PROCHAINE ÉTAPE (next stage in French) – 40″ X 30″ – Acrylics and mixed media on wood.
Alors voilà une grande surprise Bernard!
This is my version of a racing bike. It may not be the one that will accompany you in winning Le Tour de France, but it is one that will keep you on the edge of your seat for decades to come.
This creation celebrates our almost-retired president or Amundi, Bernard Vives.
Embedded within the layers of paint, you will find several items from Mr. Vives’ intensely colourful career.
On the frame of the bicycle, you will find articles from the magazine Vélo-Mag (50 years of history) recounting the evolution of cycling in Quebec.
Bernard has a dual French-Canadian nationality. You will discover the colours of the French flag, a maple leaf representing Canada, and the fleur-de-lys representing la belle province. Most cyclists would choose Evian water to keep hydrated, but Bernard prefers to stock up on Cuvée Lyonnaise. Note here on the label of the bottle, the emblem of the city of Lyon which is Bernard and Isabelle’s home in France. Speaking of viticulture, I’m told that one of his favorite red wines is from the right shore of the Rhône, precisely Côte-Rotie (see reference).
His many accomplishments in the world of business and finance are countless (see Credit Agricole and Amundi Investments references here). Indeed, our hyperactive case (according to Sonja and Chantal) has also proved his worth with the French Chamber of Commerce in Canada, The Société Générale CIB, Le comité National of Foreign Trade Advisors of France, and much more.
You all know that Bernard has an immense reservoir of energy, you will see him pedalling for hours around at high speed at the Vélodrome in Bromont or on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. If you can’t find him on a bicycle, you will find him cross-country or downhill skiing or hiking in the woods. Are you already out of breath?
His family is a great source of pride for him. The three bronze stars on the rear wheel represent his children Caroline, Charly, and Maxime. They are his source of motivation to always stay in touch with his inner youth. His wife Isabelle, represented by the letters I.S.B.L. on the front wheel, joins him in most of his outrageous adventures, and when Bernard veers off course, she’s the one who puts him back on track to maintain the balance of his “bike”. To complete the family, you have probably noticed the discreetly perched cat with a bowtie on the luggage rack. Allow me to introduce Paxou. He also holds an important place in the family and has played a role in Bernard’s well-being by bringing him comfort, understanding, and pure happiness.
In his free time, even though it seems like an oxymoron, he plays the guitar. I challenge you to guess what represents this hobby.
As for Caliméro, everyone loves him. Bernard has a special affection for this adorable character.
I have entitled this creation “PROCHAINE ÉTAPE” (next stage) because each stage of Bernard’s life has been filled with challenges which called him to surpass himself so he would meet the demands and expectations of the task at hand.
Along the way, this journey brought him unforgettable encounters with whom he will cherish sweet memories for the rest of his life.
Today, on October 23, 2023 (see the Roman numerals XXIII on the front wheel), we are all gathered, dear Bernard, to thank you for the outstanding individual you are and for the significant difference you have made amongst our wonderful team. We will be forever grateful. Everyone here supports you on La PROCHAINE ÉTAPE that lies ahead of you.
The time has now come to pass the torch to Eric so that he can honour all that you have sown in recent years with Amundi. Oh yes, I’m told that if you ever have an insane craving for Susan’s exquisite blueberry cake, you’ will know where to find it…
I would like to thank Chantal, Sonja, and the entire Amundi Investments team for trusting me in creating this work of art. May this painting make you smile at every glance and inspire you to push your personal limits in everything you undertake, just like our friend Bernard has done so far and will continue to do forever.
Yours in colours,