Born in the South of France, Alain Vaes studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Montpellier and the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs in Nice. A painter as well as an international volleyball player, he had gallery exhibits in Paris and Honfleur. His work is in the collection of the French Government.

Since moving to the United States in 1981, he has worked as an artist, a set and costume designer, and as an author and illustrator of children’s books.

He has published with Little, Brown and Company:The Porcelain Pepper PotThe Wild HamsterThe Steadfast Tin SoldierThe Princess and the Pea, and Puss in Boots, which was in collaboration with Lincoln Kirstein. Reynard the Fox and 29 Bump Street were published by Turner Publishing.

He has designed sets and costumes for twenty-five productions including: Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, the Nutcracker, La Sonnambula, Songs of the Auvergne, Don Quixote and Cinderella, mainly for the New York City Ballet, but also for the Boston Ballet, the Fort Worth-Dallas Ballet, the National Ballet of Flanders, the Charlotte Ballet, the Cincinnati Ballet, the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Kansas City Ballet, the Royal Danish Theater, and the Sacramento Ballet.

His work has been shown at the Pierpont Morgan Library, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Fort Worth Art Museum, the Hudson River Museum, the DeCordova Museum, the McNay Art Museum, the George Adams gallery and the RJD gallery in New York.


Ecole des Arts Decoratifs de Nice Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Montpellier


2018 Secrets of The Twisted & Entwined (group show), RJD Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY

2011 Alain Vaes: New Paintings, George Adams Gallery, New York, NY

2010 Alain Vaes: Watercolors, George Adams Gallery, New York, NY
1997 The Art of Enchantment: Children’s Book Illustrations, (group show), McNay Art
Museum, San Antonio, TX
1997 The Art of Enchantment: Children’s Book Illustrations, (group show) Art Institute of
Chicago, Chicago IL
1996 The Art of Enchantment: Children’s Book Illustrations, (group show), Norman Rockwell
Museum, Stockbridge, MA


Boston Ballet
Charlotte Ballet
Cincinnati Ballet
Fort Worth-Dallas Ballet
Kansas City Ballet
National Ballet of Flanders
New York City Ballet
Pennsylvania Ballet
Richmond Ballet
Royal Danish Theater
Sacramento Ballet


The Porcelain Pepper Pot, Little, Brown and Company
The Wild Hamster, Little, Brown and Company
The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Little, Brown and Company
The Princess and the Pea, Little, Brown and Company
Puss in Boots (in collaboration with Lincoln Kirstein), Little, Brown and Company Reynard the Fox, Turner Publishing.
29 Bump Street, Turner Publishing.


The French Government

I am drawn to depicting dense scenes populated by the beautiful and the hideous, where the dominant pattern slowly reveals the presence of a rich natural world filled with flowers, plants, animals and insects, slightly ominous, luscious and teaming with life.

The repetition of the tension between prey and predator such as in “Crows and Toads” interests me.

On a formal level, I like the abstraction created by a repeating pattern. Familiar with the work of M.C. Escher and William Morris, I am intrigued by the idea of a single composition repeating as a tessellation. In mathematics, to tessellate is to cover a plane by repeated use of a single shape without gaps or overlaps.

Each painting in this series is made up of an individual composition replicated many times, as in fabric or wallpaper. Only the size of the canvas limits a pattern that could go on indefinitely.

Painting the same thing over and over again is a meditative process that comes with an array of feelings and surprises. As I execute each repeat, the result evolves in various ways. It is my hope that the paintings do not appear static, but evoke movement and energy and intrigue the viewer.