France Seen by Nine Young American Artists
February 23 – March 1, 2006

612 North Almont Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90069
Contact, Shannon Richardson
Tel, 310.550.0050,  fax, 310.550.0605
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Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am-5pm and by appointment

Media contact: Louise O’Brien
Maison de la France
(212) 745-0967
Valérie Luebken – Press Attaché
Consulate General of France in Los Angeles
Tel: (310) 235-3244

Lauren Spencer King, Fashioned a Castel of June, 2005, watercolor on paper, 22 x 22 inches.


Group of nine Southern California art students return from France inspired by their experiences. Gallery show planned for February 23 - March 1, 2006 at M+B Fine Art Gallery in West Hollywood, CA.

January 2006, Los Angeles, CA – The Jeunes Talents - a group of nine art students from three prestigious Southern California art schools - returned from their whirlwind tour of three French regions over the summer. These trips were sponsored by Maison de la France/The French Government Tourist Office and the Cultural Services of the Consulate General of France in Los Angeles as a means of nurturing Franco-American friendship, as well as the production of future masterpieces inspired by modern-day France. A website has been dedicated to this project, <> .

“This invitation to France is an opportunity to promote emerging young American talents and to strengthen our partnership with universities,” says Alain Belais, Cultural Attaché at the Consulate General of France in Los Angeles. “Thanks to the participation of Maison de la France it also gives these young people a chance to discover and experience France in a very unique and in-depth way.”

The artists were sent in three groups to three different regions of France – Alsace, Brittany and Provence. Based on their experiences, each artist was asked to produce at least two paintings each, representing their feelings about France during their trip. The paintings, most of which are now ready, will be exhibited beginning on Thursday, February 23, 2006 and through Wednesday March 1st, 2006 at the MB Fine Art Gallery in West Hollywood. One work of each artist will be sold and the proceeds will go to the scholarship funds of the three art schools.

All nine students were chosen from leading art schools in the Southern California area – Art Center College of Design in Pasadena; California Institute of the Arts in Valencia and the Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles. Each school was selected for its fine reputation and for the quality of its student body. The nine participating artists are:
·       Charles Andrew Bengs from Carlsbad, CA (California Institute of the Arts)
·       Rebecca Cho from Los Angeles, CA (California Institute of the Arts)
·       Sarah Cromarty from Winterhaven, FL (Art Center College of Design)
·       Lauren King from Belleville, IL (Art Center College of Design)
·       Aida Klein from Toronto, Canada (Otis College of Art & Design)
·       Jennifer Lanski, from Los Angeles, CA (Otis College of Art & Design)
·       Maryanne Matson, from Seattle, WA (Otis College of Art & Design)
·       Mae Suzuki from Torrance, CA (California Institute of the Arts)
·       Shiba Ward, from Seattle, WA (Art Center College of Design) 

The three participating regions of France have each left their mark on the modern art world.

Alsace – With its time-honored traditions and distinctive way of life, Alsace is often mentioned in conjunction with French culture, heritage and art. Architecturally, this region was profoundly enriched by the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical periods. Artistic native sons include sculptor and painter Hans Arp; Frédéric Bartholdi, creator of the Statue of Liberty; and painter and illustrator Gustave Doré. Alsace is also the birthplace of f     amous illustrators, such as Tomi Ungerer, who produced naïve, but also satirical drawings for many Amerian publications in the 1950s and 1960s, before going back to his homeland where he now lives.

“In France, one of the more noticeable aspects of the environment was the coexistence of the old and the new, specifically in terms of the architecture. The artwork I produced in the Alsace region of France reflects this observation.” – Jennifer Lanski

Brittany – It is difficult for visitors to resist the mystical charms of Brittany. The Romans even gave it a mystical name - Finistere – which means “end of the earth”. This is a unique region with its own traditions and landscape – there is even a Breton language. Many artists have been inspired by its coastline of steep cliffs that lead to fine sandy beaches, its tiny fishing villages and lovely seaside resorts, and its heaths and rolling hills. The most famous artist to call Brittany home was Paul Gauguin who made history with his still life paintings from Pont Aven and Pouldu. 

Designers from Brittany like Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec have produced very original creations, now shown in top museums all around the world. Inspired by Philippe Starck, they worked with prestigious creators such as Issey Miyake or Cappellini, all seduced by their refined, geometrical design.

"...Within the region of Brittany, we had the opportunity to spend time in Quimper, Concarneau and Pont-L'Abbe. In each of these places our hosts were kind and generous, inviting us into their homes for food, drink and conversation and offering whatever assistance necessary to ensure a pleasant and productive stay.” – Shiba Ward

Provence – There are many images that immediately come to mind when one thinks of Provence. The picturesque Mediterranean coast; beautiful pastoral countryside, fragrant lavender fields; historic towns and cities that have inspired artistic expression – these are just some of the elements of this warm and friendly region. Provence was at the forefront of Impressionism, Fauvism and Cubism – three movements that served to define contemporary art as we know it. The three young artists who travelled to Provence were able to see what Vincent Van Gogh and Henri Matisse saw when they painted some of their most famous works. Next year is also the Year of Cézanne in Provence, who was a native of Aix-en-Provence.

“My trip to Provence was an exceptional opportunity and an extraordinary trip. As an artist, France has been a preeminent patron of the arts and the French are renowned for their art of living. Provence is to me the epitome of French style: the perfect blend of town and country.” – Maryanne Matson

Cultural Services of the French Consulate – The Cultural Services of the Consulate General of France in Los Angeles’ mandate is to enable the American public to experience the rich and dynamic world of French culture in various manifestations in Los Angeles and its circumscriptions.

Maison de la France – Created in 1987 and placed under the authority of the Ministry of Tourism, Maison de la France, also known as the French Government Tourist Office, is responsible for the promotion of France as a holiday destination, with 33 offices in 28 countries around the world. In the United States, Maison de la France has offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Art Center College of Design – For over 75 years, Art Center College of Design has been a global leader in art and design education whose graduates have inspired change in society by solving problems through design.  Art Center offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide variety of art and design disciplines, as well as Public Programs offering design education to all ages and levels of experience.

CalArts - The first U.S. higher educational institution to integrate the visual and performing arts under one roof, is recognized as the nation's  leading laboratory for the arts. Housing six schools - Art, Critical  Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music and Theater - CalArts embraces  creative cross-pollination among diverse art forms and traditions, and  strongly encourages each artist to pursue his or her vision within a broad context of social and cultural understanding.

Otis College – Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles’ oldest independent art school, was founded in 1918. The College offers an interdisciplinary education for architects and designers who will shape the future. Otis prepares diverse students of art and design to enrich our world through their creativity, their skill, and their vision. Its programs embrace new technologies and emerging disciplines, uniting these practices with established strengths in fine arts and design.

The Jeunes Talents Program is made possible thanks to the generous patronage of the Marc and Eva Stern Foundation, Mr. Lionel Sauvage and MB Fine Art. Sponsorship is provided by the Alsace, Brittany, and Provence Regional Tourist Boards; Air Tahiti Nui; the Marseille Chamber of Commerce, Rail Europe.
For more information about the participating art schools:
Christine Hanson, Art Center College of Design, (626) 396-2394 or
Katherine Seth, California Institute of the Arts, (661) 291-3044 or
Margaret Reeve, Otis College of Art & Design, (310) 665-6957 or

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