Michel Ragon

Michel Ragon et Jean Chevolleau - 1982



Jean chevolleau avec Jacqueline Auriol, Camille Renault et
Luce Chevolleau - 1980


Maison de l'artiste à Fontenay-le-Comte

« Well ordered, with great rhythm… sustained by highly assertive layers of colour, the paintings of Jean Chevolleau are strong works and, despite everything, show very great sensitivity where nothing is left to chance. This is the work of a fine artist. »

Jacques VILLON
Artist, painter and engraver (1875-1963)

« Jean Chevolleau always starts with what is real. Then turns it abstract. In other words he aims for the quintessential. This process can be seen in his approach to painting. For all his paintings, he does a lot of preliminary work, drawings around the pattern, which he calls his “notes”. Notes indeed, like the notes of a writer preparing a book, those of a musician looking for a tune… this preparation means that his paintings are always tightly composed.

But lyricism, which he distrusts, is just beneath the surface, a form of poetry transpires, that of the metamorphosis of nature. Light is trapped and radiates colours. That soft and wonderful light of southern Vendée, of Saintonge and Aunis. »

Michel RAGON
Writer and art historian

« A world of an architect of light, where the science and patience of a rich drawing with flexible and pure lines, the rhythm and orderliness of coloured zones give each painting fullness based on harmony. »

Poet and novelist

« Always in the prolongation of the thoughts of his master Jacques Villon, and consequently the continuation of great French painting, Jean Chevolleau appears as one of those rare painters to place himself at the conjunction between the two strongest movements of the 20th century, cubism and fauvism. »

Art critic

« This freshness, this juvenile eye that the artist cast on our world encouraged him to purify the motif and reduce it to a magic moment, fleeting beauty immortalized for ever. There is a sensitivity, a Chevolleau touch that his deep blues – brushed profusely and punctuated with splashes of yellows and reds – define as a new world in which abstraction and figuration lose their meaning.

What to say of this work if not that it is beautiful and tranquil, smiling and seductive, sincere and potent, like the Vendée, which rarely reveals its treasures at first sight? This is the image of the region’s son Jean Chevolleau, who passed away on November 20, 1996, leaving a great vacuum and indelible mark on the history of art of this aging century. »

Art critic

« Jean Chevolleau: One subject, light; one architecture, space. There is no doubting this is cubism but not cubism refraining from emotion. Better, claiming emotion as a creative force.

In art, intelligence gets the upper hand over intuition, to quote Jacques Villon. Jean Chevolleau was to focus his intelligence on the knowledge of beings and things of which, over and above their visible appearances, he was to penetrate the spirit and extract the essence.

Rejecting the superfluous to keep only the primordial, refusing imitation of the subject for the benefit of its free interpretation; in short, re-creating the world. »

Jacques DUBOIS
Art critic and enthusiast

« Constructing for Jean Chevolleau remained the first productive lessons learnt from Jacques Villon. Entrenched in his native Vendée, he drew on maritime and landscape themes to retain cubism, the rigour of analysis dented by the lesson from Villon, who taught him the power of colour.

A great colourist shifting instinctively to blue, he developed an exciting palette with contrasting harmonies, inducing rhythm for a sense of measure and balance. »

Writer, art historian

« With suppressed emotion, Jean Chevolleau composes paintings in pure and expressive forms, midway between cubism and the abstract. His great originality lies with the sharpness of his vision, which always goes to what is essential. For him gestures and forms are the opportunity for poetic restitutions and his personal discoveries of colour as a vector of light enable him to transcend what is real with rare success. In the post-cubist movement, he pursued the exalting quest for modernity. »


« Contact with Villon was decisive in the itinerary of Chevolleau, the encounters he made at the Puteaux studio: Lhote (1885-1962), Pignon (1905-1993) or Manessier 1911-1993), his elders, were also to play an important role and run through him. »

Christophe VITAL
Head Janitor of the Museums of Vendée.