"La Corrida [Bullfighting]," an original mixed media drawing on paper by Bernard Lorjou, is a piece for the true collector. Lorjou's use of colored inks and felt tip markers demonstrate his ability to convey his abstract concepts across media. This work is part of a highly collectible series of drawings he executed depicting various bullfighting scenes mid-action. This bullfighting theme reoccurred throughout Lorjou's work. Both the technical talent of Lorjou and his choice of subject matter pair perfectly with this minimalist custom frame designed to showcase the art in its entirety. An extremely rare example where the left binding edge is still intact, as many have been cut away or disintegrated over time in many other examples. This masterful work would make a great addition to an art collection and enhance most any home, perfect for those who have an affinity for satirical works, abstracts, and modern art.
Bernard Lorjou’s career as an artist, notwithstanding the loneliness and penury of the beginning, is a success story; by the time he was 36 the whole world of art had heard of him and there was a ready market for anything he cared to paint.
In the early years he talked mainly of Tintoretto and El Greco and his enthusiasm for Rembrandt developed somewhat later. He professed not to like Van Gogh, but it seems evident that Van Gogh’s late Provençal landscapes must have emboldened him in his early approach to both landscape and portraiture.
Lorjou was represented in numerous exhibitions through his career as an artist – in the great salons of Paris and Musee d’ Art Moderne – and alongside some of the leading artists of the 20th Century, including Pablo Picasso, Fernand Leger, Georges Rouault, Marc Chagall, and Raphael Soyer.
At several times in his career, Lorjou might be called an abstract expressionist, inspired by the configuration of the external world, though none of the details relating to authenticity impressed him very much. In exuberant celebration of the natural forms, he developed upon his canvas supernatural, jewel-like pigments and arbitrary, rugged textures that carried the overall pattern so far that one scarcely knows or cares what it represents. But the painting expresses what inspired it with a force of emotion stronger than most abstract canvases.
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Artist: BERNARD LORJOU (1908-1986)
Title: LA CORRIDA [BULLFIGHTING]
Medium & Surface: ORIGINAL MIXED MEDIA ON PAPER (framed)
Signed: HAND SIGNED BY ARTIST LOWER RIGHT
Year Created: CIRCA 1955
Country of Creation: FRANCE
Image Area Dimensions: 18 x 21.5 INCHES
Frame Dimensions:* 24.25 x 27.75 x 1.25 INCHES
*This work of art is being sold framed. If you would like to change the frame to better match your style or environment, please contact us for Custom Archival Framing options.
Additional Info: HIGHLY COLLECTIBLE WORK BY BERNARD LORJOU, IN GREAT CONDITION AND IN A CUSTOM WOOD FRAME USING FLOAT MOUNT TO ALLOW FOR VIEW OF ENTIRE WORK – FRAME IS IN GREAT CONDITION. WORK HAS GREAT PROVENANCE AND IS ONE OF THE BEST EXAMPLES OF THIS SUBJECT MATTER THAT LORJOU PRODUCED.
Provenance: (1) SWANN GALLERIES, NEW YORK, MARCH 3, 2011; (2) GALERIE C. BUSSIERE, PARIS
Artist Info/Bio: ARTIST BIOGRAPHY DOCUMENT IS INCLUDED
Documentation: CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY BY CALIFORNIA FINE ART BROKERS IS INCLUDED
A piece for the true collector. Bernard Lorjou was born on September 9, 1908 in Blois, France, a somber village of picturesque houses on the Loire River, thirty-two miles from Tours. He was the youngest of 3 children and a born painter, indulging in all the childish pranks to obtain crayons and suitable materials to satisfy his strong desire to draw and paint.
In 1924, he headed to Paris, where he lived in extreme poverty in a small room on the rue Raspail. Eventually, his funds ran out, so he started sleeping in the Orsay train station. Within a year, he found work with the silk house Ducharne. He used his income at Ducharne to finance his formal studies at the Evening School of the City of Paris. As a matter of course, he was taught a kind of 19th Century realism, dark and painstaking. His canvases show brilliant brushwork, filled with an emotional intensity that was to typify countless canvases.
At Ducharne, he designed patterns for prints that became sought by fashion houses ranging from Jacques Fath, Balmain, Lanvin, and Christian Dior, and worn by many notable women of the period, including Marlene Dietrich, Dolores del Rio, Jane Aubert, and the Duchess of Windsor.
At Ducharne, Lorjou met his wife Yvonne Mottet, also an artist. Mottet taught Lorjou conventional drawing and her influence on his work and life were profound. Her kind, gentle but direct force humanized and appeased his volcanic personality.
In 1934, Lorjou and Mottet setup an art studio in Montmartre, Paris. We have included some images of Lorjou in his studio, featured on “L'art vivant – 1949,” which you can search for on the web. Lorjou is featured in his studio at the 9-minute marker. This same studio was featured in the 1996 movie, “Everyone Says I Love You.” You can find a clip by searching the web for the movie title and Lorjou.
In 1939, Lorjou returned to Blois as German troops began invading France. During his short time as mayor, he recalled “housing, treating, burying, feeding” many of the town’s citizens.
In 1942, he displayed works for the first time at the Salon des Indépendants. Three years later in 1945, Lorjou held his first solo exhibition in Paris at the Galerie du Bac. Less than a year later, the Galerie du Bac held an exhibition dedicated to the emerging style of “Expressionist” artists from different countries, featuring artists such as Soutine, Rouault, Goerg, Ensor, Beckman, and Lorjou.
In 1948, Lorjou was named co-recipient of the coveted Prix de la Critique award with Bernard Buffet. That same year, Lorjou formed the artistic group L’Homme Témoin with the art critic Jean Bouret to defend figurative painting. The group originally comprised 5 members and shortly thereafter expanded to include other artists, including Bernard Buffet, Jean Couty, Minaux, and Simone Dat. A photo of some of the group members can be found in the image bank above, with Bernard Buffet standing at the center and Bernard Lorjou seated to his left wearing glasses.
In 1950, Lorjou painted and exhibited a series of large format paintings inspired from current events, namely “L'Age Atomique,” today owned by the French Government and held at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. Over the next 10 years, Lorjou painted a series of widely acclaimed works now held by major museums worldwide.
In 1963, Lorjou rented a barge named La Touraine to navigate up and down the Seine River in Paris for 3 days. There were a number of politically-charge monumental paintings on display, including “La Mort de John XXIII,” “Grimau’s Blood,” and “July 14th.” Local authorities eventually stopped the barge. Photos of the barge exhibit are included in the photo bank above.
In 1965, Lorjou created woodblocks from his illustrations “Le Bestiaire ou Cortège d'Orphée” by Guillaume Apollinaire, which was published by Editions d’Auteuil and printed by Robert Blanchet in an edition of 230 copies.
Apollinaire was a highly original poet whose visual imagery with surrealist juxtapositions inspired many artists to illustrate his work, the most popular being Alcools, first published with a frontispiece by Pablo Picasso in 1913. A number of artists illustrated his Bestiaire. It is a collection of short poems, each representing the qualities of a particular animal. When first published, in 1911, it was illustrated with woodcuts by Raoul Dufy.
In 1968, his wife and companion of 40 years, Yvonne Mottet, passed away from leukemia. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s, Lorjou created iconic works and exhibited them throughout the globe. These included acclaimed exhibitions, such as “The Sharon Tate Assassination,” “Bullfights,” and “Lorjou in Private French Collections.”
In 1985, The Palais de l'Europe organized a retrospective on Lorjou. The same year, Lorjou organized his last exhibit in Paris with a series of tarps around the theme of AIDS. On January 26, 1986, the last day of his AIDS exhibit, Lorjou died of an asthma attack. Posthumous exhibits were held in Venezuela and Japan.