The Pursuit of Happiness is the first exhibition in the United States of the work of Bordeaux artist Arnaud Faugas. Mr. Faugas is well known in France for his watercolors celebrating the country's most renowned wine region, as well as the history of his elegant city, including its special relationship with the United States beginning in the 18th century. The Pursuit of Happiness reflects the joys of life from the fruit of the vine to music to celebrations of history. Through his use of vibrant color, imaginative images and a whimsical flair, Mr. Faugas exudes happiness and freedom through painting and Stanford in Washington is delighted to share his creations, which will inevitably enchant audiences on this side of the Atlantic as they have in France.
In the universe of Faugas, there are often multiple connected tales being told in clever vignettes woven together in larger works.
Excerpts from A Conversation with Arnaud Faugas
with Pierre de Ferluc
Arnaud Faugas, tell us about your career path.
You are self-taught; how did you discover that you knew how to draw? Do you have any particular influences?
What would you like to say to us with your paintings? Do you have a particular message?
What attracted me about his art is that it encapsulates several very important aspects of Bordeaux and the Aquitaine region--wine, architecture and history.
Bordeaux, of course, is the capital of the largest fine wine growing region in the world. And, in the last 20 years, the city has been revived under the current mayor, Alain Juppé, who among other projects has cleaned up and illuminated its many architectural treasures. Both of these are much in evidence in Arnaud's work. For me he manages to capture both the spirit and the essence of Bordeaux's wine and the city itself. There is much about the French "je ne sais quoi" and their "joie de vivre" in his art that everyone can take pleasure in. There is also considerable history between Bordeaux and the United States, which Arnaud often references. Bordeaux was our first consular post in the world, due in large part to the fact that much of the French assistance to the American Revolution was channeled through its port. Lafayette also sailed from the area, first on La Victoire and then on L'Hermione, to fight in our revolution. Thomas Jefferson visited Bordeaux in 1787, when he was our representative to France, and he helped to instigate our long love affair with wines from that region. During WWI Bordeaux was the debarcation point for hundreds of thousands of American troops, training there before being sent to the front. And, Bordeaux is a sister city of Los Angeles.