Artist, illustrator, painter and sculptor (1934-2005)
Jean-Michel Folon was born in the Brussels suburb of Uccle. He began to study for a degree in architecture at the Institut Saint-Luc in Brussels, but dropped out and moved to Paris, where he quickly achieved success as an illustrator: his pastel-coloured watercolour images of “lost” figures in ethereal landscapes perfectly catching the mood of post-68 France. He played one of the characters in his friend Maurice Dugowson’s film Lily aime-moi, but decided to concentrate on design and illustration. His most famous creation was the opening and closing sequence for the French television channel Antenne 2 which was shown every day between 1975 and 1984. In 1989, he designed the “birds” logo for the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the French revolution. He also designed many advertising posters, some for commercial products, some for cultural events and some for campaigning groups, including Amnesty International. His other works include the decorations for the Brussels metro station Montgomery, the stained-glass windows in the church at Waha near Marche-en-Famenne, sets of postage stamps for various issuers, a sculpture for the Walloon Regional parliament building at Namur and a production of Puccini’s La Bohème. Towards the end of his life, he set up the Folon Foundation in a farmhouse in the grounds of the Château de la Hulpe, former home of the Solvay family near Brussels. The Foundation runs a museum and gallery displaying around 300 of his works. There is also an outdoor display of some of Folon’s sculptures. The Walloon Regional Tourist Board is sponsoring a series of special events linked to Folon in 2008.