Site officiel du sculpteur Etienne Audfray

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Presentation of the book


His book

Emotion by volume.

A very a beautiful book of 248 pages colors which presents the most beautiful drawings and the most beautiful works of the sculptor. The 7 chapters, of which you will find extracts here, present the whole of the work of the artist but also report, by many texts, the development of his art of his initiation to today.



Introduction Introduction
(Extracts of the chapter)

Etienne! A first name which marks,…, genetic and genealogical bonds since it is carried by the grandfather, the father and the small son. Fortunately, the grandfather is painter, the father is musician and the son is sculptor.
Born from an large family, Etienne Audfray was to find work at the seventeen years age to help his father has to bring up his six brothers and sisters. He thus leaves the school and search for an employment during one difficult period because of the climate of war which reigns in 1938. He is recruited in a geometrician. In 1943, captured by the Germans, we find him digging trenches until the Russian front. Discharged in May, 1945, he comes back in France and gets married. He works on the land registry. He is a father of three children and grandfather of seven children.
He is registered with the workshop of the Picard sculptor, then of Severac and finally of Petersen.Son activity of cartographer, related to the ministry of construction, allows him to live and bring up his children.
While he was busy between the office of mapping and the workshop of sculpture, he is elected a mayor of Bry-sur-Marne in 1965 and elected a General Councillor in 1973 and fellow candidate to the Senate at the sides of Alain Poher. Hands of the president of the Senate, he receives, on January 10th, 1982, the title of Knight of the National Order of the Merit.
In spite of many engagements personal, family, professional, municipal and political, he does not give up his career of sculptor.
The administrator and the creator mix in him in a harmonious way. The artist enjoys the rigour of the mayor and the mayor is enriched by the humanity of the artist.
He looks further into his love of art at the sides of his friend and spiritual Master Petersen of which he will be later the sole legatee.

Chapter I Chapter I
The Creator and the administrator
Of the pulpit of the nation to the bronze flesh
(Extracts of the chapter)

Studient of Picard, Severac, Petersen and Joachim, Etienne AUDFRAY was born on March 10, 1922 in Combrée, he is Chevalier in the National Order of the Merit and President of the S.N.B.A. (National Society of Fine Arts) until 2004. He built various public monuments with Bry on Marne, Noiseau, Bussy Saint Georges, in South Korea and elsewhere. (...).
He realized many busts of which that of Olivier d' Ormesson politician or great painters like Frederic Menguy and Gualtiero Gualtieri.
Here more than fifty years that Etienne Audfray practises the sculpture. He draws his inspiration in the various workshops where he teaches while making take part the students in the modelling and the drawing which are done jointly. Drawing, then modelling, then assembly, then completion with the plaster, to the foundry, where he controls wax, chiselling then the patina. Here is approximately the long and successive step of the sculptor.
Etienne Audfray adds that the monument, if necessary, requires the study of the site, the base and especially the environment to find its definitive place in the city. He carves directly on the plaster with several drawings and several preparatory red chalks studies.
The presence of the sculpture in the official public places, gardens, stations and monuments is not only one aesthetic necessity, but also an educational necessity. It is by it that the passers by are educated in the art.

Chapter II Chapter II
Genesis of work
Drafts, drawings and red chalk drawings
(Extracts of the chapter)

Before reaching the humanity of the bronze, he stayed for a long time in the universe of the drawing (...) When we visit Etienne Audfray's workshop), we are impressed by the extraordinary mass of drawings, sketches and red chalk drawings: another emotion another volume the drawing is, in a sense, the base, the source and the matrix of his sculptures.
How many drawings he draws “to determine” a sculpture even before modelling it on clay? He turns around a still abstract entity, as one turns around a totem, it to bring little by little to the world by a multitude of approaches, studies, drafts and sketch ... a hand... a shoulder... a foot... a bust... Then, little by little, the body appears in all its beauty. Etienne Audfray succeeded in being confined his work on paper, he now acts to give birth to it a second clay ground once.
As clerk of the State, Etienne Audfray was to show of cold blood, reason and self-control in his functions of mayor, General Councillor and President de Salon. He is differently in his drawings and sculptures where he can give free rein to his passion and his emotion.
Baudelaire said about Daumier: “The drawing of Daumier is naturally coloured (...) and awaken ideas of colors. His pencil contains another thing that black... it is necessary to guess the color like the thought... it is the sign of a higher art...” The alive line makes vibrate the flesh; and the body, flattered to be so much honoured, gives itself sensually onto the paper.
In his book 37 drawings are presented.

Chapter III Chapter III
The initiatory quest
Inhabited by the bronze
(Extracts of the chapter)

While the painter draws to go towards the color, the sculptor draws to go towards the volume. A considerable mass of drawings, sketches and drafts testify, if need be, to the will of Etienne Audfray to approach the sculpture with the greatest rigour and the largest respect.
The function of cartographer developed in him the need of the constructed, precise and moderate drawing. He has to ally in the drawing the speed of the movement to the precision of the gesture. The drawing has to follow the line of the body to allow the volume to fit there.
Etienne Audfray prefers the bronze to the stone. He finds in the bronze of the delicacies that we do not meet in the stone. Although he practises the stone, he discovers in the bronze a strength, a solidity and a power being perfectly convenient for his character. He likes the small ones as much as the great sculptures. However, he has a preference for the monumental sculptures. He thinks the sculpture according to architecture, he was always in favour of an essential dialogue between the sculpture and the city.
He has the conviction that a sculpture is formed for half by the model and for half by the artist. In the work of art it is necessary to avoid the stupid copy of the model and the excessive projection of the creator. Difficult exercise which consists in creating a work in which we are present and absent at the same time and in which the model itself should not have the monopoly.
By observing Etienne Audfray's statues, we note the permanent presence of the woman: "Indeed, the woman is more present than the man in my work... Probably because she is more beautiful. It is better to have a woman to sculpt that a man. Being a man, it is natural that I turn to the women. The subject of the woman is dominant at the plastic artist's.
The woman gives more emotion than the man. The anatomy of the woman is richer.".

Chapter IV Chapter IV
The maturation of work
The spirit and matter
(Extracts of the chapter)

UA sculpture not inhabited by the emotion would not be more than a mass of inert matter. He has to declare itself a real loving fusion(merger) between the physical entity of the clay and the metaphysical entity of the spirit so that emerge a work of art carried by the spiritual quintessence.
The modelling of a whole body supposes a complex preparation. Besides a particular mood, the sculpture requires several drawings and sketch beforehand.
The working sessions with the model and the sessions of cast are very long. The body is worked with clay, then with the plaster, then with wax to finish by bronze. The sculpture is not a a hand-to-hand combat between the sculptor and the model, but a a hand-to-hand combat between the sculptor and his work.
It matters little to him that a woman is beautiful or ugly, ultimately it is what he makes of her as a sculptor. He learnt with Petersen the measure, the light, the rigour, the emotion, the honesty with oneself, the respect of the other, the harmony and the precision
We improve in the life with what we know by itself, but also from what we learn of the other one. What would we be without all these beings which feed us, support us and make us live by living in us? Austere and modest, Etienne Audfray releases the body of the woman of the coarse and vulgar eroticism to show it in a chaste, noble, pure and almost divine nudity.

Chapter V Chapter V
Victory of the sculpture
The finality of work
(Extracts of the chapter)

Why to carve? With this question, I would answer by another: why to write? Why to sing? The sculpture is an art which proceeds of the sight and the touch, but also of the memory and, like all other arts, of the emotion.
To move by the volume, certainly associated with the matter (stone, marble or bronze) and with the symbolic system of the subject; it is to touch the spectator or the amateur, in the middle of the feeling.
And for this reason, I think that it is to better leave the aesthetic assets, that simple speech to hit the mark. Thus, like the landscape for the painter, the human body is the most effective starting point of the sculpture to cause the aesthetic emotion. The human body in the broad sense, because it can be also the animal, the bust, the group, and even the landscape for the medal for example.
The sculpture is also the big sister of the architecture, which would make well today remember this filiation, because like it, and sometimes better than it, occupies space. What would be the "Place de la Concorde" without the Obelisk, the "Place Vendôme" without its Column, the "Place de la Bastille" without its genius, the "Grand Palais" without the quadrigae of Récipon? … It is perhaps the reason for which the religions and the governments called upon it, one day or the other. Etienne Audfray.

Chapter VI Chapter VI
Prestige of the bust
Other excitement
(Extracts of the chapter)

C'eIt is in the art of the bust that one finds Etienne Audfray the sculptor in perfect adequacy with his function of mayor and of general advisor in measurement or his models are in the majority of the politicians, the colleagues, the mayors and the general advisors.
The place occupied by the busts in Etienne Audfray's universe is dominating. We count hundred of varied pieces.
As specifies it the author, it is “free” work, because it is rare that the model buys his portrait. We can meet known and unknown people, members of parliament, mayors, artists, and then anonymities.
Etienne Audfray does not work on photographs but on models which come to pose in his workshop.
Sometimes he modifies such or such detail of the face according to the harmony of the unit. He likes to remind "With the stone, we remove matter, and with clay, one adds matter”.
It is indeed pleasant to see Etienne Audfray modelling the ground according to the aspect of the model, then to give of the clay pellets here and with the concern of balance forms and volumes there. The face finally appears, so moving as the original, except one is mortal and the other is immortal.
Between a sculpture representing a body and that dedicated to a monument, the step is not completely the same one. We do not think of the work in the same way.
When one works on a human model, one thinks only of work.
On the other hand, as soon as it is a question of setting up a monument, we think on its volume, its height, its place, its harmony with the space and about its dialogue with the city. In the light of these data, it is necessary to choose the matter (bronze, stone, marble) and to work strictly with the master builder and the architects.

Chapter VII Chapter VII
Monuments and fountains
The dialogue with the city
(Extracts of the chapter)

PBy his municipal functions, Etienne Audfray always was very attached to the dialogue with the city. This obviousness founds the truth of his life and his art.
His urbanistic formation facilitated his project to establish a fertile relationship between the architecture and the sculpture.
His love of the city propelled him logically towards the outdoor sculpture.
In Noiseau, Etienne Audfray set up a memorial between the church and the town hall. He called this sculpture “the War and Peace”. The war represented by the sword and peace by an olive branch.
As his professor and friend Petersen, Etienne Audfray is attentive to the quality of the bases which have to harmonize with the sculpture. Of any angle where from we look at it, the sculpture is harmony and beauty.
At the entry of Bucy-Saint-Georges, one can see opposite in face and in opposite, Nausica, Phryné and Aspasie which are there to express the durability of the things.
In the heart of the city of Plessy Trévise we can admire his work "The Fountain of the virtues " placed on the marketplace and so conferring on the place a specific identity. Of a height of 3m50, it is set up in the glory of the experience, the force, the audacity and the perseverance.
Among the monumental works which he realized, we cannot omit to mention his sculpture: "The Marne" which represents the river by a woman layed in her bed. The proportions between all the elements of the body are harmonious. This woman layed, peaceful, quiet and full of energy is capable of all the overflowing.

Conclusion Conclusion
(Extracts of the chapter)

DIn the quest of the perfection, the life of every creator comes down to a constant struggle between several aspirations. It is asked to the artist to reconcile extremes ones constituting the basis of the being.
For Etienne Audfray, his action is significant as far as he has to succeed in him, the harmonious meeting, of two paradoxical characters: the mayor, worried about his worthiness and respectful of the convenience and the artist insurgent against the dogmas and disrespectful in the plastic research.
This way of managing the existence encourages to the admiration and to the respect. Son of a musician and a grandson of a painter, Etienne Audfray found in the artistic dimension a kind of permanence almost biological coming to stabilize the unchanging values which the time wants to erase. Having the same first name as his father and as his grandfather, he becomes in a sense the guarantor of the continuity and the identity of the group. This position grants him the privilege to find the adequate expression carrying the family memory. Man of patience and ordeal, Etienne Audfray is a man of work.

Thanks Thanks

I address my thanks to all those who participated in the realization of this work and quite particularly Catherine Watel for the documentation and the secretariat, Pierre Jacquemin for the iconographic contribution, to Clémenti and Figini founders of art, to J.M. Bauquier, to J.J. Gegou, to J.M. Pear tree, to René Dessert, to J.A. Benisti, to the models which agreed to pose hours in workshop, to Khaled, Zied and Mehdi Chelbi, to Akkawi, Claudio Finzi and Remi Gaulinat. With you all my friendship and my gratitude.

Commande Order the Book

You wish to offer this very beautiful book to a close relation (or yourself) dedicated by Etienne Audfray.
Send a mail indicating to the name, first name, addresses delivery as well as the indications for the dedication. Join a cheque and address the whole to Etienne Audfray, 26, rue Franchetti 94360 Bry-sur-Marne. France.
The price of the work is of 55 euros port included for the Metropolitan France and Corsica, of 65 euros for the DOM and 71 euros for TOM.

For the other countries, send a message here to ask the taxes.


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