Company History

Martine Harraca

Martine Harraca took her first steps as a child on a beach in Normandy. At age six she left the English Channel for the Atlantic Ocean, Arcachon, a city in France on the Atlantic coast. When she was 15 she crossed the English Channel to enter the British Royal Academy of Arts. Here she met the person who was to change her life - her art professor. He did't speak a word of French and Martine's English was very poor. Their only means of communication was through art. It was at this point that Martine realized the power of the art form, how everything could be expressed through color, form and movement alone. No words were necessary. This would become her means of conquering the world!

At the age of 23, Martine crossed the Atlantic Ocean to arrive in New York City. There a well known decorator, David Barett, became enthralled with her work and organized a shows for her on Fire Island. Her paintings were hung on tree branches along the ocean front. It took only a few hours for every painting to be sold. The Village Voice devoted an article to her entitled, "One French Girl had One Man Show".

At age 25, Martine crossed the Atlantic Ocean once again to arrive in Spain. Living in Madrid, she was removed from the ocean she was so deeply attached to. It didn't take her long to find the rhythm of her beloved waves in the movement of the colored clouds swirling over head. She fell in love with Spain and decided to stay and paint, finding there her inspiration. The time Martine spent in Spain was a time of great joy and artistic creation. She defined the purity of her style and learned to make no compromises. Nothing was superficial in her style. There was the great breadth of universality. The result was powerful and poetic at the same time.

 

This was also a time of artistic innovation. She worked on new supports, such as enormous metal sheets. The Kreidler Dos Gallery in Madrid showed these striking works. The Spanish Ministry of Culture selected the show as one of the top ten art exhibits of the year.

Commissions began pouring in from all parts of the world. She created murals for the French bank "Societe Generale", for the "Financial Club of Spain", and for the well known Italian architect, Olivieri. The new "Newsweek" offices in Paris opened with a Harraca show.

Then there was chemistry ...

In 1980, Martine returned to France where she created works for the French aluminum maker, Pechiney and French glass maker, Saint Gobain. Now her work led her in a direction far removed from the sea and the natural world and into a new world of synthetic materials.

That same year, 1980, Martine's life was once again transformed through her encounter with Charles Roehl, an American chemist. He was attracted to her artistic sense which brightened his daily existence. She was attracted to his sense of reason and knowledge of new materials. Together they began inventing, creating, and exploring new directions through the use of synthetic materials such as acrylic resins. These materials were rigid and soon she was creating sculptures to be used as lamps. Her large acrylic murals were cut into small pieces that were used as place mats at official dinners given by the King of Morocco and the World Bank in Washington. She decided that people should look at her art horizontally rather than hanging on a wall. So her murals were used horizontally as table tops, created for Pechiney. She created a six meter long wind screen for the Jacquemart Andre Museum in Paris. She then began painting on glass plaques using a symphony of blues and purples. She created glass table tops and acrylic dinnerware encrusted with crystals.

Finally, there was jewelry ...

Martine's small sculptures were once used as broaches in a Nina Ricci fashion show. They had the shape of sails inflated by the warm sea breeze. They came to be known as "broches voiles", the French term for sail broaches. Everybody wanted one! So Martine decided to make more, to make different shapes, to make earrings, bracelets, necklaces. She created large glass vases in which she set afloat her jewelry for a special presentation attended by Madame Bernadette Chirac, the wife of the then President of France. Madame Chirac exclaimed, "It's beautiful, really beautiful". Raul Chavarri, a Spanish critic talks about "Alchemy and the Revival of Materials". Martine Harraca, like most gifted artists, seeks to uncover nature's most precious secrets and transform them into works of artistic beauty. Every piece of jewelry designed by Martine Harraca is a true artistic creation.