Claude Venard

(1913-1999)

Biography

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Venard was born in 1913 into a business family from Burgogne. At the age of 17, he began to take evening classes in painting at the Ecole des Arts Appliques.

However, after six years of conscientious study, he was forced, in order to support himself, to spend most of 1936 working as a restorer at the Louvre Museum.

This experience, however, turned out to be beneficial as it enabled the young artist to fill the gaps in his artistic education.

In 1936, Abstract painting was the dominant trend. In the same year, a group show of young painters was organized by the Galerie Billet-Worms. This show led the critic Waldemar George to write: “Let’s be young again! Painting is not dead. Its course has not stopped. Forces Nouvelles is born.”

Within this new movement, Forces Nouvelles, the leading painters of the day, including Claude Venard were assembled, which gave impetus to their cause. After a while, the group became radical. This did not suit Venard any more than it did Marchand and several others, so the same artists who had given luster to the Forces Nouvelles left it to concentrate on their own work.

After Venard’s release from the army, his life was transformed at the end of World War II.

With recognition came the chance to put painting before all else. In 1945, through his continued friendship with Gruber and Marchand, Venard shared mutual success. He remained faithful to a post-Cubist compositional style and progressively accentuated the chromatism of his pallet up to reaching the crudest of colors, which he used in very thick forms and sometimes applied with a pallet knife.

Venard’s career was happy, punctuated by one-man shows in Paris, London, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dusseldorf, Munich, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Canada, Belgium, and Holland.

The artist loved life in all its aspects, and one is inclined to feel that he may have been in search of a genre of painting that would respond to even the most earthy appetites. As he himself phrased it: “-We must be wary of works that seduce at first glance. By this, I don’t mean to say that ugliness is the greatest of virtues – only that work must inspire because of its own worth, without the intermediary of gracious artifices.”

Museums: Modern Art Museum – Paris Rouen Museum Nice Museum Tate Gallery – London Munich Museum Tokyo Museum Metropolitan Museum – New York Dallas Museum Sao Paulo Museum Montreal Musem

Anne-French Fine Arts
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