The Indian Heart of Olaf Van Cleef

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

Scion of the iconic Van Cleef family, world renowned for his excellence in jewellery and fashion design, Olaf Van Cleef presented his recent work of art at Maison Colombani on 27th of July. Reportage of this exhibition and an overview of the journey of Olaf Van Cleef.

one of the masterpieces of Olaf

one of the masterpieces of Olaf

Launched by the directors of the Van Cleef Trust in Pondicherry with a ceremonial and colourful opening, this exhibition was thrown open to the public, reflecting the Indian and French touch. People thronged and applauded as they moved to witness the glittering, exquisite and finely detailed paintings inlayed with crystals, jewels, stones and delicate filigree of gold, silver, various other precious metals and stones. To appreciate these fine creations, one had to see the minute and microscopic details with the help of a huge magnifying glass – to see the delicate ornamentation, merged with brush strokes of colour and hue depicting a scene or an image from Indian philosophy, religion and classical art.

Having his workshop and gallery in Pondicherry which he discovered some 30 years ago, Olaf depicts, through his paintings, the Indian religion to a large extent as he is fascinated by the images and idols of gods and goddesses that he sees in temples, always adorned with lots of jewels and precious stones. His long standing work with Cartier made him realize how important jewellery is a part of social life in India. He then got the idea to paint pictures of divinities along with their history with a touch of 18th century of France. Like Fragonard, he uses pastel shades to make it look different from Tanjore paintings.

Olaf Van Cleef

Olaf Van Cleef

He hoped he could have lived two centuries earlier and could have made the Prince of Arcot or the Maharaja of Tanjore his sponsor, but however, he found Austria’s Swarovski, known worldwide for making crystals that he could stick on his paintings.

What was heart rendering for Olaf was the requests he got from many wealthy families in India who wanted to get his paintings for their prayer rooms. It was for him just not a stunning experience but the fact that they were glad and eager to have their gods portrayed with the French inspiration to be kept in their temples or in their homes.
His exhibition at the Maison Colombani of the Alliance Française of Pondicherry was the link between the present and the future. What makes him stand out is the fact that he paints in Paris his Indian dream, in a French style and offers to India, especially to Pondicherry, which he said 30 years ago, was a “Brand name”.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on TumblrShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

Comments are closed.

Rédaction

Directeur de publication : Délégation Générale de la Fondation Alliance Française en Inde et au Népal

Rédacteur en chef : Laurent Elisio Bordier

Rédacteur/Coordinateur national : Siddharth Bhatt

Rédacteurs, contributeurs : Guillaume, Abhirami, Alexandre, Chintan, Cléa, David, Eleonore, Elie, Kanika, Karine, Nita, Thomas, Malvika, Marie-Joëlle, Meera, Mayuri, Mitushi, Alice, Prutha, Romain, Ritika, Manas, Supriya ...