Bernard Lorjou

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Bernard Lorjou (September 9, 1908 – January 26, 1986) was a French painter of Expressionism and a founding member of the anti-abstract art Group "L'homme Témoin".

Bernard Lorjou
Born September 09, 1908
Blois, France
Died January 26, 1986
St. Denis-sur-Loire, France
Nationality French
Known for Painting, Drawing, Printmaking, Sculpture
Notable work The Wildcat Hunt (1948)
The Atomic Age (1949) The Massacres of Rambouillet (1957)
Movement Expressionism , Homme Temoin
Awards Prix de la Critique, 1948
First Prize at the Venice Biennial, 1952

Life and work[edit]

Lorjou was born in Blois, in the Loire et Cher department of France. Born to an impoverished family just before World War I, Lorjou was to receive the bulk of his education, as he put it, “in the streets.” At the age of 13, with his desire to learn to paint, he leaves his home for Paris. There, Lorjou lives through early years of hardship and often finds himself sleeping in metro and train stations while working without pay as an errand boy for a printing house. He eventually finds a position as a silk designer where he meets his future wife Yvonne Mottet, also an artist and painter. Lorjou finds success as a silk designer. Over the next 30 years, his designs not only adorn the bodies of many of the world's most prominent women but also provide him an income that allow him to paint on a full-time basis.

Lorjou exhibits for the first time at the Salon des Indépendents in 1928. During travels through Spain in 1931, he is stricken by the expressive strong styles of the artists El Greco, Velasquez, and most of all Goya. Inspired by Goya, Lorjou begins painting socio-political events. In 1948, he shares the Critic’s Award with Bernard Buffet. In the same year, Lorjou forms the art group “l’Homme Temoin[1] with art critic Jean Bouret by declaring that "man is an eater of red meat, fried potatoes, fruit and cheese".[2] The group bands together in an effort to defend figurative painting against the abstract movement and will eventually attract other painters such as Bernard Buffet, Jean Couty, André Minaux, Charazac, and Simone Dat.

Over the next 30 years Lorjou’s reputation as a painter becomes more established. His work and style go through a series of transformations, the only constants being the power of his images and the rich precision of his use of vibrant color. Lorjou is supported by prominent art figures like Georges Wildenstein and Domenica Walter, the widow of Paul Guillaume. Lorjou becomes known for his extravagant exhibits and combative spirit. His works are exhibited widely throughout the world, namely in France, the United States, and in Japan.

On January 26, 1986, at the age of 77, Lorjou dies from an acute asthma attack at his home in St. Denis sur Loire.

Lorjou’s body of work includes thousands of paintings, a collection wood engravings, ceramic and bronze sculptures, lithographs, illustrated books, socially oriented posters, stained glass windows, and murals.

Theme Exhibitions (Selection)[edit]

  • 1945 The Miracle of Lourdes
  • 1949 The Atomic Age
  • 1952 The Plague in Beauce
  • 1953 Morning of the Corronation
  • 1956 The Billy goat and the Harlequin
  • 1957 The Massacres of Rambouillet
  • 1958 The Novel of the Fox
  • 1959 The Insane's Ball
  • 1963 Floating Exhibition on Seine River
  • 1964 Blacks and Whites
  • 1965 Centaurs and Motorcycles
  • 1967 Famine in India
  • 1970 The Assassination of Sharon Tate
  • 1971 The Sacred Sex
  • 1971 The Death of Mishima
  • 1972 Burned Wood Sculptures
  • 1974 The Canard Enchainé Affair
  • 1975 The Circus of Violence
  • 1976 Bullfights, small formats
  • 1980 The Dog Eaters
  • 1985 AIDS

Commissioned Works[edit]

  • 1966 Ceiling of the African room at the Museum of Hunting and Nature, Paris
  • 1967 Series of sacred art murals titled "The Parables" in a Blois chapel commissioned by the Bishop of Blois
  • 1967 Civic Trophy commissioned by the Center for Civic Information
  • 1978 European Civic Trophy commissioned by the Center for Civic Information
  • 1984 Stained Glass Window for a chapel in Blois commissioned by the Bishop of Blois

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Osborne, Harold, editor. The Oxford C ompanion to Twentieth-Century Art. Oxford University Press. 1988
  2. ^
  • artnet
  • Bernard Lorjou on
  • Gerard, Georges. Lorjou, le peintre du siecle (Collection Les Temoins de l'histoire). France: Publisud, 1989.
  • Crespelle, J.P. “LORJOU, Dernier Grand de la Butte.” Montmartre Vivant. Ed. Hachette. France: Hachette, 1964. 249-273.

External links[edit]