|Terrence & Maureen Tobin
Agnes Emanuelli painted 175 paintings which now hang around the world--Hong Kong, Tokyo, Los Angeles, New York, and in many European countries. She was a native Parisian and a graduate of the Sorbonne (Spanish and English) but traveled to many places for her artistic inspiration including the bayous of Louisiana (in October 1969), Peru and China.
She found part of her inspiration in the final 20 years of her life in the southern Alps of Provence where she did volunteer work on restoring an abandoned chapel. The restoration continues. The chapel is located on the Route Napoleon followed by the famous emperor in March 1815 when he left Elba for Paris. Children in the area still find gold coins lost from a mule belonging to the escort.
In a brochure for an Agnes Emanuelli exhibition Marie-Anne Lescourret wrote: Is it really naive to believe that painting alone can give life to your dream? Or on the other hand is it not the greatest lucidity to admit that it is only on canvas where the black panther will come and play among oranges the rabbit will climb up on an ostrich's back to track reindeer on a Christmas night? And it takes so much daring to create these images that break away from the laws and restrictions of geography and botany ... from reality not only those set up by human civilization but those that animals and nature respect.
Agnes Emanuelli does not rub the world the wrong way nor does she show it upside down. In a vision of universal encounter she brings together happenings gleaned during a morning stroll in her native Paris during an escapade in Southern France at olive picking time during several of her more distant trips to Peru, China or the United States. The snow, the muddy waters in the bayous, their trees bearing vegetation; heavy and wet clinging like seaweed the wooden houses of the American countryside, the wild and untamed vegetation and the hammocks in South America, the tiger in the botanical gardens, the water lilies of some pond in the surroundings of Paris, the black panther from a novel by Kipling, all of which are trite in themselves, mingle in works indifferent to the continent and the seasons. Dark blues greens dominate mountains sea and jungle in countless hues cut by the red of a poppy the orangish pink of a tile roof the ocre of a window lit up by a hearth-fire.
Born in 1948, Agnes Emanuelli started to paint fifteen years ago because painting was her language. Her only instructors were her dreams her trips and her outlook. She has been showing regularly in Paris (Naif & Primitifs) had two personal exhibitions one in Paris in 1982 the other in New York in 1985 and has taken part in several group exhibitions in France and abroad. She has been published in "Naive Cats" and "Paris and the Naives".
Agnes Emanuelli died on June 19, 1993 from injuries sustained in a hit and run accident on a Paris street on May 13, 1993. She is buried at the Emanuelli chapel at Calvi Corsica.
[Note by submitter: I did not know Agnes Emanuelli. The above information other than that attributed to Marie-Anne Lescourret is provided by her father Pierre Emanuelli who described his daughter Agnes as "humorous talented and fun." I met Pierre in April 1978 in Paris and we have corresponded periodically since that time. A remarkable person in his own right he shared with me in a letter be sad news of Agnes' death. I later learned of the Plaza of Heroines and its celebration of important women's lives. It seemed natural to memorialize the life of Agnes Emanuelli in this small way on the campus of Iowa State University. When I first met Pierre I was studying in London and working in Parliament during my junior year at ISU. Pierre asked me where I was from and I said I was a student at Iowa State University in Ames Iowa. Since my introduction to Pierre had been provided by my uncle who had no involvement or attachment to ISU I was surprised when Pierre replied "Ames. Isn't that between Marshalltown and Boone?" By themselves the life and accomplishments of Agnes Emanuelli in her all too short life merit her a place in the Plaza of Heroines. My friendship with Pierre and his knowledge of ISU make the placement of a memorial brick bearing her name even more special.]