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Jean-Claude Gaugy Cover Artist
Symphony of the Americas Program Book
Jean-Claude Gaugy, famed French artist, has been a long-time friend and colleague of Maestro Brooks-Bruzzese. Both have pursued their artistic endeavors creating rhythmical life in their art. In the Jura mountain region of France, the Gaugy family has been artists for generations. Jean-Claude Gaugy entered the world and this tradition in 1944. He began his apprenticeship at age 7, doing daily drawings and working in the family foundry. At 14, he left for Paris, surviving by sketching portraits in cafes and eventually in an exclusive club where he made contact with the flamboyant surrealist Salvador Dali who, impressed with the young artist's talent, sponsored his first Paris gallery show. The unusual strength of Gaugy's work gained him early acceptance as a sculptor to École des Beaux Arts, a place in a show at the Musée d'Art Moderne, museum acquisition of his work by the Russian government, graduate study at Académie Julien and Académie du Feu in Paris, the School of Design in Paris, the School of Sculpture in Moscow and a treasured apprenticeship with sculptor Henry Moore.
Then, seeking greater artistic stimulation, in 1966 Gaugy immigrated to the United States. Upon arrival, however, he discovered only limited public interest in sculpture. Needing to sculpt, unwilling to "merely" paint, the young artist started carving bas relief images into heavy wood slabs which he then stained, making plaques that could hang on a wall. Gaugy thereby satisfied both his creative and economic needs. However, Gaugy is relentlessly creative, and he quickly became fascinated with the unexplored artistic challenges of wood. He experimented with each piece he made, and began a lifelong commitment to his signature medium of paintings carved into wood panels. Gradually, over time, his images moved from realism into more abstracted imagery, and he added very many-layered painting to his increasingly complex carved lines. He resolutely moved ancient craft into the realm of contemporary art and is now widely known as the father of Linear Expressionism.
Jean-Claude Gaugy spent 15 years in South Florida and served on the Board of the Sinfonia Virtuosi. Jean-Claude carves all of his paintings to music, and is deeply committed to the goals of the Symphony.
Early in their friendship, Gaugy, in the audience at a South Florida performance conducted by Maestro, was so inspired that he began sketching a work on an envelope during the performance. Gaugy created this work in his signature process that he invented — carving wood with hand chisels and finishing the work with paint overlay. The original was auctioned as a benefit to the Symphony, and limited edition signed posters were created of L'Espirit de la Musique in 1990. Jean-Claude Gaugy returned to South Florida in 2011 and renewed his commitment to the Symphony. He currently serves on the Board of the Symphony of the Americas. Commemorating this 20 year friendship, the Symphony and Maestro are proud to feature the work of Jean-Claude Gaugy on our cover series.