Jean-Michel Folon, the travelling paintbrush
Jean-Michel Folon worked on many materials and created in various forms including watercolour, painting, engraving, sculpture, tapestry, postage stamps and stage sets. In the 1960s, this Brussels artist, born in Uccle on 1 March 1934, produced his first drawings that propelled him to the forefront of the global art scene.
What Folon proposes to the viewer of each of his works is to make a poetic inner journey, a spiritual journey... In the United States, renowned magazines such as Horizon, Esquire and The New Yorker, would publish his drawings without even meeting him. In 1969, he held his first exhibitions in New York.
Subsequently, Folon would exhibit his works all over the world, in the most prestigious museums, from the United States to France, Japan, Italy, Argentina and Great Britain. He illustrated the literary works of famous writers and poets such as Franz Kafka, Ray Bradbury, Boris Vian and Jacques Prévert, and created large-scale murals in cities including Milan, Rome and London. He would also make his talent available to the most important institutions. He is responsible for noteworthy illustrations such as the logo for the bicentenary of the French Revolution (1989) and the illustration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the United Nations (1988). Human rights were also a source of inspiration for him.
Attached to his roots, Folon did not forget the country of his birth. In 1997, he created "La mer" for the city of Knokke-le-Zoute, a bronze sculpture facing the sea which is covered by the waves at every tide and "Le Messager" in the Brussels Park in memory of murdered children. In 2000, "Voler", a 3-metre bronze was installed at Brussels National Airport. In 2001, his imposing sculpture "La ville en marche" was placed near the Gare du Nord in Brussels.
On 27 October 2000, he created the Folon Foundation at the farm of the castle of La Hulpe, within the Solvay Estate, a park in Walloon Brabant where he spent his childhood: www.fondationfolon.be. This is the place for discovering "the works which he has preserved to see them brought together one day in the same place".
In September 2003, the Belgian artist was appointed Knight of the Legion of Honour by the French President, Jacques Chirac. He passed away from leukaemia on 20 October 2005.
Photo: © Wikipedia / Andrea Rauch