Emile Bellet was born in Provence, France in 1941. He began to paint at 5 years old and by the age of 19 he held his first exhibition in 1960. When he was only 12, Emile won first prize in a national art journal. In 1976, his career began in earnest when he was noticed by Galerie Guigne. Bellet completed the stained glass windows of the church “Notre Dame de Bon Voyage” (Our Lady of Happy Travels) in 1978, in Port de Bouc, France – a beautiful display of his talent. He was also commissioned by the Alpine Maritime Region to paint the work, “Travaux des Champs” (Work in the Fields).
Bellet is a self-taught artist who has aligned himself with the discipline of the Fauves (French for “wild beasts) — a school of artists who lived at the turn of the 20th century that includes Matisse, Cézanne, Dufy, and Vlaminck. They painted in vivid non-authentic color and Emile has mastered this discipline with an impasto knife, using highly saturated colors to paint his elongated mannerist forms. Bellet loves his brushes and oil paints. When he began painting, there were no acrylics, and his love for his favorite tools increased.
Bellet enjoys painting “en plein air” as the Impressionists did, choosing paint the villages and scenery from his native France. He lives high up in the mountains, taking in the breathtaking colors of the Mediterranean that suit his painting perfectly. By painting outdoors, Bellet feels like he is bringing a small piece of Van Gogh to our time.
Emile’s paintings are known for the mysterious female he includes in his compositions. His wife, his daughter, and musings on an idyllic kind of woman are all sources for his inspiration. The familiar female figure used throughout his work is symbolic of his impression of femininity. She represents all women and for this reason has no facial expression. She is timeless, ageless, and universal. He also paints her in stages – first in blonde, then in brunette, and finally with red hair. The whimsical movement derived from Bellet’s impasto knife lends a sense of vision to his work, taking the viewer to a passing, momentary location. His settings are ethereal and transient, creating an atmosphere of mystery.