Jean Arène was born on September 11, 1929 in Marseille near the old port. After a period in 1949 at the School of Fine Arts in Marseille, then a year in Paris in 1950 with the poster artist Paul Colin, Jean Arène returned to Marseille the following year where he founded the “Groupe des moins de trente ans” and lived for five years in advertising and decoration.
His first exhibition dates from 1956, but from 1957 onwards, Jean Arène leaves the city for the countryside which will serve as his home base for numerous trips, often hitchhiking and backpacking, but always accompanied by a pencil and a sketchbook. The Provence of Arène is that of the interior, more than the coast. It is made of dry lands, of stony stretches, plowed under a blazing sun. For Arène as for the authentic “countries”, Provence represents more than a region, it is a state of mind! His painting is of a powerful style and an apparent simplicity.
At the end of the retrospective of his works organized at the museum by the Lalan Network at the end of summer 2008, Arène offered Bormes a painting “View of the village, from the balcony of the museum”.