top of page
diptyk logo.png

Sophia Fassi in the footsteps of the great masters

April 1st, 2024 - Horya Makhlouf

For this young French-Moroccan artist, who recently graduated from the Beaux-Arts in Paris, painting is a way of giving importance to simple things. Her portraits of loved ones or strangers encountered on the metro poetically freeze banal scenes of everyday life.

It's not in her studio, but at the Galerie Berthet-Aittouarès, a stone's throw from the Beaux-Arts de Paris from which she graduated in 2020, that we meet Sophia Fassi. The young painter is exhibiting for the first time a group of paintings, some of which she spent three years working on in her parents' Paris salon. Since her second year of study, she has made this her creative den, a cave and cocoon in one, which she prefers to the less tranquil shared studio at the École. Here, she patiently and passionately works and reworks the images she has collected on the fly in the metro with her smartphone or from her Internet searches. Sometimes, too, she invites her friends over for long posing sessions.

Sophia Fassi, La Vénus de Transylvanie, 2023, huile sur toile, 89x146.5 cm ©Bertrand Micha

Sophia Fassi, La Vénus de Transylvanie, 2022-2024, oil on canvas, 89 x 146,5 cm

© Bertrand Michau, ADAGP, courtesy Galerie Berthet-Aittouarès

On canvas, she begins with drawing, the father of all things according to the artist, who learned from her teacher James Bloede to draw "the old-fashioned way", without projectors or squares. Then come colors, gestures and the freedom of the brush that academic mastery allows. His dream? To achieve such technical perfection that she can detach herself from it. Detach herself from the model, from the rule, from images made by others, to endow them with that element of controlled chance, of autonomy of form, of taste for play that she admires in Poussin, Rubens, Rembrandt, Gauguin, Titian, Tintoretto, Ingres, Delacroix, Toulouse-Lautrec or Lucian Freud...

The images she collects intuitively or recomposes in her studio owe much to the hours spent at the Louvre observing, drawing and copying from the "great masters", learning from them how to "magnify the simple things of everyday life, to which we artists have the power to give importance", she explains. Sophia Fassi also enjoys exploring artists' diaries to understand their practical lives, what lies behind their style, their sense of composition and their taste for art.

Looking at Corot's paintings, she discerns a gentleness that transcends the subjects depicted. Later, she learned that the painter, a friend of Daumier, had offered his penniless colleague nothing less than a house. Painting always says more than it immediately shows. These are the stories Sophia Fassi seeks to tell.

Sophia Fassi devant oeuvre Baptiste au canape ©Bertrand Michau ADAGP. Courtesy Galerie-Ber

Sophia Fassi in front of the painting Baptiste au canapé

©Bertrand Michau ADAGP. Courtesy Galerie-Berthet-Aittouares

In her paintings, Sophia Fassi wants "you to feel the history and the people [she] portrays". This intention is reflected in her precise brushstrokes, rich palette and lively, energetic brushstrokes, rather than delicate, meticulous ones. In the folds of certain fabrics, fine floral motifs are sometimes discreetly outlined, seeming to stand out against the solid black strokes of the backgrounds, on which light subtly shimmers. "Of course, there has to be a minimum of detail, when it serves the character's story, but precious little veins that stand out like in classicism, that's not my thing at all," says Sophia Fassi with a laugh. "You have to play with the material of the paint, see the flesh in the hands, manage to distinguish a black head of hair from a bowl of the same color". And this can only be achieved by working with textures, which she takes such pleasure in recomposing. "Painting is my whole life. I've tried other things, but it's all I'm good at," concludes the artist. A serious game she plays with a smile on her face.

Sophia Fassi, Gaïa endormie, 2023-2024, huile sur toile, 65x81 cm, ©Bertrand Michau, ADAGP

Sophia Fassi, Gaïa endormie, 2023-2024, oil on canvas, 65 x 81 cm

© Bertrand Michau, ADAGP, courtesy Galerie Berthet-Aittouarès

bottom of page