French painter of still lifes of flowers, landscapes and figure compositions inspired by classical history or mythology; one of the so-called 'modern primitives'. Born at Châteaurenault (Indre-et-Loire), where his father was a market gardener, mother a seamstress. Worked as a market gardener until 1914, reading books on classical history in his spare time. During his war service 1914-19 was posted to the Greek island of Moudros and to Salonika, and was afterwards trained as a map-maker. After demobilisation, aged forty-six, returned to Châteaurenault to devote himself to painting. Exhibited for the first time at the Salon d'Automne in 1921 and was created a Sociétaire of the Salon. Encouraged from 1922 by Le Corbusier. Had his first one-man exhibition at the Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris, in 1927, and in 1928 was commissioned by Diaghilev to design sets and costumes for the ballet Apollon Musagète, to music by Stravinsky. In his last years received commissions to design tapestries for the Beauvais and Gobelins tapestry works. Died at Montoire (Loir-et-Cher).
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.33