Gallery du Soleil

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Jean-Claude Canfin in his Gallery du Soleil

The sun seems to approve of the arrival of Gallery du Soleil: its rays shine on colorful paintings and on large windows, enlightening Main Street. It is the realization of Jean-Claude Canfin, an art lover who completely changed his life to devote himself to his passion.

This gift to himself was also one to Tarrytown.

Going through Canfin’s credentials would not betray his interest in contemporary art. He first worked as a detective in his native France, eventually joining the Financial Crime Unit of the police. After his studies, his job at Ernst and Young allowed him to transfer to New York. He then became Managing Director in the Capital Markets division of Prudential Securities. Despite his success, Canfin needed a change: “I decided I had achieved all I wanted to on that side of the business, and I could take the time to devote my life and time to something that would leave me with a personal satisfaction,” he said. Having been an art collector for a long time, he decided to open his own gallery in Tarrytown, where he had been living since 1991. Therefore, he took Business of Art classes at NYU, and traveled through Europe and the US to meet the artists he would display. Canfin explains that the personal quality of the artist is as important a criteria as the quality of his artwork: “I have to believe in the artist, otherwise I could not find myself talking about the merits of something I do not feel good about,” he said. In other words, selecting a painting means staying true to himself and to his collectors and visitors. He wants the paintings of Gallery du Soleil to be both qualitative and easy to relate to. His choices are neither too esoteric nor too abstract. He picks different styles and themes which blend perfectly together. As a result, a number of residents have shown appreciation of the exhibits, and have thanked him for his contribution to the development of Tarrytown.

Canfin knew a gallery would please the local people. He finds the Westchester residents very sophisticated. Before Gallery du Soleil opened, the many art connoisseurs of the area had to drive a long way to find a gallery. Now, they can visit one close to their homes.

Not only does Gallery du Soleil contribute to the growth of Tarrytown, it also expands its cultural variety. Jean Claude Canfin has chosen artists from France, the Netherlands and the United States. He noted: ” I like to bring together the sense of different backgrounds, cultures and lifestyles throughout the unique and talented artists I represent.” Through the opening of his gallery, he sought to bring new works of living and established artists to American patrons.

Gallery du Soleil’s first two exhibits mainly represented landscapes. French painter Duquoc uses them to express his love of the land, and Jean Claude Canfin says he could feel the strength and intensity of life in his colors. Artist Barkoff’s landscapes are taken from his imagination, and show the world as an expression of harmony and peace. Canfin describes the two artists’ work as “vibrant and striking.” Quietness and comfort will be the prevailing emotions expressed by Lita Van Engelenhoven in the next exhibit, announced Canfin. She will convey them through landscapes, portraits and still lives. “Painted Thoughts,” from April 6th to April 30th, will be a new occasion for Gallery du Soleil to fill Tarrytown with colors and emotions.

Elodie Vidal lives in France where she is studying journalism. She attended the EF School of Language in Tarrytown and has submitted previous articles to this publication.

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