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Le Figaro Magazine | June 24, 2022

 

Google Translation. retrieved 7-9-2022:

 

Novatt’s art consists, in part, of geometric forms with a precarious balance. Now in his life, a circle is closing this month.

Born in 1958 in Brooklyn, the sculptor Jedd Novatt fell in love with the Provençal village of Lacoste, in the Luberon: a perched village of stone houses crowned by the Chateau of the Marquis de Sade.

In 1979, the native New Yorker arrived to Lacoste, not knowing a word of French, to work and study at the original program that was affiliated with Sarah Lawrence College.

Forty-three years later, the artist owns a residence and studio in Ménerbes, a neighbouring town.  The artist splits his time between the Luberon, a home in Paris and studio in Spain.

On June 26, Novatt’s return will be consecrated by the unveiling of his monumental work (9.50 m high), Chaos Metagalaxia, at the foot of the city, on the grounds of La Maison Basse, one of the many properties acquired here by the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) which now owns the school.  The work is a tribute to the village where his study of sculpture took form and marked a major turning point in the artist’s life.

In 1979, Jedd Novatt was about to begin his last year at Sarah Lawrence College, a prestigious college in NY, close to Manhattan. In a hallway of the school he ran into Bernard Pfriem, a professor and artist himself, who had created a school in Lacoste in 1970 after discovering the place in the early 1950s when he acquired his first house for 50 dollars and a second for 10 dollars and a refrigerator… Bernard convinced the young sculptor to spend the summer and his last semester of college in Lacoste.

“It was Spartan, '' remembers Novatt. We slept on cots in very simple houses. The more rugged early program was a joy in many ways, and the school was a true fine arts program. I spent my days carving stone with hammers and chisels in the school’s quarry”. Novatt’s passion for the school and Lacoste motivated him, two days after graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in the United States, to leave again for Lacoste. “I spent seven months in Lacoste sculpting and working in a quarry and with masons to earn enough to live. The owner of the local quarry was very kind and he paid me 50 francs an hour, a very good salary at that time. This allowed me to stay through the winter in a house with a dirt floor and no heating. Freezing in the winter, but terrific”.

At Sarah Lawrence, Jedd Novatt received classical training. "We drew from models," he explains. I worked in clay.  All of my initial works in clay were figurative”.

However, the young artist was drawn to abstract expressionism: Rothko, de Kooning, Kline, Stills. He also discovered the sculptor Julio Gonzalez – a friend of Picasso – who had a great Influence on him as his works evolved into abstraction. Years passed and with them came success.

Today, the works of Jedd Novatt are installed internationally in such places as the city of Bilbao in front of the Guggenheim, Roubaix (in front of the André-Diligent Museum, otherwise known as La Piscine), Miami (Pérez Art Museum), Princeton, Cleveland, Rolle (Switzerland), on the University of Michigan campus, etc. His works have been exhibited over 50 times and most notably a solo exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (V&A).

 

Chaos Metagalaxia in Lacoste is the first work monumental installed within the Parc Natural du Luberon which supported this project. The work is at SCAD Lacoste’s campus and was jointly financed by the school and by an anonymous patron.

This work was not site specific. However, it appears as if Metagalaxia mirrors the form of the Chateau above.

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