Continued from page 1

While it may be hard to see how Goude’s exuberant celebrations of multiculturalism could come off as racist, the hypothesis that he might have a wee issue with women is an easier case to make: Almost none of Goude’s muses _ an impressive series of drop-dead gorgeous women including Jones, a North African beauty, and his current wife, the so-called Queen of Seoul _ escape a photo session un-retouched.

Like a modern-day Pygmalion, Goude reworks the women till their perfection becomes supernatural. Goude calls it his “French correction”: He says he aims to “sublimate” his muses by elongating their already impossibly svelte legs and necks, downsizing heads, hands and feet and bestowing on them what he describes in one sketch as a “horse’s posterior.”

Early on in his career, Goude relied on low-tech props like 30-centimeter platform shoes hidden beneath flowing skirts, but soon he took to cutting up his negatives and taping them back together again to give the illusion of elongated perfection. In the digital age, he uses Photoshop to tinker with his photos.

Goude takes umbrage with any suggestion that his drive to improve his models came from any place darker than pure love and admiration.

“If I fall in love, but the person doesn’t take care of her appearance, or she says silly things, I’ll try to help her,” said Goude. The same goes for her image. A tweak here, a nip there, and Goude catapults his muses into the realm of almost alien perfection.

“I’m still enthralled by women,” Goude said. “I don’t want to change them. I want to make it so they are loved by others.”

“Goudemalion” runs at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs through March 18.

___

Online:

http://www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr/english-439/