October 16, 2018

“Les Roses de Bagatelle”, a homage to the Maison Guerlain

Royal Bridges’ Managing Director,  Baron Henri Estramant,  Ann-Caroline Prazan, Guerlain’s Artistic Director,  artist Rashid Al Khalifa and Princess Esther Kamatari, Guerslain’s Brand Ambassador.

BRashid Al Khalifa

3 May – 8 June 2018, Maison Guerlain, 68 Champs-Élysées, FR-75008 PARIS

In 1777, the Count d’Artois (himself later the last “King of France” as Charles X), a younger brother to King Louis XVI, accepted Queen Marie-Antoinette‘s challenge to build a small château, indeed a maison de plaisance from the decaying Domaine de Bagatelle located in the Bois de Boulogne, in the outskirts of Paris, within but hundred days. Queen Marie Antoinette wanted to indulge a jolly moment there before the Royal Court had to move to the regal Domaine of Fontainebleau.

Unbelievably the resourceful Count d’Artois won the bet, for the residence was completed in merely sixty-four days. Marie Antoinette was 100 000 pounds poorer as a consequence.

Recorded as strikingly elegant by contemporaries, cosy for its visitors and joyful in atmosphere, the entrance to the château’s façade bears the inscription in Latin Parva sed apta or in English “Small but suitable”. And thus can one describe the “folie d’Artois”, renowned for its romantic scenery, its exquisite rose garden as well as the soothing pink pastel colours of the château’s walls.

Lush gardens were subsequently expanded, and trees planted since the end of the XVIII century, including oaks, pines, sequoia and cedars. Numerous statues, a Chinese pagoda, small bridges and grottoes adorn the panorama. Roses, irises, perennials,
clematises, peonies are in abundance throughout the area that is now one of Paris’ four botanical gardens. Intrinsically linked to France’s royal and imperial heritage, the Maison Guerlain has also drawn inspiration from this magnificent “folie d’Artois” for the production of verily French fragrances. In fact, in 1983 the Parc de Bagatelle, inspired Jean-Paul Guerlain‘s scent “Le Jardin de Bagatelle”, when he envisioned what he uttered to be “an irresistible melody for a fulfilled and spontaneous woman in love”.

“Roses de Bagatelle”, by Rashid Al Khalifa.

Similarly, artist Rashid Al Khalifa‘s recent series “Roses de Bagatelle” was galvanised by the Château de Bagatelle’s flowery landscape, its pastel colours and joie de vivre; thereby calling to the beholder’s minds the garden’s scents, the flora combined with a sense of everlasting joyfulness, and savoir vivre inherited for the amusement and delight of generations to come.

A continuation from the iconic convex form that takes precedence as the foundation of Rashid’s work, each piece in this series employs delicate and intricately crafted aluminium flowers onto the curved, matte-enamelled surface in patterns. The resulting symmetrical compositions further demonstrate Rashid’s desire to formulate statements on minimalism, purity and balance, this time including natural representations of roses upon the foreground.

Interestingly, each work is distinguishable by their pattern, or by the number of roses that adorn their surface. Yet this number is not an indication of the authority of an individual piece, just as a single rose holds no less value than a bouquet of roses- it’s value is dependent on the context within which it is presented.

Works from previous series will also be exhibited at the Maison Guerlain that typify Rashid’s œuvre; representations of time, dimension, space and light where a circle presides over the form. Ambiguous and inherent of a sense of mystery, the surface of each work reflects varying states of consciousness, mediations of an artist in his move towards minimalism.

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About the artist, Rashid Al Khalifa

Rashid Al Khalifa was born the land of the Garden of Eden, Bahrain in 1952. He began painting at the age of 16 and had his first solo exhibition at the Dilmun Hotel, Bahrain back in 1970. He travelled to the UK in 1972 where he attended the Brighton and Hastings Art College in Sussex and trained in Arts and Design. Back in Bahrain in 1978, he took his cues from European impressionist masters. He was preoccupied with painting desert landscapes that exemplify the beautiful luminosity and mysterious spatial effects that he was able to conjure through his art-schooled technique. He showcased his magnificent landscapes at the Middle East Institute, Washington, D.C., USA and the Sheraton Hotel, Bahrain (1982).

Rashid Al Khalifa was the first president of Bahrain Arts Society, and currently holds the function therein as “Honorary President”. He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions internationally. Solo exhibitions include Ayyam Gallery, Dubai (2018), Shuman Arts Organisation, Amman, Jordan (1997), De Caliet Gallery, Milan, Italy, and El Kato Kayyel Gallery, Milan (1996). His work as also been featured in group exhibitions such as La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy (2017 and 2015), Third Mediterranean Biennale, Sakhnin Valley (2017), Bahrain Arts Society, Manama, Bahrain (2016), Royal Bridges, Dubai (2016), tRIO Bienal, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2015), Issoudin Museum, Issoudin, France (2015), Galerie Gmurzynska, Art Basel Miami Beach (2010) Bahrain National Musuem, Manama (2002), Taipei Art Exhibition, Tapei, Taiwan (1999), Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah, UAE (1999), and Art America Exhibition, Miami, USA (1997). 

About the Maison Guerlain

Since 1828, Guerlain explores, innovates and perfects fragrances, skincare products and makeup. Guerlain is a luxury house of daring creators, producing mythical creations with timeless savoir-faire. A ‘Culture of Beauty’ is its signature. During the II French Empire, Guerlain was a purveyor to the Imperial Court under Emperor Napoléon III and Empress Eugénie.

For the last twelve years Guerlain began a partnership with the Foire internationale d’art contemporain (Fiac), sponsors the Design Award of Daniel and Florence Guerlain as well as the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP).

Particular exhibitions and art collaborations are meant to highlight Guerlain’s patronage for beauty and artistic creation.

For more information:

Homepage of Rashid Al Khalifa: https://rashidalkhalifa.me

Royal Bridges: http://royalbridges.org/home/project/he-shaikh-rashid-bin-khalifa-al-khalifa/

Wikipedia profile: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashid_bin_Khalifa_Al_Khalifa

http://www.diplomatmagazine.nl/2015/03/01/rashid-al-khalifa-realm-art-bahrain-world/

Art Bahrain: http://artbahrain.org/home/

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Photography by the Private Office of Sheik Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa. 

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