Sylvette David




My paintings and ceramics, it is said, possess a dreamlike quality born of naivety. The term naivety used to describe her stylistic sense in not to demean, but rather to stress a form that shuns the intellectual. I like to celebrate a childlike freedom of form which casts off the yoke of our adult material existance. It allows the human form to bend impossibly like the stem of a flower, suggesting deep rooted tangles of emotion. Abandoning scale and perpective, my paintings interweave human subjects with animals, vegetables, minerals and even Provencal tablecloths, in blissful earthly harmony. "The paintings begin with a pen and ink drawing. The subject nearly always starts with a tablecloth which, for me, is the landscape. My pen of Indian ink runs away like a river as i fill the page with flowers. These flowers are in one of my many vases that I collect or have made myself. I add watercolour in bright splashes and use the pen again, the ink mingling with the watercolour as I include my other subjects. These will usually be my family, my home in Devon,or in Provence, or any place or experience that inspires me. Finally my story in paint is complete." I have also added oils to my repertoire, enjoying the challenge of this very different medium. Driftwood has also become a vehicle: beautiful sea-shaped wood will suggest a figure or an animal, a boat,a fish,an angel. These are decorated in egg tempera and joined together to creat a different story in paint. Another passion for me is pottery. I enjoy making ladies/lamps, pots, cats, and tiles. Always experimenting, I play with glazes and painting ready-made pots and plates.


14.11.1934Born, Paris

I was born in Paris on 14th Nov 1934 and was named Sylvette David. My father was an influential art dealer and painter, whose Champs Elysee gallery, David & Garnier, discovered and exhibited the now famous Bernard Buffet. My mother was an award-winning student at the academie Julian, Paris. Due to a highly unconventional childhood, I have always been free from the normal constraints of learnt art. As a young child my life was spent between Provence and a small island off the cote D'azure. My days passed in complete freedom, playing in the sea and admiring nature. The Alpine school of my early years, during the latter part of the war, was an open-minded art based primary that became a sactuary for many families fleeing the Nazi peril. When I was 16 my mother sent myself and my brother to Summerhill school in Suffolk. I returned to France with my fiance and in 1954 I met Picasso in the small, southern town of Vallauris. It was a wonderful experience which changed my life. In 3 months, Picasso painted about 40 paintings of 'Sylvette' (as I was then called). Having moved to Paris, I had my first child, Isabel, in 1963. My father encouraged me to paint, and although driven to creat, it wasn't until I was 45 and living at Dartington Hall with 3 children that I began to paint in earnest.