French painter, sculptor, lithographer and writer. Born at Le Havre. Moved to Paris in 1918 to study painting; attended the Académie Julian for six months and then began to paint on his own. Doubting the value of art and culture, stopped painting altogether 1924-33 and entered the wine trade. Made a second abortive attempt at painting 1933-7, also making masks and puppets. Began painting again in 1942 and had his first one-man exhibition at the Galerie René Drouin, Paris, in 1944. Made paintings of Parisian street scenes, people in the Metro, jazz musicians, portraits of friends, etc., with humorous, ironic imagery executed in a grotesque style akin to naive graffiti. Formed a collection of Art Brut, the art of primitive societies and the insane, and in 1949 published an essay L'Art Brut préferé aux Arts Culturels. Developed through a succession of phases, such as paintings executed with thick paste in heavily-textured relief, imprint assemblages and painting assemblages, 'Texturologies', etc. Themes drawn sometimes from Paris, sometimes from the countryside. Has spent much time since 1955 at Vence. 1962-74 preoccupied with an extensive series called 'Hourloupe', including not only paintings but painted sculptures and three-dimensional works in polyester resin or epoxy, 'Praticables' etc. Lives in Vence and Paris.
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, pp.179-80