A German teacher for 25 years at the Bouchardon Institute in Chaumont, Gabrielle Hollensett is a painter. Installed today on the Ile de Ré, the artist produces colorful paintings.
Fifth of eight children, Gabrielle grew up in Valenciennes: “My German parents settled in France after dangerously leaving the Soviet occupation zone on a locomotive in 1948. My father and several of my sisters drew well, which led to family competitions under the admiring gaze of a mother who, for her part, transmitted to us her skin-deep sensitivity and her taste for singing, music and poetry. »
When the girlfriends copy the lessons, the high school student draws, he imagines entering an art school, but… “I continued in an Institute of interpreters and translators attached to the University of Mainz. German, English, Spanish… Michelin hires me in Karlsruhe where I translate all kinds of documents. With my first salary I equipped myself with everything I needed to paint. »
Three years later, Gabrielle reoriented herself towards teaching. Cape in hand, the German teacher returned to school in Lorraine before being assigned to Haute-Marne in 1978: “College in Nogent, Lycée Bouchardon in Chaumont… Teaching German fills me to the extent that it reminds me of my origins and by transmitting my mother tongue, it seems to me that I promote cultural rapprochement between the two countries. I am happy with my career at Bouchardon High School, I passed the aggregation there in 1994. »
On the heights of Brottes, Gabrielle and her family savor the serenity of the place: “Fantastic sunsets, lush vegetation, the lapping of the river below, the banks of the Suize, the Corgebin, the canal, the walks whose images stayed forever in my head and remain a source of inspiration today: mushrooms in all seasons, sleighs in winter, daffodils, lily-of-the-valley in spring, blackberries in summer and the brilliant colors of autumn, the elegance of the deer and the roe deer, the disturbing growl of the wild boar, the fox that saw only the red and white plume of its tail, the great deer doing us the honor of his slab. Thinking of all this makes me want to fly away! »
And the paint in all this?
As a child, Gabrielle draws; teenager, she paints. After a very classical beginning, the artist changed his style: “Then I had my period of self-psychoanalysis where I settled accounts with myself, then I followed the Fauves, the Expressionists. Influenced by current events, by my experience as a committed and rebellious woman, concerned about the evolution of our land and our natural heritage, my painting expresses above all my feelings towards life. »
When not painting, Gabrielle becomes a soprano in the Chaumont choirs or joins the jazz singing workshop “Agitez le Vocal” created by Vincent Bardin, with whom she sang for sixteen years. In 2005, the young retiree enrolled at the Chaumont Conservatoire to learn the basics of music theory and opera singing.
In 2015, Gabrielle left to write the following about the Île de Ré: “My painting recreates the atmospheres of maritime and industrial landscapes. My work attracts and fascinates by the harmony of colors, lights and the poetic emotion that emerges. I’m on the Ile de Ré in winter, but from May to October everything gets complicated, because the island has become a tourist attraction. The towns have lost their character. The prices are prohibitive. »
November 2019. The artist exhibits again at the Maison des Carmélites in Chaumont: “I lived for almost 38 years in Chaumont, I am still very attached to this city on a human scale. I will come back to him as much as possible. »
From our correspondent Serge Borne