Christian Detaux The Evolution of a Provençal Artist
Life and Art
Christian Detaux had finished his long career in the automotive industry, where he led a team of 200 engineers and was itching to go back to his first love: art. As a young man, he had planned to pursue a career as an artist, enrolling in the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, until life intervened. He needed to work, to have an income, to support a family, and his artistic dreams were deferred.
Starting with a shoe
But newly retired, Detaux could now revisit those long-ago dreams. After moving to Provence, he looked for ways to begin. He liked to work with his hands and wanted to try carving stone, like the classical sculptors. He found a soft material, to begin with, aerated concrete and picked a model that would sit still as long as he needed: one of his shoes. His first try was a success.
From there Detaux moved on to progressively harder stones, from local quarries, and eventually all the way up to the famous Carrera marble.
Having mastered stone, and always wanting to try new things, Detaux began creating metal frames and then covering them with adhesives and painting. This flexible medium gave him more artistic freedom than did stone. He was inspired by some of his favourite artists, like Keith Haring and Niki de Saint Phalle.
After working with these metal frames, Detaux became intrigued by the possibility of steel sculptures. He started small, making figures and faces, even a few chickens for fun.
Then he went big, really big. His recent projects have been nothing short of monumental, like this full-sized horse—it’s so lifelike you feel like you can saddle up. It is remarkable how Detaux takes a material as hard as steel and makes it supple and flowing.
And just this month, Detaux finished a sculpture of Don Quixote. He’s nearly seven feet tall, with limbs that move, and looks ready to defend his beloved Dulcinea.
What’s next for the talented Christian Detaux? He’s mulling the possibilities, but we can be sure it will something interesting and beautiful!
Photo credits: the photos were provided by and published with the permission of Christian Detaux and Keith Van Sickle.