Alexandre Hollan was the last artist to be discovered by Jean Planque. His eye drawn to a charcoal on a neighbor’s wall, the collector enquired who the artist was and whether it would be possible to meet him. Hollan distinctly recalls having been struck by the exquisite kindness of his visitor, who kept apologizing for disturbing him and exclaiming about the delightful untidiness of his studio and the artist’s daily work preparations. He also remembers noticing the gravity that came over Planque’s face the moment he began looking at his works, and the severity of his judgment. Without a single hesitation or concession, Planque waved away the paintings that didn’t interest him, never offering a word of explanation, and appeared to be in the grip of an intense emotion as soon as his eye stopped to consider a particular drawing. Nor has the painter forgotten the deep nostalgia that tinged some of the collector’s remarks. Planque seemed particularly saddened by the fact that he had not been able to turn his own gifts to account by creating artworks; all his life he had felt very close to the secret of art but had never found the strength to express this. In the company of a painter like Hollan, who had devoted himself entirely to his all-consuming passion for art and had lost no time in doing so, Planque was even more cruelly aware of the distance that separated him from his dream.
The Big Oak, 2006
Acrylics on canvas
142 x 184 cm (56 x 72.5 in)
Gift by the artist in memory of Jean Planque
© 2017, ProLitteris, Zurich