“Only passions can add colour to life.”
Georges and his twin brother were born into a comfortably off family in central France, the last of four children. THEY had a happy childhood free of money worries. Even though they were identical twins, their parents always ensured that each had his own life and followed his own tastes and ambitions, something which was not common at that time in the 1950s and 1960s! Something of a dreamer, at times a loner without being introverted, very quickly Georges showed a definite artistic side, drawing, colouring and painting with gouache from his earliest years, something which made the choice of gifts easy on the great occasions!
Georges first oil paintings were brushed when he was barely twelve years old, still lifes, landscapes, self-portraits and even then a few paintings with an abstract element. He decided to become an architect and registered for architectural studies in Paris, but his parents persuaded him to switch to business studies as his preordained destiny was to take over the family company specializing in paints and cleaning products.
When it was Georges turn to become head of a company he always had two sides to his career, industrial and artistic. In the late 1980s, in order to acquire wider knowledge of the modern art market, Georges helped establish the Galérie Point Rouge in the “Golden Triangle” in Paris. This gallery exhibited the renowned painters and sculptors of the time (Pichette, Bozzolini, Miotte, etc.) and this gave Georges an opportunity to form true bonds of friendship with some of these artists, to have many encounters and to visit workshops and studios. These fruitful exchanges were particularly enriching for his own work as an artist.
Naturally influenced by his occupation as a gallery owner, and by a new way of opening onto the art world, Georges's painting turned towards the style which he came to love and master, i.e. lyrical and geometrical abstraction. With no regrets, Georges abandoned the oil painting and figurative style of his early years and he never went back. Georges's deep knowledge of media, as a manufacturer of paints, and his many years as an artist, in his opinion, enable him to clearly judge a work’s value. He attaches relatively little importance to the means of expression, the style or the medium used, be it abstract or figurative, as he simply likes good painting of the kind that knows how to whisper to him deep in his heart and to delight his senses. However, Georges believes that abstraction enables you to get inside the work more completely, far from falsehoods and pretexts; interaction becomes direct and the masks come off.
Like other artists, Georges Troubat has had beautiful shows and unforgettable moments: wonderful memories of shows in the Grand Palais, the Carrousel du Louvre and the Sénat in Paris and at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva and of the master classes given to the students at the Fine Arts School in Yarostlav, Russia, during the summer of 2015. Finally, he is proud that three of his canvases were selected for the Museum of Modern Art in the Kremlin in Rostov alongside works by Malevitch and Olga Rozanova.
When seeing Georges’s artwork, it’s like you are immersed in the intricacies of life…and you are left to figure it out on your own. And the best feeling ever is knowing that you can decipher it too well. It’s a combination of feelings and you can almost feel the collective soul of all beings… With a scream of despair counteracted by a loving hug. And you realize that no matter how different and how apart, we all truthfully do connect in more ways than one. Georges’s artwork has the power to enamour you, upon realizing that our connectivity often times goes beyond any logical comprehension.
Q. What role does the artist have in society?
A. In my opinion, the artist has no right to express his views outside his artistic work. This should not prevent him from espousing his own ideas and convictions, like any other person. How can an artist’s opinion, expressed on an area which is not his own, be more relevant, or more “inspired”, than that of anybody else? I leave that for you to judge.
Q. What’s your best childhood memory?
A. The time spent with my drawing teacher when he asked me to help him with the huge pieces of scenery required for school celebrations which were held in the municipal theatre in our city. This is what probably gave me a taste for large format paintings and frescoes.
Q. As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
A. A great artist and nothing less. More sensibly, as that path was an unpredictable one, I wanted to turn towards architecture. Was not Le Corbusier also a great painter?
Q. Do you remember the first art you made, what was it and how old were you? How and when did you first become seriously interested in art?
A. I first became really aware that my work could arouse interest when I showed at Le Salon d’Automne in my home town of Montluçon, a show at which my painting Barques sur la grève (Boats on the shore) won a first prize. I was barely seventeen years old and this first prize undoubtedly decided my vocation.
Q. What does your art aim to express?
A. In my paintings do not look for a hidden sense, nor a symbolic or esoteric meaning nor a subliminal message. My work does not appear behind a mask and is not restricted to a small number of insiders as its sole aim is to kindle pleasure in the eye, contentment in serenity and, finally, harmony. That is when emotion takes you over and brings you deep into the painting so that you can shape your own feelings.
My paintings aim to be cheerful and bright; they communicate an inevitably infectious joie de vivre (the joy of life) in a riot of colour which soothes the mind. My paintings carry you off on the great imaginative journey of your emotions.
Q What medium(s) do you work with?
A. At present I paint with acrylic, something I would not have considered in the 1980s but the spectacular technical progress made by this medium makes it more suitable for my current form of expression. As a former manufacturer of paints, I generally produce my own colours in order to be sure to obtain the required results, be it in the rendering of the tones, their intensity, their depth and their sustainability. This is an indisputable advantage and, in addition, it is the main feature of my painting, the feature which makes it so personal.
Q. What personality trait has gotten you in the most trouble?
A. I am not an anguished painter and I am certainly more of an Auguste Renoir than a Van Gogh, if you can pardon such an audacious comparison!
Q. What have you had to sacrifice for this career?
A. Lots of energy as I was “double jobbing” for about twenty years. In particular, I remember staying up all night in 2011 in order to prepare my solo exhibition at the museum of modern art in my town, 800 square meters of exhibition space for 54 very large format canvases and being back in the office the following morning.
However, I consider that I have been privileged as I have had few money worries, in a certain way I have been like Caillebotte or Bazille in Impressionism.
Q. Who are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?
A. My work is on the frontiers of geometric and lyrical abstraction and I consider it to be figurative abstraction. I feel particularly close to Gleizes, Valmier and Metzinger for composition, to Estève and Manessier for mastery of colour and to Matisse and Miro for fantasy and modernity.
To answer the second part of your question: who invents these days? Have we not reached the end of the creative road? Painting itself seems to have trouble reinventing itself when it attempts to associate other creative forms (photography, digital art, etc.). In my opinion, to create is not to reproduce but it is vital to be always open to all forms of creation. Then comes the examination of the effect produced in me in order to capture and to attempt to reproduce this instant of feeling, this fleeting but intense moment. Over here it is a series of hitherto unseen forms for which a new association can be envisaged, over there, a subtle and original union of tones to be enhanced. My experience and my work are my best assets for later bringing in my own personality.
Be open, attentive, curious and modest, before being brilliant!
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. Loneliness? Of course, you are alone when you paint and you are even more alone when you choose abstraction. However, “loneliness” does not always mean “sadness”. In my case, I express joy. I am lucky to have a large family which likes my work. Anyway, this is no work for an extrovert as it takes place first and foremost in the shadows.
Q. Apart from art, what do you love doing?
A. I am a man who is passionate about his interests. Apart from my art I love music, particularly jazz and many of my paintings take jazz as their theme. Furthermore, for many years I have played both the alto and tenor saxophone.
Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?
A. Art is fundamental in my life, painting, of course, in all its forms, but also music and all the other types of cultural activity: literature, theatre, dance and opera. In addition, art forms gain strength when they come together. I have published a book associating Fernando Pessoa’s poems with my work, an illustrated book of poetry. In another example, the official grammar book used in French schools for the 13 to 14 age group choose one of my works to illustrate the principle that colour is also a form of language.
Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
A. Success flatters the ego; it is an undisputed form of recognition but not a guarantee of quality. Everybody wants success, let us not be hypocritical about that. Leave an imprint, build something, feel that you are useful for something, but it is just as important to ask oneself what is the true meaning of life and take everything into consideration in that way.
Q. What are the biggest things you've learned in life thus far?
A. Only passions can add colour to life. “Great men always have great passions” and if “to be passionate about nothing is the wise man’s secret” no artist can pride himself in being wise. So, let us all be crazy!
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
A. Live passionately so as not to live by halves.
Q. What advice would you give to the next generation?
A. I have a piece of advice for the younger generation as I myself have had the experience several times despite these warnings: like all drugs passion can be dangerous as it intensifies feelings and emotions and, consequently, uncontrolled reactions. Success achieved quickly becomes recognition and a one-off failure becomes consternation and eternal abandon.
As for me I have two passions which I invest in simultaneously, painting and music, and the successes obtained in one field have often helped me to surmount difficulties encountered in the other field at the same time. It is a kind of passion insurance!
We should be wary of things which happen too quickly as the morning after can be a come down. Art is a taskmaster which must be overcome. Each artistic endeavour contains this sense of spirituality where facility is an untruth masking effort and discipline behind the smile of harmony and serenity. The war has become peace, force is under control and that is all there is to it. In this way, for me, under an illusion of freedom nothing must be left to chance.