"A multimedia man before the word was invented"
The founder of the Centre Artistique de Piégon died on August 25th, 2000. But the ties of friendship that he had nurtured since settling in Provence have allowed his work to continue thanks to all those who experienced his hospitality, his incomparable personality, his bold character, and his flamboyant and infinitely loving nature. The evocation of what he has meant for others includes: "an enlightened guide", "this sower of ideas that released energies, "" the image of a prophet such as Moses "," a true scholar as in the times of the Renaissance.” A unanimous homage is paid to his strong personality and warm-heartedness.
The tributes are eloquent: '' he was always the very symbol of a total commitment that seemed unable to find its limit,” '' the great attention he gave to others was a reflection of his joy in creating; '' '' he had an amazing capacity for devoting himself and he had the courage to imbue his works with the highest values; "" he was always filled with physical and moral projects, with an almost too great dose of vitality and kindness.” “He was aware of being a link between the Provence of antiquity and the welcoming characteristic of the real Provence. It is difficult to imagine that he has left us;” ' “Jean-Pierre in the prime of life discovered this superb property; dazzled by the site, he dedicating his life and heritage to it. He saw his property as that which he made it - his empire. Repairs, burdens of all kinds, his dangerous generosity, nothing prevented him from enjoying what he had created and of enabling others to enjoy it as well.”
The spiritual stature of Jean-Pierre Eichenberger radiates and reveals not only the intensity of a life consecrated to others, but also carries within it a strength of love that creates a new unity. '' “A sun has been taken away from this galaxy. However, the fruit of the seeds already sown, announce, at the beginning of autumn, a promise of continuity.” The Centre is very much alive, and tends towards “that which has not yet been created” which was the engine of the activity of the initiator. Full of Jean-Pierre Eichenberger's spirit it is entrusted to us, ready to be pursued and developed according to whatever we, all together, will be able to offer
Birth of “La Belle Vendangeuse”
At a meeting of the local association Jean-Pierre Eichenberger, president of the Centre Artistique de Piégon, suggested to the Municipality to enhance the naked rock with sculpture, and the proposal was accepted.
The artist chose to symbolize the vines.
This proposal for this monumental sculpture (26 x 6 meters) did not include requests for any financial remuneration, in spite of the equipment needed for such an ambitious work.. (pneumatic drill, compressor, scaffolding, etc.). However as the town was enthusiastic, the Mayor, Georges Serret, and his council which included Aline Eichenberger (the artist's daughter-in-law) eagerly sponsored the project and established a fund for donations to cover the costs
“Mindful of the natural forms dug into the rock by erosion and sleek with age, we had to bring a rhythm to the surfaces that had recently been dug into - the stone from which villagers had long ago extracted the stone walls of their houses and their farmyards. Inspired by the same creative excitement as in those days and encouraged by the approval of the townspeople, the artists and residents of the Artistic Center would release from the rock the symbol of the prosperity of our community and our region. The vines.
"Bare stalks in winter, burgeoning with flowers in spring, leafy in summer and heavy with grapes in autumn, the vines are among the most ancient crops of the Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and medieval civilizations. The geometry of its wide foliage harmonizes in the brilliant sunlight with the deep shadows in which the fruit is hidden."
"Nature alone could have represented an infinite variety of shapes, but the artist wanted a human representation in the person of a gracious and feminine harvester of the grapes, “La Belle Vendangeuse”.
Jean-Pierre Eichenberger, a painter and sculptor
In Switzerland, where Eichenberger was born, he designed and executed frescoes on private or public buildings before settling in Piégon in 1957, seduced by the light and the mellowness of the landscapes. He then devoted himself to easel painting, while patiently restoring a vast house open to artists and patrons of the Arts, in such an equilibrium as to enable him in 1965 to open the doors of the “Centre Artistique de Piégon".
“La Belle Vendangeuse” is a monumental sculpture by Jean-Pierre Eichenberger depicting the beauty of a harvest figure of the Côtes du Rhône vineyards. Vendangeuse is the feminine of vendangeur, which means grape harvester.
Do you wish to know more about the artist and the Artistic Centre ? You may purchase the book "Jean-Pierre Eichenberger, Peintre et sculpteur..” Contact us by this form."