The first time this image caught my eye, it was in the pages of a fairly new publication at that time called, ” Automobile Magazine “. The image was so direct and powerful of the late Ferrari pilot, Gilles Villeneuve, that it immediately captivated me and has held my attention to this day.
The image was accompanied with a brief article on the artist, Thierry Thompson, and his poignant image of Gilles titled ” The Last Run “. It immediately struck an emotional cord showing Gilles climbing out of the cockpit of his Formula 1 Ferrari 126C2 for the last time on that fateful day in Belgium, prior to his last qualifying appearance on May 8, 1982. The red number 27 is symbolically parked with one wheel over the yellow pit line – a metaphor of his relentless drive to win at all cost, often crossing the line.
From that first time I saw the image, it took me some time to track the artist, as search engines and the internet in the late 80’s were in their infancy. Once I was able to find his address in Carmel, it was still difficult to get in contact with him, let alone find him or a gallery that sold his artwork. I did finally contact a gallery by telephone and was able to talk to a very kind lady to express my interest in the image. At that time, she did explain that the run of images had sold out, but that Thierry would be doing a “redux” run of the same image, with a minor change – adding a touch of fluorescent colors. Although the “redux” edition is almost an identical to the original, I preferred to acquire an original version of the print.
When Thierry opened his gallery, Light + Shadow Fine Art in Carmel-by-the-Sea, I paid a visit there. I was immediately greeted by the gallery director and Thierry’s wife, Beverly. A kind and friendly person, I have visited the gallery on several occasion and always enjoy spending time talking to her and the work that Thierry has done and is currently working on. I have yet to meet Thierry, as the demand for his art work, keeps him at his studio most of the time. I am looking forward to one day meet him.
This brings me to Thierry’s image of Gilles. For years, I have been watching eBay to see if this image ever came up for sale. I have bought several of Thierry’s images through eBay and have never been disappointed. The beauty, the brilliant colors and complexity to which Thierry captures the details in his work, makes me fortunate to own several his wonderful prints.
Finally, it happened. ” The Last Run ” was listed on eBay after more than a decade of me patiently waiting and almost 3 decades since I first saw the image. After watching and waiting for the right opportunity, I bought the image. It is an ” Artist Proof “, meaning that it is one of about ten or so that were printed and which the artist approves before the limited edition run of 500 are made. To say that I am elated to finally have this image in my collection is a vast understatement!
I finally have the image of Gilles that I have always wanted.