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Albert André

French (1869-1954)

Albert Andre, the well known Post-Impressionist artist and painter of ‘intimiste’ interiors, still lifes and Parisian scenes, was born in Lyon in 1869. André spent his childhood vacations in Laudun where his family owned vineyards. Aged 20 he left for Paris where he studied painting at the Académie Julian. On the same course were Louis Valtat, Maurice Denis and Pierre Bonnard, and like them he began painting in a Post-Impressionist manner, using the colours, light and subject matter of the mainstream Impressionists but adding more expression and design. As early as 1894 André participated in the Salon des Indépendants where his five canvases won the admiration of August Renoir and were bought by the extremely famous and influential art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel. From 1895 to 1901, he showed at a number of salons such as the Salon des Cent, the Salon des Indépendants, and the Exposition d’Art Nouveau. In 1904, he participated in the Salon de la Libre Esthétique in Brussels then, on the invitation of Paul Signac, in the Salon d’Automne. The Durand-Ruel gallery showed his works in one-man show, a particular honour. Then in 1912, Albert André’s works were exhibited in New York and in 1913, he was one of the painters chosen to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Libre Esthétique in Brussels, on the theme of an interpretation of southern France. The town of Laudun was always an inspiration for him, he painted mainly in his workshop directly from memory, as did his impressionist friends. After the First World War, he returned to Laudun where he took charge of the museum of Bagnols-sur-Cèze, encouraged by Renoir. He was conservator from 1917 to 1954.  In 1918, he wrote a monograph on Renoir, the only one written by a Frenchman during Renoir’s life. He went on to organize a retrospective of Renoir’s work in 1921, three years after the master’s death, at the Durand-Ruel gallery. In 1923, after a fire damaged the museum of Bagnols-sur-Cèze, André’s friends Bonnard, Elie Faure, Durand-Ruel, Monat, Marquet, Signac, and Valtat offered him works for his ‘Museum of empty walls’. It was in his family home that he received his friends, including Cézanne. He returned to Paris in 1947 where he died on July 11, 1954 at 85 years old, just before the opening of an exhibition of his works at the museum of Avignon. The Salon d’Automne organized a retrospective of his works the following year. The works of Albert André are represented in many important museums, including the Modern Art Museum of New York, the Chicago Art Institute, the museums in Philadelphia and Washington DC, and the Musee D’Orsay in Paris.

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