An exhibition of equestrian art in the Saumur Champigny vineyards

equestrian art exhibition by painter Laure Saigne
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For the first time, the winery Domaine de Rocheville is taking part in the 10th edition of the Offcheval festival, the “little brother” of Artcheval, the unmissable equestrian art festival, which has been held every autumn in Saumur for 30 years.

For the occasion, we welcome Cavalcade, the exhibition of the contemporary artist-painter, Laure Saigne, from October 18th to November 21st. Come and admire her paintings of colourful horses, ready to gallop out of the frame!

What is the Artcheval festival?

Artcheval: a festival of contemporary equestrian art

Created in 1992 on the initiative of the town of Saumur, the ArtCheval festival is an event that honours contemporary creation around the horse. It takes place every year in and around Saumur.

This year, Artcheval takes place from 15 October 2022 to 15 January 2023.

For three months, the festival brings together renowned contemporary artists from all over the world for a moment of creation, encounters and exchanges. The Saumur region becomes a real art gallery dedicated to horses!

An artists’ residency lasting a few weeks in the Saumur region gives rise to the main exhibition, which can be seen at the Bouvet Ladubay Contemporary Art Centre throughout the festival. This year, it is the group exhibition “Manège” that takes the lead.

The originality of the equestrian art festival lies both in the fact that it takes place in a medium-sized town, whereas major contemporary art events are usually held in large cities, and also in the theme of the horse, which links the works and Saumur, the host town.

Saumur, capital of French-style horse riding

All riders are familiar with Saumur International Riding School (Ecole Nationale d’Equitation / ENE), in Western France, and its corps of instructors: the prestigious Cadre Noir. The mission of these elite equestrians is to train the senior staff of the equestrian world and to promote traditional French riding throughout the world.

In 2010, the ENE was merged with the Haras Nationaux (French national stud farms), giving birth to the IFCE (Institut Français du Cheval et de l’Equitation), whose fields of competence range from high-level equestrian sports to research.

The following year, traditional French horse riding was even included in UNESCO’s list of intangible heritage. 

This shows that Saumur deserves its name of “City of Horses”!

What is the difference between Artcheval and Offcheval festival ?

Artcheval is a free, convivial and unifying equestrian art festival: it aims to create a proximity between the contemporary artist and the public and challenges the elitist image of modern art and the horse.

It also aims to support young artists by giving them visibility through a cultural event that is well known.

This is more particularly the role of OFFCHEVAL, the off-site festival organised by the Comité Equestre de Saumur for the past 10 years.

Like a spirited horse, the off festival leaves the official framework to take over twenty or so unusual places around Saumur: paintings, sculptures and works of equestrian art are exhibited in the theatre, in restaurants, in shops, in hotels, in the homes of wine growers…

It is in this context that the wine estate Domaine de Rocheville, located in Parnay, 8km from Saumur, has decided to exhibit the equestrian paintings of the French artist Laure Saigne.

Who is Laure Saigne ?

A multi-talented artist and rider

Originally from Alsace, in eastern France, Laure Saigne has always wanted to paint and has been drawing horses since childhood. As a teenager, she was a student of the painter Claude Flach who taught her to explore different techniques. Perhaps this is the origin of her great curiosity?

After the baccalaureate, she naturally opted for a degree in Plastic Arts in Strasbourg, but the importance of art history in relation to practice disappointed her and so she decided to take a BTS in Graphic Design. 

She continued her studies in Switzerland with a typography course at the Ecole Romande d’Arts et de Communication in Lausanne (Switzerland). She specialised in font design and editorial design, then set up a graphic design studio near Strasbourg. 

Typography seduces her with its sense of aesthetics and the visual balance it requires.

For a few years, typography and graphic design took precedence over pure art, but in 2019, the conditions were right again for her to resume painting: she set up a real studio next to her house, where she could devote herself entirely to artistic creation.

A diverse technique influenced by graphic design

A constant search for diversity

A versatile artist, Laure Saigne likes to use different mediums: pastel, charcoal, watercolour… She is particularly fond of oil painting but also uses acrylic paint.

Her two favourite themes are the female figure and the world of horses, as she is both a painter and an accomplished rider.

Since 2017, she has also been practising linocut, a technique of engraving on linoleum that brings expressiveness and character to her works. She has thus created a series called “Tang Dynasty”, currently on view at the estate, which is inspired by terracotta sculptures representing horses from the Tang Dynasty (648 to 908 AD). 

The experience of a graphic designer at the service of a strong and lively equestrian art

Her painting is figurative but not realistic. Indeed, Laure’s career as a graphic designer influences her pictorial universe, leading her to seek a stylization of forms that retranscribes the essence of movement, and to favour strong and tonic colours as used in the world of communication.

Thus, she begins by drawing the silhouettes in Indian ink on a red or brightly coloured base. Then she applies the colours spontaneously and reworks them with glazes, paying particular attention to the circulation of the eye in the painting.

Recently, Laure joined the association Le Mur Colmar which brings together street art artists. This was the occasion of a new experience: the realization of a 50 m long fresco for an equestrian centre!

Finally, another string to her already well-filled bow, Laure is also a plastic arts teacher at the EMPR in Rosheim. She also teaches graphic design and typography at the University of Strasbourg and at the Strasbourg School of Visual Creation, E-Artsup.

This is her second participation in OffCheval (the first being in 2021).

The “Cavalcade” exhibition and sale: an idea for a walk during the school holidays

Art, wine and horses in the AOP Saumur Champigny

Cavalcade is a link between two great wine regions: Alsace, Laure Saigne’s native region, and the Loire Valley, where Domaine de Rocheville, an organic producer located on the Saumur Champigny wine route, is located.

It is also a thread stretched between two emblematic symbols of Saumur: the wine and the horse.

Whether you are a rider, a wine lover, an equestrian art enthusiast or just curious, come and discover 25 works by Laure Saigne (paintings on canvas and linocuts), in a green and friendly setting. 

The white walls of our beautiful tasting room, transformed into a new kind of art gallery, come alive with the bright colours of the horses. 

Admire “Trot rouge”, “Galop”, “Mustang Bleu”, “Andalou”, “Courir”, some paintings in large format, others in small format, in diptych or tryptic…

To add pleasure to pleasure and to vary the pleasures, take the opportunity to taste the sustainable wines of the estate: Crémant de Loire, Saumur Blanc and Saumur Champigny, matured in stainless steel tanks or in barrels, according to your taste.

Exhibition: practical information

The exhibition can be seen at the estate from 18/10/22 to 21/11/2022.

Free admission. Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm.

Do you have a crush? Art lovers can even buy one of the artist’s paintings or linocuts. 

To find us, here is the address: Domaine de Rocheville, Chemin de Béniquet, Les Hauts de Valbrun, 49730 Parnay, France (Loire Valley).

We look forward to letting you taste our wines at the heart of this beautiful exhibition!

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