The Source of Inspiration
...about Francois Leger
When asked "What is the source of your inspiration?" Francois Leger replies, "I Love People!" in his unmistakably French accent. "I am interested in people. Chefs are real people. They enjoy life, all the pleasures of life, good produce, which makes good food, good wine, which makes great sauces, good friends to share all of that. Chefs are artists, they just use a different palette than me. I use a palette of colors and they use a palette of taste and aroma. When I look at a chef preparing his sauce for Coq au Vin, I look at myself mixing my colors and sometimes when the experience and the imagination reach the level of your passion – you end up with a masterpiece! That is what I call talent." When Francois Leger speaks about his favorite subjects – chefs – you can see he speaks with true love and respect for the art of cooking.
You understand where his passion comes from when you look into his past. At the young age of ten, Leger became fascinated with the kitchen of his father's restaurant. What intrigued the youngster was the aroma and sounds of the French kitchen. It was the center of his family's life. He was impressed with the black and white suits of the army of chefs, and enchanted by the music and rhythm of cutting knives and boiling sauces. Francois was destined to be a chef.
However, his destiny was changed when at the age of 16 he was introduced by his professor to the magic of color and lights. He recalls his earlier encounters, "I remember with the same vibrant pleasure my first vision of "The Water Lilies" by Monet and my first dinner at Paul Bocuse's Restaurant. The serenity of still lilies and the power of Van Gogh's portraits enlightened his path to recognition and success.
Francois Leger's paintings are the emotional expressions of his heightened love of people, who have passed through his life sharing their stories with him. With great intensity he continues "Emotion! Everything is emotions and feelings. After a good dinner, what is better than a good cigar, a glass of very old cognac and conversation with good friends? I love to share stories, I love people with stories. Chefs, of course, but also doormen, concierge, bartenders, chauffeur and waiters. They are full of incredible stories. All their stories are my paintings, my life. I love life and everything that goes with it. I love to be alive!" As I end my conversation with him I begin to understand the meaning of the words "Bon Vivant"– someone who loves life – Francois Leger.