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Frédéric Gracia

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Frédéric Gracia

Frédéric Gracia (born 1959, in Paris) is a French artist, who is known for his trompe-l'œil murals, often in a hyperrealistic style and often on large exterior surfaces such as water towers and industrial chimneys. He calls himself a peintre-alpiniste (climber-painter) because he uses rope access techniques such as rappelling to create large outdoor murals.

Early workEdit

After studies in the decorative arts and a short period working as an illustrator in a graphics design studio, Gracia began his career as a painter working for Club Med as a decorator-scenographer.[1]

In 1986, while travelling in Asia, he painted a fluorescent backdrop for a concert by Chick Corea in Hong Kong.[1]

In 1990, he worked for Paquet Cruises aboard the Mermoz, providing scenery for the night-time entertainment.[1]

Large trompe-l'œil worksEdit

As a child, he was equally fascinated by mountain climbing; looking for a painter able to work at great heights, Jean-Marie Pierret hired him in 1991 to paint Aquarius, a giant mural on one of the four cooling towers of the Cruas Nuclear Power Plant in Ardèche, France. He did so with the assistance of eight mountain guides.[1] This led to more commissions. For example, in 1995 he worked with Catherine Feff and the Bouygues company on the inside of the dome of a mosque in Turkmanistan; for this job, scaffolding was used.[1]

In 2007, directing a team of rappelling painters via walkie-talkie over two months, he decorated the two 52-metre chimneys of the thermo-electric plant at Bagnolet, in the suburbs of Paris, with murals of drops of water 1.1–metres in diameter.[2][3] In 2009, his services were suggested as an alternative to an as yet incomplete computer-controlled large-scale printer for the projected decoration of all the dams in Valais, Switzerland, with murals 700 metres wide and 250 metres high.[4]

However, he prefers to work alone, using rope access techniques. He compares the work to spelunking, since the movement is downwards, not upwards as in climbing.[1]

On commission from various settlements, he has painted water towers [5] for example with his brother Pascal at Treffiagat,[6][7][8] and also wall murals, for example at Fontenay-aux-Roses a sepia-tinted mural of a past street scene based on an archival photograph, "like a wink at the passage of time."[9]

An example of interior trompe-l'œil work is his decoration of toilet rooms in residences as the command station of a submarine[10] or a space exploration vehicle.[11][12]

In 2000, from a field of 22,000 artists representing 51 countries, Gracia was selected as one of five award-winners from France in the Winsor and Newton Worldwide Millennium Painting Competition sponsored by Winsor & Newton and the Prince of Wales. His painting Blue World was included in a worldwide touring exhibition which began at St James's Palace and ended at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.[1]

Stylistic influencesEdit

When he first started painting, Gracia was influenced by the American and Japanese hyperrealist painters, and by René Magritte.[1][9]


  • Paris Institute of Oceanography
  • Exposition Saphir.
  • Le Manège, Saint-Germain-en-Laye
  • Japan Air Lines, Champs-Élysées, Paris
  • Winsor and Newton Worldwide Millennium Painting Competition: World Trade Center, Stockholm; St James's Palace, London; United Nations Headquarters, New York
  • Gallery, Orly Airport, Paris
  • Salon des artistes français
  • Salon d'Igny (guest of honour)
  • Galeries Artitude.
  • Galerie Paradis
  • Paris town halls: 9th, 13th, 3rd arrondissements
  • Town Hall, Châtillon
  • Éspace Maison Blanche, Châtillon
  • Centre Jacques Prévert, Châtillon
  • Town Hall, Le Plessis-Robinson (D'Artagnan on permanent display in council chamber)
  • Le Moulin Fidel. Robinson
  • FNAC Les Halles - Paris
  • Salons Vianey. Paris (permanent exhibit)
  • Galerie du Château. Pau (64)
  • Galerie Leitner. Paris
  • Aquarium de Paris - Cinéaqua
  • Guest of honour at Château de Ferrière (77)
  • Town hall, Tulle (19)
  • Guest of honour at 46th Salon d'Arts Plastiques, Châtillon (2007)[13][14]
  • Arts and Sciences in Limousin: Town Hall, Aubusson


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Jacques Daimé, "Frédéric Garcia: la peinture sur un fil", Chantier de France 387, February 2006 (pdf at Damtrix) (in French)
  2. ^ "La métamorphose des cheminées de Bagnolet", Le Parisien, 25 September 2007 (in French)
  3. ^ Владислав Карелин, "Художники расписывают французскую энергетику", 9 July 2008, retrieved 10 June 2012 (in Russian)
  4. ^ Zian Marro with Karim Trabelsi and Philippe Lahaye, "Dessine-moi un barrage", Nuovo, RTS, 17 December 2009 (with video) (in French).
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Art. Le château d'eau décoré", Le Télégramme, 11 July 2009 (in French)
  7. ^ "Château d'eau. Inauguration de la fresque", Le Télégramme, 21 July 2009 (in French)
  8. ^ "Le château d'eau a été inauguré", Ouest-France 2009 (imaged online part 1, part 2) (in French)
  9. ^ a b Michel Monsay, "L'Illusion d'un réel poétisé", Interview, Panorama (BBGR) 93, January 2006, pp. 10–11 (pdf) (in French)
  10. ^ C.C., "Ces petits coins que l’on décore... Le sous-marin", maison à 20 December 2007, retrieved 10 June 2012 (in French)
  11. ^ Frédéric Gracia, Articles de presse sur Frederic Gracia (blog), 29 November 2010, retrieved 10 June 2012 (in French)
  12. ^ "WC customisés", 100% mag, M6 26 February 2010 (in French) (video)
  13. ^ Châtilloninfos 246, September 2010, Ville de Châtillon, pp. 22–23 (pdf pp. 24–25) (in French)
  14. ^ La Gazette des arts 12, October/November 2010, p. 88 (in French) (page imaged online)

External linksEdit