OIL, CHARCOAL, PENCIL,
These paintings and drawings are all
part of private collections.
This bio was written in 2006. It appeared in the Columbus, GA Chamber of Commerce Marquee Flash, an
arts newsletter at that time. Marcel Carles died on November 2, 2010. He was 75.
MARCEL CARLES: Ar-tisté
Marcel Carles was born and raised in Paris (France, not Tennessee) where he began his studies of the
culinary arts. He came to the United States in 1955 for OJT (on-the-job-training) in hotel and restaurant
management. When his visa expired in 1957 he went to Cuba for a year where he worked as a chef at the
French Embassy, then returned to the U.S. He was drafted into the U.S. Army for 2 years, and during that
time became an instructor in the Ranger Department at Fort Benning, GA. Having earned a Black Belt in
Judo while still in France, he taught his students how to cut down on injuries by, among other things, learning
how to fall and land. Being a fairly modest person, these facts are not generally known, because Marcel
does not often talk about himself .
He was a chef at the Big Eddy Club in Columbus for 28 years and at the Harmony Club for 6 years before
retiring. His favorite cuisine is, of course, French. As is the case with many other local artists, Marcel
always wanted to paint, but never had the time. Most artists have a “day job” or career and paint when they
can, or take up painting upon retirement. In 1994 Marcel began taking classes, lessons and learning
opportunities came along in which he also participated. Always the student, his learning processes seem to
never stop. He works mostly in oil, now his favorite medium, but has also done watercolor, charcoal, and ink
drawings and paintings. His favorite subject is the human figure, he says, perhaps with that perennial
Frenchman’s gleam in his eye.
Marcel’s art covers a broad spectrum, and is a part of many collections, which hosts proudly point out to
guests. In spite of his impressionism, his figure studies are incredibly accurate and alive with the fine points
that make the human body such a fascinating subject. His creative nature once inspired him to turn a well
used paint palette into an oil painting of the Columbus Symphony conductor. As a world traveler, his
paintings are footprints of the myriad of places he’s visited over the years.
Marcel’s landscapes are impressionistic in nature, and he likes what he calls “Province Painting” in the
French style. He utilizes bright colors and has a type of flair, though he’s not fond of doing abstract
paintings. Fine detail is not as important as the general impression one gets from looking at the painting.
Aside from art he likes to listen to music. Though health problems have slowed him a little recently, he
remains active and supportive of the arts community.
His charming accent and French manner remain, in spite of the time spent in this country. He and wife Faye
have two children and 3 grandchildren, and reside in Columbus. A prolific painter, Marcel’s work can be
seen at several local restaurants, and he is a member and exhibiting artist at the Joseph House Gallery
Cooperative, and a frequent exhibitor at Arts on the River in October.