Michel de Sereville
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (July 2008)|
Michel de Séréville spent his childhood living between two different worlds: a medieval castle in a very remote area of Lorraine, lit by the soft presence of a grandmother, and an old family house “Lekueder” in the Basque Country region. His father was a colonel in the military regiment of “Cadre Noir”, and his mother was an artist and musician.
After studying architecture at the School of fine arts (l'École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts) in 1941, Michel de Séréville entered the world of the ballet dancing. Noticed by Alexandre Volinine of the Russian Ballet, the dancing partner of the famous Anna Pavlova, Séréville quickly became a professional dancer, dancing with the Great Ballet of the Marquis de Cuevas, the Modern Company of Ballet of Paris, and the Ballet of Dirck Sanders at the Comédie-Française.
In 1953, a leg accident put an end to his dancing career. Around this time Séréville also advanced into theater and cinema. In 1954 he enjoyed several small performances with Laurent Terzieff and Jean-Marie Serreau and with Roger Blin and Michel Lonsdale at the Theater of Babylon (Garcia Lorca play). He played also a role in the Normandie-Niemen movie.
All these years he was continuing his paintings and drawings. In 1956 he fully left all other activities behind, withdrawing to the loneliness of one of his workshop. In 1957 Séréville meets Henri Filipacchi who asks him to illustrate the covers of a new book collection: The Pocket Book (Livre de Poche).
The following years, more than four hundred covers and illustrations done by Séréville are published by famous publishing houses in France, including “Hachette”, “Plon”, “Fayard”, “La Table Ronde”, “JC Lattès”, and more. Over a period of 18 years, Michel de Séréville illustrated the works of Henri Troyat, Graham Greene, François Mauriac, Simone de Beauvoir, Alain Decaux, Maurice Druon (The Accursed Kings) and many others.
Significant exhibitions also included those: In 1966 in Kiev, on invitation of the famous Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, in 1968 in Moscow on invitation of the Ministry of Culture of the Soviet Union, and in 1970 in Leningrad, under the patronage of the famous Russian poet Andrey Voznesensky.
In 1971 in Paris, Séréville had an exhibition at the Gallery “Chaillot Galliera”. In 1973, a personal exhibition at the Galerie P.C.B., presented by Jacques Tati, was followed with another personal exhibition at the Festival du Marais, Gallery Charles V.
In 1975, Pierre Emmanuel, who was directing the just created National institute of the audio-visual, offered Séréville a retrospective personal exhibition of the totality of his illustrated work of the past 18 years in one edition. Alexandre Tarta make a TV special about the exhibition that is subsequently presented on French TV “Antenne 2”, as well as on Soviet television.
In 1975 Séréville decides to cease all illustrative work in order to devote himself entirely to painting. Séréville likes to paint the sea and the wind, the trees and the figures whose expressions of waiting seem to be asking the audience questions. Over the following years, he completes hundreds of paintings and shows them around the world: 1982 - Denver, Colorado, the USA, personal exhibition, Amparo Gallery; 1983-Koln, Germany, personal exhibition, Gallery of the Art schools; 1984 - Valbonne, personal exhibition, Festival of Sophia-Antipolis; 1986 - Brussels, personal exhibition, Gallery the Acute angle; 1987 - Netherlands, personal exhibition, Hillversum, Carleen Gallery;
In 1988, Michel de Séréville finally decides to present the totality of his work at the action house “Hotel Drouot”. A sale catalogue is also published at this time.
In 1989, he hosts exhibitions in Paris, Galerie Triangle, in 1995 in Denver, Colorado, the USA, in 1996 in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1997 in Pays Basque, in 1998 in Paris, Atelier of the Barn and permanent exhibition at the Gallery the Allies and in 1999 in Malaga, Spain, Galerie G. Van.
Michel de Séréville left us on February 23, 2006 and is buried in Mouguerre, in the Basque country that he liked so much.
His friend Nadine Puissesseau wrote:
“Serene and solitary Man, Séréville carries in him the audacity and the calm anguish of the pure ones. Artist who does not circle in front of the goddess “mode”, which malevolent not with skill on “why” of such harlequin paints like if, in front of us, it was of passage or such landscape, seized at the moment even where the man is elsewhere, Séréville apprehends the life through the filter which one does not dare any more to call the heart. Because here we are. The single offering that these brown make us, these pinks, these blue encircled of black is to revive in us the true emotions.”
See website on Michel de Séréville  in French