“Michael French’s own inner peace is reflected in the tranquility of his landscapes. Rendered with a detailed observation that is almost Pre-Raphaelite, the results nonetheless manifest some of the mystical naiveté of the fantasy junglescapes of Henri Rousseau.” – Christopher “Kip” Forbes, Vice Chairman, Forbes, Inc.
“The Canadian north is in my psyche; it forms a part of my being. Indeed, it was a metaphysical experience for me to grow up partially in Muskoka and Georgian Bay and I think it is part of the psyche of many Canadians I know.” – Michael French
Available works range between $9,800 and $60,000
Michael French has exhibited internationally as a professional visual artist over the past 50 years. Michael has held solo shows in Montréal, Toronto, Paris and New York including two shows at the former Forbes Gallery on Fifth Avenue. (Kip and Astrid Forbes became loyal patrons and close friends to the artist over the years.) Michael has exhibited at Hammer Gallery, Findlay Gallery, Whitfield Gallery, Denis Di Lorenzo Gallery and Humphrey Gallery in New York City. Over his illustrious career, Michael has worked with Roberts Gallery and Galerie Walter Klinkhoff in Canada. Kinsman Robinson Galleries has exclusively represented Michael French over the past thirteen years.
Whether it’s the deft and subtle handling of a San Miguel de Allende night scene or the majesty and tranquility of a Northern Ontario lake view, Michael French pleasantly surprises us with his finely detailed artistic vision. Michael French’s range is truly exceptional: from granite shoreline, to marshy lake; from prairie grain elevator to child in an arm chair or vase of fresh cut flowers. Michael French has carefully built his repertoire over a lifetime of observation and fifty years exhibiting as a professional artist. The depth of Michael French’s observation skills are reflected in his refined technique, a hybrid of contemporary and old master practices, brought together to bring to the viewer his uniquely personal version of Hyperrealism.
The popularity of Michael’s paintings combined with his dedicated following of collectors have enabled him to support himself as a professional artist for fifty years. Michael’s relationships with individual collectors can inspire his subject matter as he travels the continent, painting and photographing locales, staying with those patrons that have become close personal friends. A Canadian expatriate who resides in the small Mexican village of San Miguel de Allende, Michael finds inspiration in his local surroundings as well as from his travels.
Reflective light and tranquil waters are familiar elements in Michael’s work as he explores the nuances of illumination and shadow. Working in the studio, Michael deliberately excludes extraneous elements in his compositions in order to distil his vision and to convey his ideal image to the viewer—an emotional state of near-surreal perfection. Mysterious and dreamlike, these mesmerizing scenes entice the viewer into the calm and serene world Michael seeks to portray. He intends his paintings, such as La Playa Tranquila, to be contemplative. They invite the viewer to scan the landscape in a reflective mood, much as they would walking the actual beach, watching the fog roll up the hill in the morning light.
Early on, Michael French set out to meet the iconic American realist, Andrew Wyeth, which helped to define the artist Michael would become. In 1972, the fledgling painter found Wyeth to be kind and supportive as he sought advice from the master.
Reminiscent of the Flemish Masters, Michael uses thin glazes of colour in oils to achieve the luminous quality of his work. He paints on specially constructed art boards made with acid-free, rag paper—sometimes textured—which are opaque white. Applying pencil to panel, he creates his images from memory and photographs. For the most part, he airbrushes the underpainting in acrylics sometimes using a resist to maintain a crisp edge. Acrylics define details such as waves or blades of grass which don’t require any blending. He finishes his paintings by hand, in oils, which he finds are richer and broader in range. Finally, he completes the weeks-long process by applying a minimum of eight thin layers of museum-quality varnish as a protective coating. Michael’s attention to detail is evident in every aspect of his work: from his careful and deliberate brushwork, to the precise rendering of his subject matter, down to the impeccable presentation in 23kt gold leaf frames. While Michael’s soft-spoken personality imparts an easygoing man, underneath lies an artist driven to achieve his vision. The works of Michael French have been widely exhibited in North America and abroad and are represented in numerous corporate and private collections.
Michael French with Paul Robinson at Kinsman Robinson Galleries.
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales; President Felipe Calderón of México; George Bush Presidential Library and Museum; Hon. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney; Hon. Frank Moores, estate; Hon. John Aird, estate; Hon. Barney Danson, estate; Hon. Don Jamieson, estate; Anne Murray, Singer and Performer; Christopher and Astrid Forbes, Forbes Magazine; Craig Dobbin, estate, Canadian Helicopter Corporation; Don Sobey, estate, Sobey’s; Douglas Mackay (former) RBC Dominion Securities; Fraser Fell (former) RBC Dominion Securities; Garnet Watchorn, President, Graywood Developments Ltd.; Stephan & Adriana Benediktson; Susan Glass and Arni Thorsteinson, President, Canadian Shelter Co.; Duncan and Judy Jessiman, President, Bison Transport; William Lovatt, CFO & Exec VP of Great-West Lifeco Inc. and Donna Lovatt; Dr. Steven and Elisabeth Funk, CEO Dignity Fund; Blane and Barbara King (former) President, Shoppers Optical; Gerry Connor, Cumberland RCB Management; Gordon Ritchie (past President) RBC Dominion Securities, New York; Irving Ungerman, Philanthropist, estate; Jeanne Beker, Canadian Journalist, Media Personality, and Fashion Entrepreneur; Dr. & Mrs. J. Barry French; Kenneth Field, President, Invest Corp.; Jim Meekison, President, Trimin Capital Corp.; Mark Wettlaufer (past President) Asset Management TD Bank; Moe Koffman, Flutist, musician, estate; Peter Widdirington, estate, Past Deputy, Commissioner of Major League Baseball; Peter Bronfman, estate; Brian Robbins, Exco Technology Ltd.; Ron Meade, Altamira Mutual Funds; Jim Thomson, Thomson Terminals; Jean Paul Leroy, Seprim Paris, France; Warren Thomson, Senior Exec VP & CIO, Manulife Financial Corporation; Marvin & Lynda Barnett; Robert Foster, President & CEO, Capital Canada; Robin Korthals, (past President) TD Bank; James McSherry, Vice-President CIBC; Reay Mackay (past Vice Chairman) RBC; Timothy Danson, Trial & Appellate Lawyer; Timothy Price, Chairman, Trilon; Mr. & Mrs. W.A. Breukelman, (former Owner) IMAX & Sciex; Monroe Meyerson, estate, Radiology Corp. of America; Ron Joyce, Co-Founder, Tim Hortons /Chairman Emeritus, Tim Horton Children’s Foundation; Pierre Lasonde (past CEO and President) Newmount Mining; Hartley Richardson, President & CEO, James Richardson & Sons Ltd.; Scott Beattie, Chairman, President & CEO, Elizabeth Arden, Inc.; William Tatham, Founder, Director & CEO, NexJ Systems Inc.; John & Sheryl Teed; John & Elizabeth Irving, Irving Oil; Henry Fiorilo, Value Gap; Ginde & Jacobo Becker, Dimond importers, México; Louise Kennedy, Fashion Designer, Dublin and London; Scotiabank; CIBC; CIT Group; AGF Management; RBC Dominion Securities; Davies, Ward, Phillips & Vineberg LLP; Gordon Securities; Heenan Blakie; Fiera Capital; Hiram Walker; Lloyds TSB; McCarthy Tetrault LLP; Borealis Group; RBC Financial Group; CAE Industries; SNC-Lavalin; Connor, Clark & Lunn; Xerox Corp.
Art copyright © 2020 Michael French. Text copyright © 2020 Kinsman Robinson Galleries. Photography by Forbes Museum, Alejandro Rivera and Michael Cullen/TPG Digital Art Services. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No component of this website, including images, text, video and computer code, may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means—electronic, graphic, digital or mechanical, including photocopying or information storage & retrieval systems—without the express prior written permission of Michael French.