Diane de Valou


Firmly rooted in her family's wild and romantic ancestral Burgundy home, Diane de Valou embodies artistic elegance and timelessness. Ignoring trends, she is faithful to the intuitions of those who dedicate themselves to beauty.

Turning her back on convention, she goes alone to New York at the age of 18 in search of new emotions, new encounters with the world and with herself. Once there, her painting reveals itself completely and irreversibly.

Back in Paris she joins the Maryse Eloï Studio and sets out to master academic drawing. Admitted to the Camondo School, interior design professor Patrick Rubin introduces her to Andrée Putman, who encourages her to pursue her painting.

At the Beaux Arts de Paris it is under the watchful eye of Olivier Debré, her mentor, that Diane de Valou frees her painting of traditional forms. Space becomes the transitional object in her work, where illusion becomes the substitute for the actual image. Steeped in academic tradition but freed from its constraints, Diane spends several winters in Venice, which will profoundly affect her.

Working with classical egg tempera allows Diane de Valou to attain a precision in her work that is worthy of iconic miniatures. The effects of this technique blur the subject, detaching it from the foreground before carrying it off and into dreams.

The painting process, in particular since Leonardo de Vinci’s time, is a matter of light. It seems natural then that ancient encaustic painting techniques become Diane’s true adventure. For they are techniques that allow her to travel up from the depths. The use of wax polish allows the painted subject to appear as if from afar, out of the depths of the medium, playing on the multiple transparencies that arise from layering. This flowing material, situated somewhere between water and clouds– the subtle power of certain tones– alternately serves to cement the support or to disperse it.

In this way the representation transports us into the artist's notebook and her first sketches of the future painting. One could say quite simply that the landscape itself has been transported onto the canvas, that we could take it with us as we would an icon. A presence—living nature—the fruits of our effort to capture what eludes us.

Today Diane de Valou spends several months of the year in her studio in Jaipur, India. Pigments surge like fireworks onto the page and the canvas. Diane de Valou is as much at home in Burgundy within her encaustic frescos as she is in India, dressing us with her magestic works.

Diane gives us the essence of the gaze and of dreams, where her creations exist, off the beaten path and far away from convention.

Pascal Payen Appenzeller