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Oil Painting - Portrait of a Saint by Raymond Tellier

An exceptional and serene oil on canvas painted in 1929 by the renowned Raymond Tellier (1897-1985). The Saint has a story to tell .....

Excerpt from an article written in 1952 by a journalist of art

On many occasions already we have been drawn to the 'Salon de Universe Paris' where Raymond Tellier is exhibiting his paintings. Many times we moved from picture to picture, consciously giving in to their sensibilities which work like a potion.

Sparks of light thrown from an enthusiastic paintbrush onto the surface of man met in the Cafe d'Azur. Then a station, a railway running among billowing clouds along rails into a distance buried in mist. The old parts of St Tropez, twilight where the half tints reach to infinity, the quays on the Seine full of romantic feeling, L'Onhagni where pink and white clouds are reflected. Portraits with a poignant resemblance where one feels the personality of the model and the insight of the painter. The passer by is mesmerised by the charm of the colours.

But as though drawn by a magnetic force, we come back to a face which is shown in the catalogue as 'Portrait of a Saint'. An oil painting we have never previously seen provides a fascination as if we have always known it, the head of an old artisan possessed by truth.

This picture was painted in 1929. Tellier was still teaching at his school in Paris, in the classroom where thirty or so students were seated. Men and women who, later on, would be at least the equals of Poussin or Renoir. A happy time which would never come around again, where these strange specimens of humanity congregated to paint. In winter a round stove sang in the corner.

The man shuffled on the asphalt of the boulevard, his hair and beard that of an apostle, superb among the unnameable crowds, indifferent to the anonymous throng. There emanated from such quietude an assurance so peaceful; his look had such limpidity that Tellier could not resist the impulse to paint him - 'he was too beautiful'.

Thirty paint brushes were fixed on the undressed body of the unknown man. It was when the man fell asleep after hours and hours of exhausting posing that Tellier, at last alone, fixed on the canvas the ineffable features of his model.

The man awoke, dressed and disappeared, absorbed by the City. Tellier never saw him again.

This evening the unknown man will leave for the second and last time. An Englishman came and, without saying a word, went from oil to oil. He was enslaved for some time in front of the radiant head and said, 'I'll buy it'.

The picture comes with the original newsprint article. Canvas measures approx 40 cm x 30 cm, the painting is framed to 56 cm x 46 cm and 6 cm deep.