Emmanuel de Chaunac

  • Senior Vice-​President Christie’s, USA

Who is the Man behind the Artist?

From my first meet­ing with Alain Godon what I liked about him straight away was his open­ness, spon­tane­ity and nat­ural man­ner. Alain is sim­plic­ity itself, in spite of his fame as an artist, and his fame is grow­ing both in this coun­try and now abroad. Over the course of our meet­ings and exchanges, I believe I have lit­tle by lit­tle dis­cov­ered what moti­vates him over and above any­thing else: love, friend­ship and a joy of sharing.

The Man will often hide behind the Artist and I think I may have found the key that opens up just one facet of his work. By observ­ing his paint­ings, we are aware of a con­stant pres­ence — a woman; that woman is his, she plays a cru­cial role in his life as an artist and as a man, she is his sanc­tu­ary, his anchor, his haven of peace, she is for­ever at his side. She is often accom­pa­nied by a mis­chie­vous dog recog­nis­able by the black patch over one eye. That dog is his and sym­bol­ises fidelity and, I think, for Alain it is also the sym­bol of friend­ship. Giv­ing a total free­dom when there is no threat of dan­ger but hold­ing tight in dif­fi­cult times.
Alain is in fact a strong pres­ence in the lives of his friends; wher­ever he is in world, he calls them to see how they are. When he plans a trip to New York, he always rings me and, diaries per­mit­ting, we try to arrange to meet up. If we do man­age this, it is always a plea­sure, even if we steal but a few brief moments in our hec­tic lives. What is more, he is gen­eros­ity itself and by that I don’t mean in mon­e­tary terms (and they are many who ben­e­fit from his mate­r­ial sup­port), but in terms of the heart.
Godon’s exhi­bi­tions, both in France and abroad, espe­cially in the USA, have met with for­mi­da­ble suc­cess, and one might expect him to have been, quite legit­i­mately, swept away by it all, think­ing only of fur­ther­ing his career and of future exhi­bi­tions. Alain has stayed the same; always there still for his near­est, atten­tive to what’s hap­pen­ing around him and on hand for his friends.
Suc­cess has brought him to reflect on his life, on his career, and has directed him in devel­op­ing his qual­i­ties as an Artist and in reveal­ing those of the Man.