. Did I like it? He asked. I couldn’t help thinking he had overdone the colours. His response was to pick up a simple blade of grass. Look closely, he said. There they were, pink and red and burgundy, just as he had painted. I hadn’t noticed, because I hadn’t been looking properly.
Of course the art of watercolours isn’t merely a question of observation. You have to be more than a Sherlock Holmes; you also need the ability to react. Once you have started working with such a fluid medium, you have to keep going. As The Economist said in an article about Simon:
“The essence of water-colours, say aficionados, is a highly personal, immediate relationship between the artist and his subject, whether it is a still life, landscape or the human figure. Watercolours can be done on site, and mistakes cannot be corrected – the work must be changed to incorporate them. The watercolourist takes risks, reacts like a fighter pilot to changes in front of him, and races against time, light and the weather.”
I particularly like the comparison of a watercolourist to a fighter-pilot. The subtle art has been rather denigrated in England by the term ‘watercolour drawing’; it also probably hasn’t helped that Prince Charles is said to dabble in it and has even exhibited at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition. I don’t mean to denigrate the amateur, but Simon’s art is more serious than that, and his technique second to none.
In this age, it is tempting to dismiss the craftsman or the technician. If we admire technique, it is when we see it on the football pitch, normally from a South American player. Artists should be young, temperamental and difficult to understand. Their work should say everything, or nothing, preferably both at the same time. The book Simon and I did on the Languedoc turned out well, and I am pleased to say that we are still speaking to each other nearly ten years later. Only occasionally do I find him difficult to understand, though I know he can be as temperamental on occasions as any Young British Artist, yet he retains a keen sense of humour. He also has a great technique, a painter’s painter. As a distinguished Irish sculptor said to me: “Simon’s technique is so good he makes painting watercolours, the most difficult of arts, look easy.”
Simon remains wonderfully young at heart, keen to enjoy a swim in a river, a glass of wine or to play the guitar at a picnic, an event that may start at noon but stretch late into the night. As Shakespeare’s Falstaff said: “We have heard the chimes at midnight”.
We were with him this summer in France and he asked me to carry his paintings over in preparation for this exhibition. I did so, and also had them framed. Rather than leaving them sitting in a darkened room, I hanged them on the walls of our villa. For two glorious months our house was full of the colour and talent of this inspiring artist. It is a duller place now that his paintings are no longer hanging there, but somehow their spirit survives, vibrant and determined, youthful and energetic, rather like the artist himself.
Rupert Wright is the chairman of Edelman Middle East and author of Notes from the Languedoc, Wine and Landscape of the Languedoc and Take Me to the Source: In Search of Water.
Simon Fletcher's Water-colours
Sir John Tusa July 2001.
Foreword to the book ‘The Way of the moving Brush’ Sponsored and published by Hitachi Corporation
It is more than ten years that my wife and I have lived with Simon
Fletcher's water colours. Living with involves looking at as well. Even
after that time they more than stand the test of looking, of enquiry, of
time itself. They have stood another important test for an owner as distinct
from a gallery curator - can they work in several different locations,
varying lights, surrounded by a wildly diverse assortment of companions?
Here too the verdict is affirmative.
Now, they could be good companions but they might still be only moderate
painting. I think they are a good deal more than that. If I make comparison
with other artists, it is not to suggest a derivative style but to evoke
likenesses that the reader will know. For instance, some of his landscapes
from a decade ago have the layered, outlined feel of Charles Rennie
Mackintosh, the colours revealing the bones of landscape and land in a
precise way. This gives the painting a strength of order and structure that
is quite unlike the conventional English water colour.
Then there are the colours, strong, vivid, bold, yes, Turneresque in their
readiness to go to the extremes of the palette. This tendency has grown with
time and his stay on the continent and visits to Japan seem to have
reinforced a confidence in his reaction to strong colours.
If he applies them with equal assurance in bold atmospheric washes as well
as in very precise representations, notably in paintings that blend the
specific with the atmospheric, this shows the range of approaches that Simon
Fletcher has in his possession. Is it English, in the sense that we use the
term, "English water colour"? Hardly. Is it European? Not obviously. Is
it personal and real? Without a doubt.
Sir John Tusa,
Barbican Art Center, London.
SIMON FLETCHER, BA. BIOGRAPHY. Born Birmingham, England.
1967/1975 BA in fine art after studies at St Albans and Watford art schools and University for the Creative arts, Farnham. Tutors include Morris Field, drawing; RaymondMoore, photography; Gerald Woods, Dieter Roth, printmaking; Alan Kitching, typography; David Hockney, Francis Bacon, painting;
Studies landscape design with Peter Coates and John Brookes and becomes artistic director for Gardenesque Landscape Design Company. 1975/1982 Travels in Europe and Africa working and exhibiting. For two years director of the Oxford Printmakers Co-operative. 1982 Moves to Southern France with his family to live and work
PRIZES 1980 1st prize, British Landscape Awards, for a private garden in Hampshire. 1983 Diplome d'Honneur, Salon d'Agde, France. 1983 1st prize for water colour, Mouvement Artistique Française. 1985 Bronze medal, Salon International de Bedarieux, France. 2000 Gold medal for water colour, Salon Internationale de Beziers, France
1997 Deutsche Telecom, sponsored exhibition, Munich.
2000 Commune of Ravello, Italy, works on paper, one man show.
2000 Hitachi International, sponsored exhibition & book ‘ The Way of the Moving Brush’.
2000 Osram, Munchen. Recent paintings
2001 Musee d’Art Contemporain, Beziers, retrospective exhibition.
2003 Museum Service of Siena, Italy, paintings of Italy, with catalogue.
2003 British Embassy, Oman, recent works.
2004 The Economist, Frankfurt, exhibition of recent work.
2006 James Rothschild, St James Place, sponsored exhibition.
Simon Fletcher's work is to be found in numerous private collections in Europe and America and in the following public collections: Oxford University. Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. Warburg Merchant Bank, London. Foundation Pro Castellione, Suisse. März, Germany. Hitachi Corporation, Germany. Kunst & Kultur, Aschau, Munich. Siemens Germany. The Economist Frankfurt. H R H The Sultan of Oman. Collection of H R H Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi.
Simon Fletcher is currently working on a series of large decorative panels for a retirement home in France .
He has exhibited in galleries and museums all over the world and is a committed European. His work can be viewed at his Atelier Gallery, F-34610, St Gervais, France. By appointment +33 623921960.
1976 - 1980 Aberbach Fine Art, London
1980 & 1981 NationalPortrait Gallery, London BP Portrait Awards
1983 - 2000 Various German Art Fairs with Gallery Richard Hartmann, Munich and Galerie N Blaeser, Dusseldorf.
1995 - 2006 Kunst & Kultur, Aschau, Munich with G Salzmann, R Fetting, B Vogel, K Fussmann etc
2004 Bohun Gallery, Henley with David Remfry, Allan Jones, Peter Blake, Bill Jacklin
2008 Anima, London. Group exhibition with Peter Blake, Louise Bourgeois, Damien Hirst
2016 Salerno, Italy. Museum of Modern Art.Simon Fletcher, Spirtual Landscapes Retrospective Exhibition of paintings from the Ravello Archive of Contemporary Art. Catalogue 102 pages, 69 illustrations in colour, full biography and foreword by Masimo Bignardi, Universities of Salerno and Urbino. Texts by Pasquale Ruocco and Luca Mansueto. ISBN 978-88-7554-103-3.
2017 Messums Wiltshire, A Wessex Scene. 2 December until 8 February 2018. Three paintings selected for this mixed exhibition curated by Catherine Milner including works by John Piper, J Craxton, David Inshaw, Norman Ackroyd, etc
2019 Commission to create a 70m² mural for the French EPHAD, association for the handicapped, at Plaisance, 34 St Genies de varensal.
A full list of exhibitions, articles and publications is available on request. Simon Fletcher regularly holds seminars in drawing, pastel and watercolour.
The painter's works are published as reproductions by Bridgeman, London.