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Philippe Noyer

"My paintings are what they appear to be, nothing more, nothing less," Philippe Noyer

Philippe Noyer was born June 28, 1917 in Lyon (central France). After a traditional course of study at the elite Ecole des Roches, Noyer enrolled in the Beaux Arts (Fine Arts) School of Lyon, before going to Paris to study at the Paul Colin School of Art and experience the whirlwinds of Surrealism first hand on Paris' Left Bank.

Philippe Noyer started his painting career in 1943. That same year he met the famous Paris art dealer, Emmanuel David, who promoted world-known "School of Paris" painters from 1943 - 1950. David immediately put Noyer on contract with the prestigious DROUANT-DAVID Gallery of Paris. Parallel to his paintings, which at the time, represented owls wrapped in leaves and round-faced urchins with their pet animals, Philippe Noyer soon became one of the most sought after portraitist of Paris and London high society. The Gallery gave him his first one-man show in 1947, which immediately crowned him with instant success. Life was good.

While he was with the DROUANT-DAVID Gallery, Philippe Noyer says his stroke of luck for his success in the United States can be attributed to Mr. Robert Goldstein, the former President of the 20th Century Fox movie company. It was in 1949. The Gallery gave twenty of Philippe Noyer's paintings on consignment to an American art dealer who had agreed to organize an exhibition of them in the United States. The American dealer, however, was a heavy gambler and one night, before the show, he suffered unprecedented losses and was forced to sell off the paintings without a profit. The buyer turned out to be Robert Goldstein who was so pleased with his purchase that he distributed the art to his friends, including the legendary Samuel Goldwyn, who, in turn, made Philippe Noyer's name known on the West Coast.

A deep and long lasting friendship between Noyer and Goldstein ensued. In 1960 when, like it happens to all artists, Philippe Noyer was in a difficult financial situation, Goldstein jetted Philippe from Paris to London and organized an auction at which all of Noyer's current paintings were sold to Goldstein's friends.

In those following years, Philippe was commissioned to paint the portraits of dozens of personalities including Elizabeth Taylor, Dinah Shore, Jean Wallace and the children of actor Alan Ladd and producer Alan Lerner. As his art matured, however, he put aside this career as a portraitist to devote himself entirely to the delicate, sophisticated, slim, long-limbed ladies who had progressively replaced children as his favorite subjects.

"My paintings are what they appear to be, nothing more, nothing less," Philippe Noyer once told a critic. "Some are serious, some are not. But I have always painted what I have felt."

From the leaf-clad owls of his first paintings to the litho maidens and languorous cheetahs of his later works, Philippe Noyer's art has always remained quite unique. The elements Philippe uses in his paintings - the women, the monuments, the animals and the flowers - come alive under the brush which translates them in strictly realist terms in compositions that are the fruits of his fantasy and intellectual or literary reminiscences. Like in the paintings of any artist, there are pet themes and objects that recur like good luck charms - eggs, hats, shoes - but as the artist himself warns, it would be vain to seek in them some hidden symbolism or draw oversimplified Freudian conclusions.

Thirteen years of careful personal research brought Philippe Noyer to the technique which gives his paintings their very special transparency and light. The technique, which Philippe Noyer finished perfecting in 1956 eliminates the use of white in favor of pure colors which give the rocks their roughness, bring alive the subtle glow of a seashell and give the subjects' skins a peach-like softness one can feel without touching.

Noyer's honesty with himself, his inborn draftsmanship and eye for color have earned Philippe Noyer a worldwide reputation. He married Nora Kern in 1939 and fathered four children: Denis Paul, Corinne, Laurence and Ariel. Noyer died circa 1980. Currently 2,000 of his oil paintings and watercolors are in museums, collections and private collections.

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Philippe Noyer

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