S he is goddaughter of the fashion designer, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, but Noémie de Yturbe is a contemporary artist in her own right, known for her impactful use of colour. For Sotheby's upcoming Styles sales in Paris, she has selected works to create an elegant fusion of antique furniture, silver and her contemporary colorful paintings.
Praising her free-spirited style, gallerist Pierre-Alain Challier says: “Noémie’s studio, tucked away between the Musée Picasso and the art galleries of the Marais, is an explosion of colour. Her painting style resembles her – free and spontaenous – the colours an antidote to gloominess. One immediately feels the energy and the authenticity of an instinctive artist, one who dares to confront chromatic colours with a bold and uninhibited palette. Noémie has the freshness of young artists and signs her paintings with humour, hiding a small lucky ladybug in each of her works. Discovering them is a game that teaches one to look rather than to see.”
Here Noémie discusses the roots of her artistry, her influences and methods.
Your canvases and your studio invoke a joyful energy, what drives you?
Since childhood, drawing has been a place of freedom for me, of creation, something resembling a lost paradise. There I can express a part of myself: a happy poem explosive in its colours and its representations. Colour is, for me, a form of creative therapy: I draw strength from it to bring forth what lies deep down: an invitation to encounters and to the imagination
I understand that your godfather, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, influenced you. Can you tell us more?
I am the second to last of five children. In a large family, you have to find your place and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac helped me to find mine. As a very average student at school, Jean-Charles knew to encourage my artistic impulses, repeating this beautiful line of verse from René Char: "Impose ta chance, va vers ton risque". At the beginning of lockdown, he suggested that I move away from the figurative to go towards a more abstract and vibrant universe, which I really enjoyed doing!
What painting techniques do you use?
After having worked for a long time with Indian ink and watercolour, I recently turned to acrylic and brush pens, which express the brightness of colours with a vibration that inspires me. In some cases, I use upholstery tacks to bring strength into a work, creating a dialogue between matter and colour.
The exhibition “Peintres femmes, 1780-1830, naissance d’un combat" will soon be opening at the Musée du Luxembourg. How do you position yourself in this history?
The struggle of women to impose their artistic legitimacy on the world is something that touches me. The upcoming exhibition at the Musée du Luxembourg highlights these women who, like Elisabeth Vigée-Le Brun, overturned existing codes with infinite subtlety. An interesting anecdote: my grandfather Jean-Joseph de Laborde was one of her great supporters. My work is crisscrossed by the influence of women artists: from Sonia Delaunay to Nikki de Saint Phalle to Kusama, I owe them a lot.
Can you tell us more about your choices from the Style sale? How do you feel about this juxtaposition of your own works with antique pieces?
What amuses me is the juxtaposition of different styles and eras. Hubert de Givenchy, who was a friend, had this genius. His workshop in Eure et Loir was an intelligent, talented dialogue between 18th century French taste and his own post-modernist collages. As far as the Style sale is concerned, I must confess my own fondness for Buccellati silver: the silver centrepiece with cups shaped as shells is splendid, as is the 18th century gilt bronze clock. And what a joy to have brought together all these beautiful objects in my studio: the juxtaposition with my own works was truly inspiring.