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Behind the Art: Meet Dubure

Richard Dubure was born in Paris during the golden age of couture, as Nouvelle Vague gave birth to a new kind of cinema, and when pop art was all the rage. He grew up at a time when Parisians were embracing color, with a renewed focus on art and glamour.

At home, Dubure was surrounded by art and regularly communed with artists and creative types. His own life as a painter began in 1973, following in the footsteps of his painter father. 

Since day one, Dubure pursued his path as an artist with surety, and his growth has been a steady one. He became a professional painter in 1998, exhibiting regularly in France and abroad. Currently living in Ussel in Corrèze, Dubure works primarily with an oil and knife to paint fantasy…his fantasy…and an invitation to travel between dream and reality. 

As for the man behind the art, Richard Dubure refers to himself as a “clown”…someone who lives to make people laugh. He has been known as one who dresses up and sends out humorous pictures of himself – he is a man that never misses the chance to make fun of himself!

Read more of the interview below to learn more about his work, and the man behind the art…

In my paintings, I include…

Contrasts, beauty, and imperfections of our world. Concrete as opposed to nature, pollution to grass, shadows to light, violence to tranquility. The mists that envelope the colors and the infinite movements of life drown in the fantasy, created by my knife and oil on the canvas.

Q:  Can you tell us about your childhood and background?

A:  My father, Gilbert Dubure, was a painter, so I was always in close contact with artists and gallery owners. He worked in pastel, oil, and watercolor, and was a very good colorist. While he’d have preferred to paint nudes, he sold a lot of landscapes of the region of Corrèze. Between 1969 and 1972 he had a studio in Montparnasse, in a building briefly occupied by Modigliani. 

At a very young age, I was attracted to art and drawing. During High School, I would create comics for my friends and then one day, in 1964, my father had me do two small paintings.

Afterward, I continued painting in a small studio in the provinces. I enjoyed spending time creating with close friends. During the 1980-84 period, I was selected as a French artist at the Grand Palais in Paris. We had to show our painting to the jury through a door to know whether or not we were allowed to enter the Grand Palais! 

Q:  Do any current or past art trends affect your work?

A:  I was very influenced by Turner at the beginning. I love Picasso, Modigliani, Buffet, Goya, David, and the Bruegels brothers for their landscapes. I also love Fernand Léger for the structure of his works, the subjects he chose, and the balance in the position of his subjects in his works. J’adore la sculpture!


Q:  Can you tell us about your artistic style?

A:  I used to be more of an impressionist painter. Gradually, I abandoned the brush. At a certain point, I realized that I had to let go…that’s why I now use only the spatula (or knife). When I turned to the spatula, it freed me! Now, I am considered an abstract expressionist painter. 


Q:  Can you tell us about your art?

A:  I often don’t know what I’m going to create when I’m first in front of a blank canvas. I also do not know exactly how the work comes to me. The only thing I know is that, as the great singer Jacques Brel would say, “when I do the same thing again, it has no more interest.”

I like to create contrasts, such as the contrast between the concrete of buildings and nature. The theme of solitude is also fascinating for me. When I paint an American city, I don’t represent any car or person, I start from the principle that Man is alone even in society. I draw lines that guide the gaze toward the horizon, towards a certain destiny, where each individual will be able to find their way. Man doesn’t know where they come from, they are in perpetual search of meaning and everything around them is just futility.

In my paintings, beyond the horizon hides my dream, the dream of everyone…

I like to keep a good sense of balance in my work through perspective and color tones. In my paintings, at the level of the horizon, I place a tiny red dot, almost unnoticeable. My father would say “the red dot unconsciously attracts the eye.”  I do it in memory of my father.

Works sometimes sit in my studio for a long time. Sometimes, they have to be left to dry, but sometimes, to achieve a certain result, I am obliged to wait. I cover paintings that I don’t like and wait for time to pass, allowing them to evolve later. For me to sign a painting, it must seduce me. After a while, I eventually make the last touches and finally…I sign.


Q:  Do any of your other interests, hobbies, or people in your life influence your current work?

A:  Besides the crossword puzzles that I enjoy, I love comedy. I write comedic sketches, and with my friends, I am a clown!  I like to dress up and pretend I am someone else. I make fun of myself – I crack myself up! I have created about twenty humorous works, I even created a show set. On the other hand, I am not funny in my paintings! 

I also love acting. I have performed in 30 plays, as well as humorous music hall shows. Once, for a play, I painted a Mona Lisa!


Q:  Can you tell us about your experience when exhibiting? 

A:  I have exhibited in Milan, London, Brussels, France, and Germany. My work has even been on show next to paintings by Andy Warhol! At these expos, I receive great feedback from the public – they love what I create.

I have the impression that my works appeal most to women. They seem to have a “crush” on my work, and bring their husbands along. On the other hand, when I exhibited in Miami, I showcased 5 of my paintings and a gentleman bought all 5 of them on the first day of the show! He wanted to hang them on a staircase in his home.


“What makes me go is my wife. I am nothing without her…Love is my engine.”

Richard Dubure