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Jean Fautrier

Jean Fautrier

*  1898 Paris
† 1964 Châtenay-Malabry

After his father's early death, his mother moved to London, where the 14-year old Fautrier attended the Royal Academy and later the Slade School of Art. At the beginning of 1917 he returned to France to serve his time. At the front he suffered from a gas-poisoning which affected his whole life. During a recreational visit to Tyrol in 1920/21 he resumed painting. Expressionistic figure studies, portraits and still lives came into existence, which were reminiscent in its brush ductus and its cartoon-like concept of Chaim Soutine. At the same time he created in 1925/26 unusual experimental compositions, in which the motif is barely visible between quickly scribbled colour gestures and monochromatic colourfulness. After first successful sales - Fautrier exhibited his painting in Paris as early as 1923 and had a contract with the Galerie Guillaume in Paris since 1925 - he withdrew more and more from painting. In 1934 he finally left Paris for good and became at first skiing-instructor in Tignes and later the successful director of a hotel in Val'd'Isère. At the beginning of world war II Fautrier left the Alps and returned in 1940 via Marseilles and Aix-en-Provence to Paris. There he set up a studio, which became the meeting point of his friends, who were members of the 'Résistence'. After a short incarceration Fautrier found shelter at Dr. Lesavoureux's sanatorium, were the series 'Otages' [hostages] came into being until 1945, which were the base of his later success. Between 1949 and 1954 his artistic work was interrupted by his severe financial situation. The author André Malraux, the later French minister of culture, assigned him the graphic care of art editions at the publishing house Gallimard. At the same time Fautrier developed together with his wife Jeanine Aeply the 'Originaux Multiples' - a mixture between printed graphics and painting - for the distribution of his own works. Since 1954 the artist painted again with oil paints and abandoned the haptic surfaces, he developed earlier. His paintings were now shown world-wide: in 1959 at the documenta, in 1960 he received the International Great Award at the Biennale in Venice. Due to a severe illness, he was not able to visit a retrospective in his honour, which was opened shortly before his death at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville in Paris in 1964. He died on 21 July 1964 in Châtenay-Malabry.