The Painting of the Day n°08

"Souvenir de Jerba". Huile sur quatre panneaux : deux en bois et deux toilés. 45x40cm. 1998. Réf : H9824.

South Tunisia, Gabes Gulf, Jerba Island.
The spelling vary to Djerba, Djerbeh, Gerba.
Between the main towns of Houmt-Souk and Midoun, walks on pink sand,
next to the green sea, under the blue sky.
Damp sea wind for the rain, or dry inland wind for the yellow desert sand: Tataouine and its oasis aren’t so far.
In Qallâlah, the potters’ village from the other side of the island, potteries made with seawater are milky white.
Country lanes are edged with blue agaves saturated with water and hedges
of Opuntia ficus indica, also called prickly pears or Mickey Mouse’s ears.
Some thorny shrubs, some palm trees, from time to time an eucalyptus;
goats and sheeps, building in ruins, some dome topped "marabouts"
( These are small cubic monuments built to contain the remains
of a local personality).
On Jerba Island, every house must have a half spherical cupola: that’s the law. Added to those of the mosques, these domes give the landscape a maternal reassuring look. On Jerba Island, any piece of architecture is painted white: walls, balconies, cupolas, barrel-vaulted roofs. Doors and forged iron grids defending windows are painted light blue.

Landscape is characteristic. Beware of stereotypes. A painter must go away fast or otherwise find the anecdote containing and typifying a lot of other anecdotes, so it let it become emblematic. Fernand Léger wrote during his New-York stay : “The art work is the result of an inner state and don’t have to own anything to the exterior picturesque”. Kind of a risk. I take up the challenge. In Venice, Italy, Canaletto, Guardi and others used to paint "vedute", descriptive paintings that strangers took back home as souvenirs. I entitled this painting "Souvenir de Jerba". To me, it condenses the spirit of Jerba. To the "vedute" part ( mosque, palm trees, kilims, forged iron grids, horse or donkey, blue of the sky and white of houses), I added two narrow strips of light blue painted wood (0,5cm on the left hand side and 2cm on the right), and a large 9 cm band painted in black . Matisse and Dufy, before me, did used black colour to signify harsh light.

Détails de la peinture "Souvenir de Jerba" :

détail de "Souvenir de Jerba"(H9824): la maison blanche
détail de "Souvenir de Jerba"(H9824) : le palmier rose
détail de "Souvenir de Jerba"(H9824) : la grille en fer forgé et le cheval sur la plage
détail de "Souvenir de Jerba"(H9824) : un kilim (tapis tissé et quelquefois brodé par dessus)

De mon séjour à Jerba en mars 1998, j'ai ramené cinq toiles :

"Le soir tombe sur Jerba". Huile sur toile. 39x54cm. 1998. H98-25
"Philippe et Chantal à Jerba". Huile sur toile. 92x60cm. 1998. H98-23. Collection privée
"Figuiers de Barbarie et palmiers à Jerba". Huile sur toile. 33x55cm. 1998. H98-26
"Kilims, mosquée et maisons à Jerba".
Huile sur toile. 92x73cm. 1998. H98-16


"Souvenir de Jerba". Huile sur toile. 45x40cm. 1998. H9824

These five paintings are printed in a booklet (cf Limited Editions)

Droits de Reproduction Réservés