Paintings in Series


Palm Tree at Villa Medici 1974

It is during a trip to Ostia Antica with the Poirier couple, in 1969 during his stay at the Villa Medici that Grataloup begins its first rubbings. 

These consist in rubbing the walls of the city to immortalize on paper the imprint of time. As these rubbings didn't have a sufficient symbolic scope for him, he then decides to draw himself the imprint to rub through drawings he then lacerates to form a matrice.

 Thus is born his first Series, "Palm trees at Villa Medici" and how he found the pictural writing we know him today, with series, matrices drawings, and rubbings. 


Vegetal footprints on soft plastic sheets lit by neon lights

This series is created at the Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris). Wishing to resume the principle of Japanese painted rollers, Grataloup will experiment this principle on flexible plastic sheets. 

He will arrange the plant elements on them in a precise and definite arrangement and then cover them by means of an acrylic paint gun of different colors. The plants are then removed leaving imprints on the plastic sheet. 

This work has given birth to objects (the leaves are fixed in wooden boxes and lit by neon lights) or simply left free, such as Emakimono.


Monochroms & golden matricia 

On a trip with Frances in 1969, Grataloup discovers Ireland and its maritime landscapes.

He makes many drawings and takes notes on the motif in front of the sea.

In 1971, back in his studio after his stay at the Villa Medici, he begins to make lacerations and rubbings of his drawings.

This era is that of its monochromes. From the matrice is a series of monochromes of different colors.


From a drawing representing water lilies, Grataloup makes a series of rubbings that he then rubs on canvas.

The latter will then be reworked through paint flows revealing drawing and light, in the impressionist technique.


Large awakening of Mineral 

In 1972, on a holiday, he meets a woman called "Aunt Martha" who makes him discover theosophy and theosophists with meetings such as Jean Klein, disciple of KrishnamurtiBlavatsky and many others as Alexandra David Neel.

From these meetings are born works evoking the reality and unreality such as the
Awakening of Mineral, followed a few years later by the series Awakening of the Vegetal.

1973 - Free and stretched canvas

Free canvas : erotic painting with plants backgroung

From 1973, Grataloup uses a new pictorial technique, that of free canvas (without frame), resulting from his research with his painter friends of the Support Surfaces Movement.

At that time, he also experiments free canvas, or stretched on metal frames by nylon threads, leaving a vaccum between the canvas and the frame. 


Green ornemental couple 

These large-scale works are made in his studio in Paris. They correspond to a search for harmony of human actions, from the physical to the mental. Tantric yoga is an example for the artist.

They are exhibited the same year at Galerie Micha (Brussels). Also in 1975 (February), he participated in a collective exhibition at the Marquet Gallery (Paris) on the theme of the Tree. He exhibited with, among others, Folon, Topor, Sempé ...


e came down from the cross"

On holiday at Sceautres with his friend Denis Sloan, Grataloup draws the rock of black basalt on which is built the house of his friend. It is inspired by this mineral landscape made of prisms, faults and other geometrical figures.

He will begin the construction of the 14 stations of the "Way of the Cross", which he will continue until 1985, 10 years.

They will be exposed many times: in 1991 in Chevreuse, in 1992, at the Cathedral Saint-Louis in Versailles, in 2002, at the Chapel of Pitié-Salpétrière in Paris in 2003, at the Chapel of the Trinity in Lyon and in 2006 at the Bayer companies in Leverkusen (Germany).


Sceautres Mountain 

Taking up the theme of the "Montagne d'Ardèche" series and following the Way of the Cross series where he  introduced folds in his paintings, he attempts an expressive pictorial means of tearing or tear strips of rubbings before the marouflage phase on the canvas.

Thus, in this series Sceautres Moutain, appear tears  on the canvas, leaving guessing the drawing in different aspects, more or less present.


Painter's Eye I

On this series "Painter's eye I" we see the mountains of Ardèche in the background wrapped in the prism of the painter's gaze.

For the first time with this series, he integrates copper or gold leaf in his paintings above which he writes sentences, texts or poems.

1976 - SERIES "Archetypal Bories"

Archetypal Borie 2 

The borie is a pile of dry stones from the south of France which, at one time, served as a tool shed or halt in the shade.

For the artist, the archetypal borie is omnipresent in the mind of the architect as in that of the man in general, who, when he left his cave, had the concern to reconstruct it.


Blue foldings and fillings

For Grataloup, folding is the hidden part, the secret. Unfolding is discovery.

At the same time, it is also a concept of oppositional organization to the Japanese.

This concept of work will be the subject of an analysis in 1993 by Jean-Louis Ferrier, philosopher and art critic; "Grataloup The Search for the Implied Worlds".


Quantity contrast in Etretat

Grataloup conceived this image as iconic of the period of Impressionism and more particularly of Claude Monet.

This image can be in black and white or polychromatic, it will always be recognized as such.

This series is made in his Paris studio.



The symbolic expression is very present in this series, made during various trips to Belle-Ile-en-Mer.

There is a significant use of gold and silver leaves. Biblically inspired texts are written directly on metal sheets, and are intentionally indecipherable.


Nimbus in the awakening of the plant 

After the Awakening of the Mineral, Grataloup realizes in 1985 the Awakening of the Vegetal.

This series is made in his small Parisian studio. Given the large dimensions of the paintings in this series, he uses the technique of carrying the same canvas but with different colors. A fold will intervene at each postponement.

The theme used is identical to that of the tapestry made in Aubusson for the church of Ajaccio ; cover plants that were in a garden in Corsica.


Icarus Fall in Mineral landscape 

It is an ice landscape that is represented in this series. Grataloup has integrated the myth of Icarus.

The tight graphics on this series are representative of the Mer de Glace  whose curves on some canvases symbolize the alliance of earth and sky.

1986 - SERIES "RYES"

Central part of the Light Ray triptych 

For Grataloup, the campaign around his Montvinot house is a perpetual source of inspiration.

It is this one that he reproduces in the series "Reys".



From the Reys series, the artist integrates a scale in the whole thus adding a strong symbolic dimension.

The theme of the scale is one of the symbols that made the painter described by art critics as a New Symbolist  during an exhibition in Germany in 2005/2006.


Black Erotic 

Grataloup resumes the theme of the Reys series and integrates a couple in its epicenter. 


He couldn't hold on

This series Shooters series, with the graphic background of the Big Trees series prefigures the theme that Grataloup will take up for his monumental urban art on the Esplanade de la Defense in Paris in 1988.


Three Trees, Tree Colors

This series is particularly important for the artist. He will indeed often take up the Big Trees theme in different forms (paintings, lithographs, art-monumental).

The series is shown at the Lavignes-Bastille Gallery for a second solo exhibition of the artist.

It is on this occasion that Grataloup meets a collector, who, impressed by his artwork, puts him in touch with the architect in charge of the development of  La Défense (Paris).

The latter entrusts the artist with the realization of a huge mosaic of 840 m2 on a ventilation tower of the Esplanade of Paris La Defense. This monumental Urban art is called The Three Trees.


Rainbow Island I

That same year, as is common practice among painters, Grataloup resumes the theme of the "Irish Sea", already expressed through a series in 1971.

This new series is no longer monochromatic as the previous but presents an explosion of colors through the painter's gaze and the use of the polychromy.


Swimming Pool I

During a trip to Portugal, Grataloup dives into the swimming pool of the hotel , to cool off. Due to the heat, the water was completely green.

Thus is born the Swimming Pools series, thematic that the artist will repeat many times in his life.


Jacquart Island

The sea and the islands are a perpetual source of inspiration for Grataloup.

In 1989, he takes again the drawings made in Belle-Ile in 1983 and realizes a series of very powerful work because of the force of the materials and the colors, directly out of the tube or spread out in castings on the canvas.

This series will sign a real evolution in his painting. From this date, the materials will be very present and denser.


Painter's Eye II

Grataloup takes up in 1989 a theme already expressed in his work ; The Painter's Eye.

For Jean-Louis Ferrier, author of "Grataloup - implied worlds", it is the Eye of the painter, in the painting of the Artist which offers the widest range of implied archetype. The physical eye is metaphysical. It is the privileged subject of any painting, a look that looks at itself, a retrovision, a mirror ...

This series is exhibited at the Galerie Lavignes-Bastille (Paris) for a solo exhibition and at the FIAC (International Contemporary Art Fair), on the same year.


Night Mount

Grataloup takes again through this series the theme of the Sceautres Mountain (1989) that he has already declined through his series the Way of the Cross.

However, in this series we note the simplification of graphics via color applats.


Self Portrait blue and gold

It is during an excursion on the Bossons glacier that Grataloup slipps into a small crevasse while taking photos of the glacier. He will be saved by a couple of English tourists who heard his calls for help.

From this frightening experience will come a series of self-portraits where we can see the artist trapped by the ice.

His features are quite recognizable in the graphic design of the drawing.

On some canvases - including the Self-portrait Blue and Gold-, the hope of rescue is symbolized by the ray of light while others, such as Towards a self-portrait chained shows him resigned to his destiny.


Initiatory Landscape, Tribute to Caspar David Friedrich

It is undoubtedly this experience of imminent death in the mountains that will inspire the artist for the series "Great Symbolic Landscapes".

He resumes there the graphics seracs and crevasse that can be clearly seen through the paintings of the series.

The matrix, covered with gold, is one of the centerpieces of this series and in his work more generally. It is regularly exhibited in the major exhibitions of the artist.

1992 - SERIES "SURF I"

Surfer at the lightning

With Milena, Grataloup regularly travels to Lacanau-Océan on the Atlantic side. He discovers there a sport previously unknown to him, surfing.

Very impressed by the strength and height of the waves, placing the man in his humble condition, he creates a series of paintings on this theme.

The symbolic significance of these works is very present through the use of gold leaf, direct writing on canvas and the presence of light rays surrounding the surfer in a chromatic harmony.


Eve & the snake

The artist makes a series of erotic watercolors on a theme he has already covered in the series Tantra Asana (1975) and Erotic Paradises  (1987).

These watercolors will be the subject of an exhibition at the Closerie des Lilas, famous restaurant in Paris, the same year, under the theme "Writers sign the color".

He has indeed made dedicated each watercolor by writers friends, including Michel Tournier.


Landscape with rainbow

On a trip to Chamonix with Milena, Grataloup rediscovers the landscapes of snow-covered fir trees. They evoke for him those of the country of his childhood, in particular the "Firs Road" of the Haut-Bugey region.

He produces then a series of large format paintings on this theme.

We can find the use of gold and silver that accentuates the symbolic significance of these mountain landscapes.



In 1994, he produces a series of paintings celebrating the birth of his third son, Constant.

It is at this time that human figures begin to be  more and more present in his artwork


Green Wave

Always very impressed by the huge waves of the ocean, Grataloup produces a series of paintings depicting divers in the rollers.

He calls this series Mori Genos (Born from the sea).

The power of waves is rendered by the thickness of paint, directly out of the tube.


Tent in the desert

On his way home from Lacanau, Grataloup brings sandbags from the beach to his Paris studio. The sand is extremely thin, similar to a powder.

As from this date, 1997,  the artist will frequently integrate sand into his paintings, thus enriching his pictorial technique.

 In this Deserts series, sand is omnipresent and blends with the warm colors of the prism, yellow, orange and red deserts.

On a symbolic level, there is the presence of the tent, the prophet, asceticism, silence and meditation.


Chromatic Tree of Life

In 1999, the artist resumes the theme started in 1988 Big Trees and realizes a new series entitled Tree of Life.

The painting called Chromatic Tree of Life widely circulated in the painter's work. It will be very often reproduced under different forms (postcards, lithos etc...).


Matricia Obscura

Traditionally, Grataloup always covers the matrices of a series with gold leaf.

In 1998, he decides to take a number of matrices, not yet worked and re-invents them by covering them with shades of black of different textures (matte, gloss, thickness ...).

This is how the series Matricia Obscura is born.

It is composed of a limited number of works because of the limited number of matrices available at that date.


Massabielle I

During a trip to Lourdes where he makes a pilgrimage, Grataloup will live a very special experience : the sky will open to give way to thousands of particles of energy and love that will melt on him.

It is difficult to transcribe in words the power of this event. However, it is perfectly palpable through the huge triptychs / installations he will undertake immediately after his trip, back in his studio.

Between 1999 and 2001, ten triptychs / installations will be created representing the first ten days during which the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 in Lourdes.

Each lower part of the triptych represents the Grotto of Massabielle with, near the center, the Virgin represented in gold or silver, in a halo of light.

The middle part of the triptych consists of a strip of stainless steel. It shows the opening of the sky at the moment of his experience as well as the eclipse of the moon, also on that day.

The upper part shows the thousands of points of energy and love perceived by the artist at the moment of the opening of the sky, the round moon and red sun disappearing. On their opposite side, at the top of the canvas, are two yellow roses, as described by Bernadette Soubirous at the moment of the apparition of the Virgin: "I saw a lady dressed in white, she had a white dress, a blue belt and a yellow rose on each foot, the color of the chain of his rosary". 
Grataloup has not yet completed the eight other appearances of Bernadette ...



It is not surprising, after Massabielle series, that the artist continues his pictorial research with the use of flowers embedded in paintings.

In 2001, he produced “flowers women” with stippled monochromes figures. 

He added silk flowers, which created an intermediary reflection on the metal.

An exhibition on his series is organized in Hôtel Martinez (Cannes) for the International Film Festival.


Genesis II

Continuing his spiritual quest, the artist performs a series of biblical inspiration entitled Genesis.

The canvases, all of large format, have a graphic of mountain worked in thickness with sand. They are declined in many monochromatic versions.
Grataloup integrates, at the bottom of each canvas, a band of stainless steel, very present at this time in many series, allowing the viewer, as in the series Women Flowers, to integrate himself into the landscape through his reflected image.


Crash I, August 2001

Artists are visionaries and sometimes even more since they can feel the events even before they happen.

July-August 2001, Grataloup spents his holidays in Lacanau with Milena and his son Constant to whom he has just offered small polystyrene planes.

Suddenly very inspired by these little toys, he decides to integrate them in a series of paintings representing an aircraft crashed on a background of mountains.

The artist will also make different objects on the same theme.

A few weeks later, on September 11th, two planes hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center ...



2002 is a pivotal year for Grataloup. He is 67 years old. On February 14th, while working in his Paris studio, he is struck by severe meningeal hemorrhage and falls into a coma. At the same time, he is preparing his first retrospective in the magnificent Chapelle de la Salpêtrière in Paris and a new monograph on his recent work.

In the space of a few weeks, and quite miraculously, he will come out of his coma, unscathed.

It is after this tragic event, the following year, that he undertakes a series of paintings that he will name Elevations. Taking the matrice of his previous series Genesis, he integrates rising to the sky  characters or pieces of half visible characters into the canvas. 

Grataloup will work on this theme until 2004, sometimes including these same characters onto the Leaves series that he will realize some years later (2004).

This series is the artist's view at this impending death experience called by the Anglo-Saxons Near Death Experience.


Golden sea staircase

The staircase, like the ladder, is a symbolic figure omnipresent in the work of the artist.

It evokes the ascending, walking walk. On his path of evolution, each individual advances, without really knowing what walk he is and what path he has to go.

As a symbolic figure the artist will cover the staircase with gold leaf on most of the paintings in the series, thus underlining its universal reach.


Petra / Sepulchers I, II, III

Still very inspired by the deserts, the artist undertakes a series devoted to the city of Petra (Jordan).

Impressed by the huge ocher cliffs and royal tombs of the Nabataean kings carved into the side of the mountain more than 2,000 years ago, the canvas feature tiny dots of acrylic material and sand patches surrounding the tombs covered with sand. gold or silver.


Leaves quadriptych 

While walking along a river at Chevreuse in the softness of autumn colors, the eye of the artist is attracted by the reflection of fallen leaves on the surface of the water.

This is how the Leaves series is born.

We can find in this series the use of sand that gives, on some canvases, relief to the leaves, flat areas of acrylic raised with gold or silver leaf.


On the beach

From large rubbings made on some matrices including Mori Genos or Leaves series, Grataloup will make large triptychs on the theme of dance.

We can find the use of sands or stainless steel plates in these different series.

For this series, the artist will draw on the choreographic research of the 1920s.


Light Apple Tree

Small apple tree planted in 1994 in the garden of Chevreuse at the birth of Constant, it becomes through this series made in 2005, a true hymn to life, joy and nature.


La mort d'Adam N.D.E

Is not creating a way to ward off death ? For the artist who approached it during his coma in 2002, it is undoubtedly the reason why he undertakes, in 2006, the N.D.E series.

He expresses the theme through huge canvases, mainly diptychs, illustrating the decorporation, the tunnel of light and the meeting of infinite love, as described by people who have had such an experience.

The lower part of the diptych is worked with sand painted in black acrylic, representing the material and life on earth that we leave at the moment of death.
The upper part of the diptych is covered with gold leaf, a symbol of infinity and eternity.The dead body leaves its envelope on the earth to fly to the light.Grataloup will produce a dozen works on this theme.


Yellow sea to the light ray

In 2006, after a stay at the edge of the ocean, in front of the sumptuous sunrises and sunsets on liquid immensity, Grataloup undertakes a series of large formats entitled High Sea.

The paintings are mainly composed of diptychs.

The lower part, representing the movements of waves on the sea, is worked with sand and acrylic.

 The upper part mainly represents starry skies, lit by light rays.


Spirit of the air

Elementals are imaginary creatures composed of one of four elements : air, water, fire and earth.

Emanating from nature itself, the elemental dominates the world, overflows and incorporates it.

This series, created in the workshop of Chevreuse, radiates by its simplicity and the exuberance of the colors.

This series is composed of seven large artworks.


Bright Nantua

For the artist, Nantua, its lake and  mountains are a perpetual source of inspiration and wonder. With the two recent exhibitions in the city, as part of the Grataloup Foundation project (2005 and 2006) he gets back in touch with the beauty of this landscape that he will transcribe in  this new series .

It is composed of large format canvases worked in acrylic, for the water movements of the lake, with metals and sand, for the overhanging cliffs, presenting the realities of the lake with its symbolism of day and night and its chromatic variations.


Spring snow

After the Nantua series it is with an intact fascination for the lakes that the artist undertakes the Lac Gaube series.

It is composed of large format artworks representing the lake surrounded by its vegetation, its altitude and the mountains that enclose it.

This series is composed of only five paintings.



Pools fascinate Grataloup. It is a theme already declined in 1988.

It is after the construction of a swimming pool in the garden of his house-workshop in Chevreuse that he starts, in 2008, a new series on the theme.

Under the sun, day and night, under the lunar rays, this series is only composed of diptychs.

The lower part of those presents the undulations of the light of the water on a vegetal background where proudly stands a palm tree, enhanced with sanded material.


Burning Bush

For the artist, nature with its different expressions is a perpetual source of wonder.

The vegetation surrounding his Chevreuse studio is exuberant. It offers every season endless variations of colors and materials.

In summer, the flora is more abundant, thicker, more bushy, suggesting, through the density of brambles and foliage, the golden rays of the sun.

So is born the Bushes series.


Bird in the red sky

After the Bushes series, the birds are going to be the theme of this new one which  proposes a new pictorial invention: a metal frame left "empty" between two paintings, sometimes pierced by a  flying bird.

This series is composed of triptychs. The lower part of those offers landscapes of bushes or sea, enhanced with acylic and/or sand.

The middle part consists of a metal frame left empty.

The upper part represents the sky in its infinity, with gradations of colors or the purity of gold.


Small Angel wings

At the Prieuré Saint-Saturnin (Chevreuse), like icons under the stained glass, the Angels protect Eve with their wings...

This series only includes two canvases, designed to accompany the exhibition organized with the inauguration of the Priory stained glass.

Highly symbolic of sacred art from the twentieth century, the blue and gold of these works represent God, Peace and Dream.


Shining Plants Garden

The Plants Garden in Paris will give birth to this impressive series because  of the  size of the paintings and the purity of the graphic representation.

This series is only composed of diptychs.

The upper part presents a vacuum, pictural experimentation started in 2011 in the series Birds and Vaccuums.


Cacti with Nymph

While leafing through a book on the deserts, the artist undertakes the Cacti series, enhanced by the colors of red or silver sky, where sometimes a nymph from elsewhere looks...


Blue Cosmogony

Journey into the cosmos ...

Very inspired by the spectacular images transmitted this year by the probe "Hubble", the artist imagines a series on the Cosmogonies.

Thus are born twenty paintings representing gold and silver galaxies, aurora borealis, solar flares, the Milky Way, eclipses ...


On the tips

It is a  dancer friend of the artist who will inspire this series of ten small canvases representing her perched on the spikes of the mountains.


Silver Surfs

For this new series on the "surfers" theme, Grataloup doesn't bury any longer the surfers under the wave as he had done in 1992 with the Surf series but makes them play with the waves like an army of  ocean riders.


"He moves mountains"

Very affected by the degradation of our planet, the artist undertakes a series of paintings showing the consequences of the greenhouse effect on the earth.

Ice landscapes and inhospitable planets where man is no longer and / or sometimes tectonic plates move the mountains, changing the geography of  the earth.


Painter's Gaze - Venus Birth 1

For this series, Grataloup  resumes the graphics of the Plants Garden series taking back the same graphic for the center of this series adding a Venus in the center of the basin.

The spirit of the painter is thus done: for him everything is possible, one series brings another ...


Big Wave

In summer on the seaside, Grataloup imagines a series of landscapes miniatures.

Real pictorial invention by the mixing of the techniques used (Indian ink, watercolor, acrylic, gold leaf) these small works offer an infinite variety of landscapes; swimming pools in the garden passing torrents or mountain faults ..


Tree of fertility

Grataloup says that these are very old trees that possess knowledge.

The artist is like these trees. He looks like them.

From their gnarled roots, he draws his strength and inexhaustible creativity, unfathomable and secretive, only belonging to him.


Very inspired by the palm trees of the city of Miami where Grataloup has just started a collaboration with a gallery, the artist takes again the theme already worked during his year in Rome in 1967 at Villa Medici. The theme is approached here with a particular spiritual dimension and evokes landscapes resulting from the experiences of N.D.E that he experienced a few years ago.


This is the "Palm Trees" series that will spawn this new series, started at the beginning of the year 2019. Taking a familiar theme in his painting, that of "Life between two Lives", the artist will create a plant world composed of imaginary flowers. The mix of techniques is particularly present in this series and binds various techniques such as watercolors, acrylic and gold leaf.