Our Artist-in-Residence program commences from 2020 and we invite interested artists to contact us for costs.

*  We are offering four, eight and twelve-week residencies.  

*  We will have a number of different self-contained accommodation styles available on request.  

*  Within the first week of arriving there will be a welcome dinner party in the chateau.  

*  On the last weekend of each month there will be a joint exhibition of all artists’ work.  

Mas de Pradié’s last owner was famous French artist, Bernard Dufour.

(21 November 1922 - 21 July 2016) 

Bernard Dufour was notable for abstract painting after the Second World War, and later for portraits and human figures.  Dufour originally studied agricultural engineering.  During the German Occupation, he was pressed into war labour. He was sent to Germany with Alain Robbe-Grillet and there they met Claude Ollier. In the winter of 1944–45, he went to the University of Heidelberg and studied Eugène Delacroix and Stéphane Mallarmé.  After the war he copied works of Michelangelo and Tintoretto in the Louvre.  Dufour originally studied agricultural engineering.

His first solo exhibition was at the Galerie Maeght in 1948, followed by exhibitions in the Jeanne Bucher gallery between 1951 and 1953. Motivated by these successes, he soon signed an exclusive contract with art dealer Pierre Loeb. He collaborated with many writers, including René de Solier, André Pieyre de Mandiargues, Georges Lambrichs, Paule Thévenin and Alain Jouffroy. In the later 1950s, he began to attract attention outside France; in 1959, he participated in the second documenta exhibition in Kassel.

From 1960, he turned from abstract to figurative painting, initially self-portraits and mournful figures, later scandalous nudes.

In 1961 he opened a studio in an old mill on the Aveyron River in Foissac, where he also lived. He took part in the Venice Biennale in 1964. From this time he formed enduring friendships with other writers of the literary avant garde, such as Pierre Guyotat, Denis Roche, Catherine Millet and Jacques Henric. From the 1970s he worked in photography as well as painting, and wrote several volumes of artistic notes and memoirs.

La Belle Noiseuse, Jacques Rivette's 1991 film about an elderly artist, was partly inspired by Dufour, who was credited as "the hand of the artist" painting the picture at the heart of the film. In 1995, Dufour's wife, Martine, died of cancer.

Dufour's representational art has often erotic components.  The models in his paintings are often in the company of the painter. This visible relationship with the model brings the viewer of his pictures into a voyeur position. The blending of love and death has been a theme, as in a large (2.76 × 5.05 m) 1975 canvas depicting the autopsied body of Red Army Faction militant Holger Meins juxtaposed with Dufour's nude wife Martine defecating.

© Melissa Clinton 2020

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