Recent work

The quest for color


Le charrue

Le charrue 1945
At the age of seventeen, Claude Bellegarde illustrates Le serpent d’étoiles by Jean Giono, to whom he sends his drawings. Giono replies, asking Bellegarde to visit him.

Pictorial approaches1944–1952

Éboulement / Landslide 1952 Claude Bellegarde

Éboulement / Landslide 1952, 25½ x 21½ ins
oil on canvas

Shortly before the Liberation, I went to Paris to undertake a year–long course in drawing, in anticipation of joining the teaching profession. But, psychologically disturbed, I adapted badly to my surroundings.
Through a friend, Claude Dupont, I made the acquaintance of a singular character who transformed the course of my life, Lanza del Vasto. Lanza del Vasto, a writer and yogi pilgrim not long back from India, where he had been a disciple of Gandhi. He had just founded a spiritual community in Paris and suggested that I visit.
There, I discovered craftsmanship and the art of meditation. For almost three years, I followed his teachings based on yogic discipline and, most significantly, underwent an initiation into sculpture with Henri Martin. Not being religious, I search for a sense of meaning in my life.… CLAUDE BELLEGARDE: JOURNAL


A painting by Bellegarde is a crisis. It is a given, primary moment, a kind of liberation following stasis, where dynamism is caught up in its own momentum, resulting in an accumulation of compact masses in tumultuous agitation. Color is captured in the stroke of a tousled brush. It would be possible to speak here of automatism if this word could still be said to have meaning. Of a very singular automatism in any case; that of possession.

I had entered into painting as one enters into religion, for a rigorous asceticism. I was not, for all that, seeking a moral order. No doubt a long stay in a sanatorium had made me sensitive to life’s tiny expressions of movement and passing instants… CLAUDE BELLEGARDE: JOURNAL