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Anne de Colbert-Christophorov: I am proud of my Bulgarian passport

Снимка“You live in a beautiful country with lots of resources – history, tourism, science. You have a promising future.” That is how artist Anne de Colbert – Christophorov sees Bulgaria – the country her husband Prof. Boyan Christophorov she has been happily married to for over 40 years, comes from.

The romance between the artist of aristocratic descent, heir to French politician and finance minister under Louis 14th Jean-Baptiste Colbert and the prominent Bulgarian gastroenterologist began in Germany:

“He was doing his military service and I was teaching at a school for the children of the French military stationed in Germany,” she says. “One day one of the children hit his head. I took him to hospital and the man who took care of him was Boyan Christophorov. I was struck by his philanthropic spirit even before I had got to know his intellect or his spiritual qualities. I was first attracted by the doctor and then by the man of exceptional merits. Many people from different countries come to consult him. He is an outstanding gastroenterologist who was recently awarded a very high distinction – the National Order of the Legion of Honour.”

The two live in France and Anne has had Bulgarian citizenship for 20 years. The couple is very active among the Bulgarian community in France. They show hospitality and support to young Bulgarians studying in France.

“I think the Bulgarian people are changing,” Anne says. “They only used to travel to the so-called socialist countries. Now Bulgarians travel everywhere, not just France, but Spain, Germany, Sweden, America, South Africa. Your people suddenly took to the road and Bulgarians opened up to the world. Our children are abroad too and we welcome in our home young people from Bulgaria studying in France. People studying abroad or working as doctors or artistes never forget their country. They always spend their holidays in Bulgaria and are on the lookout for opportunities to return as specialists with a name in their sphere of expertise.”

Anne de Colbert herself started painting “relatively late in life, as she herself puts it, but with a grand passion for colour expression”. She was born in Provence in the South of France and so her life bears the imprint of the hues, the warmth and the vitality of this part of the country. “My works are influenced by dreams, I have a vivid imagination and that helps too”, she says. “There are no human figures in my pictures, but there is always a human presence that fills the atmosphere of the farms, the cities and the villages. Whatever the painting technique, the soul and the hues of Bulgaria become a part of me more and more with every passing year.”

The talented artist shows her works in exhibitions and one-man-shows all over the world. She has won prestigious awards such as the gold medal at the International Salon in Rome, the Bernheim Prize, Paris, the Rotary club prize, Paris. And for her remarkable contribution to “the preservation of the Bulgarian identity and the assertion of a positive picture of Bulgaria and Bulgarians in France”, in 2011 she was awarded the Ivan Vazov commemorative medal of the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad:

“Bulgaria is a small country with a population of under 8 million,” Anne says. “This is less than the population of Paris and its environs which is 12 million. Nevertheless in this small country there are remarkable people in spheres like literature, music, science. How can you help loving a country with such a potential? The more we advance, the greater the need of real art. It helps us stay optimistic, taking us farther from ugliness and the foolishness of everyday life. Be bold, honest and hard-working but above all, keep up your hopes. If you lose hope – just open your eyes and look up.”

English version: Milna Daynova

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