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Essay written by Gabriel Delgado,
Assistant Director, Rosenbaum Contemporary
“Rolande Death of a Painter, Golden” conveys a world of chaos and order, weighted by a darker subtext.
To understand the Rolande image, one must understand the circumstances. Over time, it is said acquaintances and neighbors become family, sharing in the good times and the bad. They often see triumphs and failures, but support us along the unique journeys of friendship. Thus was case between neighbors, Simon Procter, the photographer and Rolande, a reclusive painter who lived downstairs. Elusive interactions of quiet pleasantries to shared vodka drinks, these two creative counterparts were cemented by a fostered relationship between the artist’s daughter and this 70 plus year old artist. Trading debates of childhood reasoning with mature wisdom, these two unlikely comrades bonded under the inquisitive eyes of Procter.
One morning it was discovered that the painter had passed away. As Procter describes it, “Xavier (a friend of Procter’s) bravely climbed through the upper window and peered down through the trapdoor, he saw her body that had been there for many days, and then the forces of order descended and asked us all such ordinary questions, and the dream was over.”
What consummated next was a trusting agreement between the deceased artist’s family and Simon Procter. Rolande’s grieving family allowed Procter, along with a handpicked crew from Christian Dior Couture and a supporting Paris based creative team to an unlimited access of the painter’s undisturbed studio and living space. The spirit of the painter can be seen in the images shot on this sacred location. Brushes still in water and thinner, canvases littered about and haphazard studio arrangements portray a withdrawn individual –secluded in her own creative setting. French model, Pauline Serreau was given the daunting task of channeling the deceased artist’s persona while balancing the artist’s need for stylish aesthetics.