Philippe Courtois is the CEO of Mériguet-Carrère, a company that specializes in paint and wallpaper for the luxury market. The paint and wallpaper collection were created as a result of decades of working on restorations and decoration of some of the world’s most iconic places, such as Palais Garnier, Château de Versailles and the cathedral Notre Dame de Paris. Philippe is enthusiastic about developing and expanding the brand. The competition is fierce and yet Philippe remains confident as he has experience working with acclaimed architects and interior designers including the likes of Jacques Grange, Michael Smith and Joseph Dirand. Prior, to his position with Mériguet-Carrère, he was CEO of Atelier Premiere in New York. Both companies are subsidiaries.
When Philippe isn’t working at Mériguet-Carrère, he focuses his attention on creating three-dimensional collages. Philippe’s collages pay homage to life in megacities. He works in mixed media of found materials he has collected over the past twenty-five years from various job sites. He uses fine materials such as wallpapers, fabrics, and humble ones such as torn corrugated cardboard, magazine tears of text, drawings, photographs, and paint.
To me, the collages reference the wear and tear on old building facades in Paris and New York. Philippe has created visual poetry of texture, color, and a riot of activity that mirrors the busyness of cities. One can see references to Pop Art that nod to Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, and Rauschenberg.
The last time I interviewed Philippe he was living in a Stanford White townhouse on Striver’s Row in Harlem, New York. After living and working in New York for six years he and his family and their dog Jazzy returned to Paris. Now, they live in a leafy residential neighborhood close to the Bois de Boulogne and Jardins du Ranelagh to the delights of their dog. Over the years I have been following Philippe’s professional life in decorative painting and as an artist. Last year, I had the opportunity to see their beautiful home in Paris and this summer I caught up with Philippe remotely to learn more about his art.
Where is your studio?
I have two studios one in the country about forty-five minutes from Paris, and the other in Paris. Typically, I start my projects in the countryside and then finish them at my Paris studio.
Do you have representation at a gallery?
Yes, I’m represented at 55 Bellechasse Gallery and more recently with Ange Monnoyeur, and both galleries are located in Paris.
Could you share the name of one collector who has bought your artwork?
Renaud de Lesquen, the new CEO of Givenchy and his wife Adelaide.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a new series that I started during quarantine, and I’m hoping to have a solo show this October.
Who are your favorite artists? Favorite art period?
I have so many favorite artists: Frank Stella, Jean Michel Basquiat, Hans Hartung, Henri Matisse, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Hans Hartung, Alexander Calder, and Pablo Picasso, and I also love also Olafur Elisasson.
The twentieth century for its creativity, and all the new it brought to Art in all directions.
Do you have artwork of your own that you’re very proud of?
My very last one, which measures one meter twenty centimeters by one meter twenty centimeters. It is a collage of mixed media of gold leaf, papers, gesso, shagreen, and paint. I’m thrilled when I see my art placed in beautiful interiors.
Does this collage have a name?
Not yet, because this work is not complete but usually I find my artwork’s name inside themselves perhaps from the text on the packaging. Some of my artwork’s names are: Not approved, Needle, Push, and Keep up.
Do you have any advice for an inspiring artist?
Work, work, work, and never surrender. Art takes time to succeed at and it is a long road to get there. I truly believe you have to persist and believe in yourself particularly when times are tough which is most of the time.
Can art be environmentally friendly?
Yes, I believe so. Mine is all about recycling and giving a second life to things.
Do you listen to music and do you have favorites?
I always listen to a mix of different genres from electro music, deep house, classical, and opera. Lately, I’m really into the French singer and songwriter Woodkid that I love so much, and I’m usually listening to music with headphones on as it helps me to concentrate.
How does art improve our lives?
Art brings us beauty, reflection, and it brings us to another dimension.
What are some of your favorite places and loves?
I love the countryside close to Paris and in Normandy, France, and in Menorca, Spain, where we have our summer home. This is where the artist Hans Hartung worked before World War II. I love the sun, and the sea — the Balearic Sea, for example. I love having dogs around and hearing my kids laugh. New York, for its diversity, open-mindedness, and its distinctive mix of the past, present, and future. New York is forever changing and evolving. I have amazing memories of New York like the time I saw a whale making its way under the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge.
For some, the quarantine was a period of creativity, and for Philippe, it was also a period of reflection and introspection. Philippe is grateful for all of Paris’s cultural institutions and being able to visit them again for now without the hoards of tourists.
Philippe is an optimistic, forward-thinking businessman, artist, and family man. He shares his passion for life and art with his children and he has given his children the unique experience of having lived in Harlem and he hopes that this experience has broadened their perspective. This fall Philippe has plans to study ceramics through the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris. I look forward to seeing where this may take Philippe’s art next.