Date of decease: 19.01.2010
Painting Method: mouth and foot painter
Danielle was born in February 1944, and came into the world without arms. Encouraged by the affection of her parents and the close bond with her two elder brothers and one younger brother, Danielle grew up amid the security of her family.
At the age when small children begin to explore their world, with no arms Danielle quite naturally learned to use her feet. To the great surprise of her parents, she was able to “handle” baby bottles and toys very dexterously.
However, the unity of the family was soon destroyed by the lack of empathy of a school doctor, who – despite the consent of the primary school teacher in her village – finally refused Danielle entry to a normal school education. At the age of six, she left her family and entered an institution in Neuilly-sur-Seine, where she learned reading and acquired the basic elements of a general school education. Only in the holidays and on a few family occasions did she return to the bosom of her family. Equipped with courage and the will to continue learning, she followed distance learning courses at the National Centre for Distance Learning in Vanves. A few years later, she successfully passed the final secondary-school examinations. This success made her more outgoing and open. She finally found the warmth of her parents’ home once more when she left the home in Neuilly in 1984. At home, she rediscovered the enchanting landscape and decided to devote herself to the beauty of the surrounding nature. Painting was to bring her joy and equilibrium in life. Thanks to a scholarship from the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists of the World, she was able to pursue that path. She and her painting teacher Nadine Le Dévéhat say that “the mind works, journeys and fantasises,” and that it does this despite the temporary or permanent shortcomings of the body. She wants to immortalise the impressions and pictures which she absorbs on her regular walks through the landscape she loves so much. She uses vivid colours to depict her still lifes, rural scenes and bouquets of flowers. In 1988, her state of health called for an operation on the hip, as a result of which she was no longer able to paint by foot. Danielle adapted to the new situation, and began to paint by mouth. Danielle sits in front of her easel for one to two hours a day guiding the brush with her mouth, which is very arduous. Painting brings Danielle joy in life and the strength she needs to overcome the most painful events in life, like the death of her mother. Painting also gives her the opportunity of meeting other people in the Association and making contact with other painters. “Painting is the place in my life where I feel the greatest freedom.” Her works, which are full of lively freshness, bring her appreciation and admiration: her oil painting entitled “Maison en pleine nature l’été” (House outdoors in summer) is meanwhile enthroned next to President Jacques Chirac in the city hall of Saint Sérotin. What a tribute to her!