Camille Clovis Trouille was born on 24 October 1889, in La Fère, France. He worked as a restorer and decorator of department store mannequins, but is remembered as a Sunday painter who trained at the École des Beaux-Arts of Amiens from 1905 to 1910. He died on 24 September 1975 in Paris.
- His service in World War I gave him a lifelong hatred of the military, expressed in his first major painting Remembrance (1931). The painting depicts a pair of wraith-like soldiers clutching white rabbits, an airborne female contortionist throwing a handful of medals, and the whole scene being blessed by a cross-dressing cardinal.
This contempt for the Church as a corrupt institution provided Trouille with the inspiration for decades of work:
- Dialogue at the Carmel (1944) shows a skull wearing a crown of thorns being used as an ornament.
- The Mummy shows a mummified woman coming to life as a result of a shaft of light falling on a large bust of André Breton.
- The Magician (1944) has a self-portrait satisfying a group of swooning women with a wave of his magician's wand.
- My Tomb (1947) shows Trouille's tomb as a focal point of corruption and depravity in a graveyard.
- Trouille's other common subjects were sex, as shown in Lust (1959), a portrait of the Marquis de Sade sitting in the foreground of a landscape decorated with a tableau of various perversions, and a "madly egoistic bravado" employed in a self-mocking style.
- His 1946 portrait of a reclining nude shown from behind entitled Oh! Calcutta, Calcutta! - a pun in French - was chosen as the title for the 1969 musical revue. (The French phrase "oh quel cul t'as" translates roughly as "oh what a lovely ass you have".)
After his work was seen by Louis Aragon and Salvador Dalí, Trouille was declared a Surrealist by André Breton - a label Trouille accepted only as a way of gaining exposure, not having any real sympathy with that movement.
The simple style and lurid colouring of Trouille's paintings echo the lithographic posters used in advertising in the first half of the 20th century.
- Parcours à travers l'œuvre de Clovis Trouille 1889 - 1975 Clovis Prévost, Actes Sud - Edition Bernard Légier ISBN 2-7427-4476-2
- Clovis Trouille Jean-Marc Campagne Jean-Jacques Pauvert, Parution : 1965
Correspondance à Maurice Rapin
Éditeur: Didier Devillez
Avant-gardes / Littérature / Beaux-arts / 2001
Format: 22 x 15 cm / Broché / 128 pages / Langue: Français
de Clovis Trouille, Gérard Lattier
Langue: Français Éditeur : Actes Sud (1 mars 2004)
Format : Broché - 44 pages
- Fabrice Flahutez, Sylvie Couderc, Clovis Trouille: Un peintre libre et iconoclaste, éd. Musée de Picardie / Amiens Métropôple, 2007.
Langue: Français Éditeur : (mai 2007)
- Clovis Trouille
- "Under the Influence: The Sexy, Sordid Surrealism of Clovis Trouille" by Kirsten Anderson
- Two works ("The Magician" and "Les joueuses de cartes") not shown in the "Galerie" at the official Clovis Trouille site. Scroll about two-thirds of the way down the page.