Jean Francois Detaille was born in Belgium, to a family with a long genealogical tree of painters. From the late 1800’s Jean Baptiste Edouard Detaille who was the Academician painter of the battles of Napoleon Bonaparte to his own father, Paul Detaille, a part time oil painter. Jean Francois was raised in a close obsession for art by his father. Jean Francois spent his youth vacationing in the South of France and Catalonia region of Spain where his father was friends with the local artists. It was in 1974 that Jean Francois encountered the famous surrealist, Salvador Dali and visited his house in Port Lligat a few steps from his parent’s vacation hub. Jean Francois visited the newly open Dali museum in 1974 and witnessed Dali live painting his creation of Don Quixote right on the plaza facing the museum. Jean Francois was not only impressed by Dali’s skills at sketching but by his panache and exuberant personality.
Early 1980 Jean Francois was a bit of a rebel. He would paint his teacher portraits in caricaturist style onto the school blackboards or the outside walls of the school within minutes. Then in 1983, on a bet with friends, Jean Francois crashed the welcome ceremony of the European Tour of Pope John Paul by bringing a blackboard into the middle of the crowd of 60,000 and painting the pope. Later, after being stopped by event security, Jean Francois appeared on the evening news labeled a trouble maker. Jean Francois’ career was launched and his list of performance portraits today are praise by the international jet set and his impromptu art takes the world by storm.