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French artist Silvère Boureau prepares for latest show in Princeton

Silvère Boureau
Silvère Boureau stands at Tochickon Creek where he paints a landscape piece

“In Wildness…,” a collection of paintings from French artist Silvère Boureau, are being presented in a show at the Nassau Club in Princeton through Jan. 6.

The paintings are referred to as “plein air paintings” by Boureau, which means they were all painted outdoors. The show opened on Nov. 4.

Trained and educated in France, Boureau has been living in Yardley, Pennsylvania, for around 30 years, where he enjoys painting in the style of “plein air.”

“With a portable easel and paint in a backpack, I scout remote areas – both local and further afield – until I find a place that speaks to me,” Boureau said.

Boureau, who has works of art focusing on many different points, such as flowers, landscapes or murals, prefers to be outdoors when he paints because it provides him with a unique view of the world. This is what he tries to show in his latest exhibit.

“‘In Wildness…’ shows images of the natural world, untamed and unaltered by the encroachment of man,” he said.

Usually working with oil, acrylic, watercolor or even graphite for black-and-white sketches, Boureau can take two or more sessions to complete a piece due to time restraints.

“This show will be about 36 to 40 paintings,” he said. “So there’s a few paintings that will be graphite, but the rest will mainly be watercolors or oil. I work with all of those mediums.”

Regularly exhibited throughout Princeton and New York City, Boureau’s landscapes offer a cryptic meaning on canvas.

“I am prompted to paint a site that has a certain mystery, yet a sense of harmony, balance and beauty,” he said. “My intention is to capture and render the spirit of the place with minimal interpretation.”

According to his website, when Boureau originally came over to the United States in 1982, he mainly focused on the human form through painting in the style of Expressionism. But when discovering the American landscape and its interpretation from 19th century luminists, it opened up a new view for him.

“My interest is the wild landscapes,” Boureau said. “It’s the place that I like to be in. I actually enjoy being out in places like that. It’s hard to put words to it. I feel great in places like that because it gives me a sense of calming. Just being there and looking at other landscapes for hours, you get to somehow be in there. It’s a sort of invitation just painting any art and trying to translate what I feel from that. It’s just a great feeling for me to be [outside].”

The time of year or weather doesn’t affect Boureau’s passion to paint outdoors. He makes sure to be in the wild year-round.

“I don’t mind being out there in the cold,” he said. “I work in the winter; and when there is snow, I work with a landscape with snow. It can be intense.”

Boureau has been all throughout America to experience as many landscapes as he can. From the backwoods of Maine, the Grand Canyon and the Adirondack Mountains, Boureau seeks to experience the wilderness first-hand.

“I take time to roam the Eastern states’ forests scouting for that special place – an out-of-the-way valley, a hidden water fall in an untouched landscape, where you can feel the timelessness of ecosystems in perfect balance,” Boureau says via his website. “My intention is to capture and render the spirit of the place with minimal interpretation.”

Silvère Boureau’s “In Wildness…” will be displayed at the Nassau Club, 6 Mercer St., Princeton through Jan. 6. For more information about Silvère Boureau, visit his website www.silvereboureau.com. For questions about his exhibit at the Nassau Club, visit www.nassauclub.org or call 609-924-0580.

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