Autopsy: French Painter Eric CORNE


Eric Corne brings together both sides of his personality as Curator as well as Painter, nourishing one to feed the other and vice versa. In the same spirit French painter Matisse was also a great sculptor. He was using sculpture to refresh his mind, and to gain perspective on his painting. Corne as well as Matisse has/had a second activity to complement and enrich the other one. Here we take a look at Eric Corne, as a painter.


Eric Corne’s painting has evolved considerably: obviously, he is having fun. He builds his paintings as a sum of clues organized on a triangular composition, divided into sub-assemblies also triangular full of metaphors and signs

The eye is forced to bounce from point to point to form a redundant sine wave. Quite an infernal movement…

In his recent paintings, Corne showed a greedy fascination for the color black. “Lost light” is his third black painting since previous black self portraits.

“Lost Light” 2008

……. There are thousands of paths in my painting
Eric Corne

Let’s examine some paths…

Black color

Imagine a typo mistake to the title and it would have been “Lost Night”. “Light” instead of Night clearly wants to provoke some kind of specific thoughts about color.

Everything appears black at the very first glance. Obviously, one could think about the night. But which one? A sweet dreamy night or a night full of nightmare ?
A few shiny spots reinforce the black side of the darkness. We may infer from these bursts of orange and blue scattered on the canvas a previous happy life

The first  triangle

On the left of the painting, as if ready to walk out of the canvas, we see this woman in motion. She is the only piece of the canvas to be in its true color “flesh”, and golden hair. She is naked, feet and legs engulfed in water. She is clearly sexual. She smiles and raises an arm.



Eric_Corne_LostLight3Then, like a ping pong ball, the eye bounces off to the lightest white house located top right of the canvas. In the foreground, there are three houses, but that white one captures the retina: this is a stone house with a violent light coming out of the attic.



Another bounce and the eye moves down to the bottom right. We see a piece of tree trunk lying on the ground with branches, badly cut and forming white spikes like potential knives. This black creates a mood that makes us think the worst …



The first triangle is drawn: a woman- a house- a man:

Eric_Corne_first triangle


This is the main one, which triggers the plot of the whole canvas. The thriller can now begin.

Our eyes can easily move all around on the canvas to discover the clues.




Let’s find other clues

Intrigued by the violence underlying the white spikes on this branch in front of  us, so close, the eyes are forced to look around to understand. The man’s eyes are open. Is he dead ? if yes open means recent or, he is dying. When looking closer we see that his head is not raised but stuck on the spikes.
It hurts.

We hesitate between the stuffing and the unbearable…

At this point, we cannot stop reading the painting. What’s going on there? The eyes go upside down with an increasing movement. As an investigator we return to the previous clue, the first character.

Eric_Corne_L7bisWe suddenly discover a weapon we didn’t notice first because i’s black on black. It is stuck in the left hand of this young naked woman. Rather than a dance, the right arm lifted may say “goodbye” to the man she just killed?

Is Juliette making a farce to Romeo by deciding finally not to kill herself? And she still is laughing about it….

Those evidences make the eye looking around this young woman for other signs to confirm the murder.

Eric_Corne_LostLight1 _2nd murder
There is obviously another dead person we didn’t see first. He/She (?) is on the edge of the white house. The dead body forces to look at some details beyond the window but we can’t go inside further because a light reflecting on the mirror dazzles us.. The secret of the death is hidden inside forever.


No doubt we are in the middle of a thriller. The name of the Series “autopsy of an art worké has never been so in purpose!

Eric_Corne_LostLight1 _delta
A closer look again at the scene and we see three-quarters of it bathing in water. Among the many interpretations of the triangle, the delta, there, is another obvious one.


Eric_Corne_LostLight1 _mondrian

Back to the houses along the river. Inside are displayed all the treasures of th History of art that the painter loves, such as Mondrian. That house looks like it is the artist’s haven of peace, the place in which he can breathe freely.


Eric_Corne_LostLight1 _moonA little further left above the bridge at the top of the canvas, is a full moon and its reflection, a smaller and lighter moon. It looks like a duel between the two moons with a little advantage for the small one which reflection continues its course down the river. But the little one couldn’t exist without the big one, so… another metaphor? Besides, the white line creates both a cut in two parts of the painting and a dynamic that draws the eye from the top to bottom and then back up

Eric_Corne_LostLight1 _tri

Other signs given to interpretation are about the lights. The lights from the two attics and the two moons have the same brightness. All together they draw another triangle.
The lighting borrows Georges de La Tour’s technique of chiaroscuro, namely a highly focused spot of light emanating from within the painting, which leaves the rest of the canvas obscure and creates a sense of intimacy.

Eric Corne uses this technique differently using several spots of light on the canvas. It makes a burst with less harmony than Georges de la Tour and creates an unstable and dramatic mood, that enhances the enigma. The mystery is still intact.


Eric_Corne_LostLight1 _bird

The only quiet and peaceful item on the canvas is a bird. That messenger (another metaphor) always accompanies the painter all over his paintings. It is placed there down right of the canvas as a signature.



You see the painting is full of clues (and I’m sure it’s not over for this one). Whether they are signs for the story itself or metaphor for the reading of the painting, this is endless. Yes, Mr Corne there are thousands of paths.

For “Lost Light” the story is obviously a triangle love story that ended badly except for the woman. Did the man killed himself and the man on the window? Did the woman killed them both? Tragedy authors Racine or Shakespeare would have loved this painting. The painter, Chagall would not, because the lovers end separately. In his paintings they always flew together.

Beatrice Chassepot
Los Angeles, December 3d, 2008