Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Friend Isabelle

Isabelle's counter

If there is any one person I can credit for my move to France it would be Isabelle Grange. We met in the summer of 2000, before everything changed in the Hudson Valley, before 9/11. Isabelle an amazing painter was living at that time in a beautiful and funky house on the Hudson river, south of Rhinebeck. She had been peering through the Basic French store windows that were covered with white paper, waiting for our grand opening. That summer, Isabelle was working for my friends Steve Abeles and Ray Anastasio, at their beautiful antique store, Balsamo, in Pine Plains. They assured us we'd be friends.

When the doors to Basic French finally opened in August, Isabelle was one of my first customers. We immediately hit it off. I was awed by her talent and her sweet and gentle temperament. Over the years our friendship blossomed even after she moved back to les Monts du lyonnais to be near her family and friends. I often visited her hometown of Larajasse and on 9/11, when I was stuck in Paris during Maison et Objet with no flights scheduled to the US for four days, I called her and stayed with her family. The next summer, I rented a house in Perigord, and during the worst summer deluge, the girls and I drove across France, in 9 1/2 hours, by way of the Massif Central to visit Isabelle. While walking in the country near her family home, we spotted an old stone farm house high on a hill, neglected, savage but beautiful. I said "If that house ever comes on the market, let me know." Three years later I bought that same house, my basic French getaway, one kilometer from where Isabelle grew up.

Isabelle's kitchen
A brilliant artist who studied at l'ecole d'Arts Appliqués in Lyon, then later worked in New York for Raymond Waites as design director, Isabelle has a unique, personal painting style that has greatly evolved over the years. What never changes however, is her attention to detail and her amazing craftsmanship. She can paint anything. Her background as a decorative painter has landed her international projects for wallpaper manufacturers, publishers and high-end decorative design firms. She has exhibited her travel portraits widely and while her personal work is so different from her decorative work, both are highly collectible.

Isabelle's urn prints in her salon

We are thrilled to be carrying some of Isabelle's decorative prints at Basic French, a business collaboration following years of great friendship. To see more of Isabelle's personal work, click here.
To see her decorative work for Objet de Curiosité, click here.

Isabelle Grange, painter

1 comment:

north pal said...

isn't she just cute? isabelle appears to be a very happy person. we can so thankful for our friends. they are a gift to ourselves. Bestest,Denise