Once not being the norm, the Centre d’Art Sébastien welcomes an exhibition-installation this autumn, « de la matière à la toile », where the bottle counts for as much as the elation. In welcoming Robert Chaveau, we honour a painter, a collector and patron, but also a link in a dynasty of business leaders whose products’ notoriety goes far beyond the world of imagery: Pébéo.
It was his father, Claudius, a chemical engineer, who transformed a small workshop where Lead Oxide, “PbO”, was worked with, into a renowned business. And it was he, Robert, who gave the family firm national stature. It is his son Eric who is today at the head of the multinational company whose sales are measured in the tens of millions of Euros, and whose products are distributed in over a hundred countries.
If the city of Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer has chosen to highlight matter, it is less to stir up the memories of generations of students who used Pébéo paints during their visual arts courses than to emphasize that the Chaveau family makes colour with the same passion, the same imagination, the same intent as famous chefs. Did not Robert Chaveau write «the bench is to the chemist what the stove is to the cook, the cup to the saucepan, the beater to the mixer».
The greatest Provençal painters from Ambrogiani to Seyssaud, and Mandin to Ferrari made their contributions to testing paints, «the most talented chemists do not necessarily have the best skills to “feel” the texture of a paste.»
Let us wager that visitors to our art centre will appreciate the colourful and humorous works from Robert Chaveaux’s Chinese voyages as much as they will the exhibition devoted to the genesis the matter without which the greatest artists in the world could not express their talent.
Mayor of Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer