Fresh From the Salon des Beaux Arts at the Louvre

By Janet Purcell | For The Times of Trenton

Elena Bogatyr at the Salon des Beaux Arts, an annual exhibit in the Louvre in Paris.

The DeBogat/Belenikin Art Gallery in Lambertville is celebrating its 20th anniversary with an exhibit of paintings by Elena Bogatyr, including two that were exhibited in the December 2018 Salon des Beaux Arts exhibit at the Louvre in Paris.

The Lambertville gallery owned by Roman Karvalis will have 62 original oil paintings by Bogatyr on display until Sept. 1. The exhibit, curated by Ildico Karvalis, is stunning. Hung salon style, floor to ceiling, it surrounds you with light and color. As curator Karvalis says, “When I am in here I feel like I am in a garden of happiness with sun and great positive energy.”

Featured are the two paintings that hung in the Salon this past December. Here you will see, “Above the Wind.” About the painting, Karvalis says, “There is one very valuable place in Brittany: Saint-Briac, on the banks of the Channel. Emerald waters, as well as golden wheat fields, ancient farms, — history, freedom, space, sea breeze. And the pines are above the wind!! This landscape is inspired by sincere love for this place.”

The other painting, “Gold Fabric,” that was displayed in the December Salon is also on display here. Bogatyr says she chose the warmest, brightest, sunny and joyful painting because, in Paris, December is the darkest month of the year. “It is called ‘Gold Fabric’ because it is like gold fabric all over and bright gold color from the sun and from the moon and from gold, the color of life,” says curator Karvalis.

When you enter the gallery your attention is immediately drawn to a glorious, large, painting of “Sweet Peas”. A bountiful bouquet of the pink blossoms fills and spills over not one but two vases nestled side by side. One of the vases has a delicate bridge motif and Karvalis speaks of the way bridges are about connectivity and tells of artist Bogatyr’s strong feeling of connection between the island of Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, near her home and the fact that New Jersey was named in its honor.

There are paintings in this exhibit where the flowers are arranged in a beautiful blue and gold vase Bogatyr purchased on Jersey Island. In “Bouquet in a Jersey Vase” the white blossoms tumble and begin to droop ever so slightly, dropping some petals on the table top. Bogatyr says she does not add dropped petals for effect. They land there naturally and she paints them in the way they fall. She never paints from photographs and only in the natural light of day.

On display is her “Golden Mimosa,” a 40-by-34 inch oil on canvas that had been accepted and exhibited in the 2017 Salon des Beaux Arts in the Louvre. Bogatyr created this painting free of confining detail. Instead, she expressed the blooms with multiple tones of yellow rising from sienna shadows underneath to almost white light indicating light on surface petals. These rise from a bed of deep graceful green and silver stems reach for the sun-sparkled blue sky.

And while she chose to add detail to her painting, “Daisies in Jersey Vase,” defining their petals, their stems and leaves, they remain — well — fresh as a daisy.

Moving from indoor still life, she painted “Three Stages,” presenting a profusion of three blooming bushes, one pink, one, blue and one a deep rich red, against a weathered outbuilding. She likens the progression of the colors to the stages of a woman’s life.

Living in the mild climate of Dinard, Brittany in northwestern France, Bogatyr is never at a loss for her favorite subject matter to paint — flowers. “She is delighted to give her life to art and it depends on the blooming period. She loves Spring — new life,” Karvalis says.

And because Dinard is on the Cȏte d’Emeraude in Brittany, the background of Bogatyr’s life is also the sea. Her new series of marine paintings is included in the Lambertville exhibit. There you will find several paintings of the transatlantic yacht race, the Route du Rhum, that takes place every four years between Brittany and Guadeloupe. Bogatyr captures a moment in time as the boats skim over the choppy water, light and shadow playing on their sails. There is also on display a portrait capturing the mood of the sea as waves roll and break while seeking land. And there’s a quiet painting of two sailboats standing on a beach, the receding tide having left shining puddles in the sand.

This 20th anniversary exhibit is a great opportunity for visitors to this gallery in Lambertville to experience top-quality art that has been juried in and exhibited in the Louvre’s Salon des Beaux Arts not once, but two years in a row. And to enjoy another 60 works by this highly accomplished artist.

“When I am here in this room in Lambertville, I feel like I am in Brittany, in France,” Ildico Karvalis says. “You don’t need to travel to see what she sees or to be there. These paintings connect us, Dinard to Lambertville, the Louvre to Lambertville.”

IF YOU GO:

  • WHAT: Fresh From The Salon des Beaux Arts at the Louvre, Paintings by Elena Bogatyr
  • WHERE: DeBogat/Belenikin Art Gallery, 5 Lambert Lane, Lambertville
  • WHEN: Through September 1. Hours, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m, Thursday and Friday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sunday. And, by appointment.
  • CONTACT: Ildico Karvalis, 609-397-5855, www.DeBogat.com.