Artist: Bernard Lorjou French (1908-1986)
Title: Lorjou Exhibition 1957
Plate: ML. 03
Original Lithograph, backed on linen.
printed by Ateliers Mourlot in Paris 1957.
Special Provenance: This original exhibition poster was part of a complete set of 1950's and 60's Mourlot exhibition posters in covers purchased directly from the Mourlot family by Chris Yaneff (gallery founder) while travelling in France during the early 1970's.
Sheet Size: 21 in x 29 1/4 in 53.2 cm x 74.3 cm
"Any person who has not yet heard of this name should hasten to retain it to memory, for this man is probably the greatest painter of the 20th century." (Look magazine May 4th 1954)
Lorjou with his woodcut series "Le Bestaire" ©Frasnay, Archives B. Lorjou
"Many artists in Montparnasse and Montmartre regard [Lorjou] as the hero of modern painting. He regards Picasso as old-fashioned, and goes in for powerful ultra-modern paintings in brilliant colours, many above life-size." (l'Humanité magazine Oct 5th 1951)
The Rambouillet Massacres, Oil on canvas 1957.
Bernard Lorjou was born in 1908. Touring Spain in 1931, he was much struck by the works of Velasquez and Goya. In the years that followed, his painting was influenced by social and political events, and from 1938 to 1944, he painted the horrors of war. He was awarded the French Critics' prize in 1948, and began painting large-scale pictures on such subjects as big-game hunting, the nuclear age, the battle of Abadan, the plague in Beauce. The Wildenstein gallery in New York showed his work in 1954 ; the same year, he did his first bull-fight paintings and satirical drawings.
Lorjou in his Montemarte apartment. ©Frasnay, Archives B. Lorjou
In 1957, Lorjou showed his work "The Rambouillet Massacres" in a specially-built shed at the fun-fair at the Invalides in Paris ; in 1958 the shed was taken complete complete to Brussels for the Universal Exhibition. In 1960, Lorjou again showed at the Wildenstein and did his first satirical portraits of Kings and Heads of State, from Charlemagne to Charles de Gaulle. In 1963, works of his were shown on a barge which went throught Paris on the Seine ; in 1965 Lorjou was commissioned by the U.N.O. to design a set of posters on the theme : "fight hunger, win peace".
Lorjou continued until the end of his life to draw his themes from violent contemporary events ; in 1970 he painted the Sharon Tate murder, and Mishima's dead ; next came Kaboul and the rue Copernic. In 1982, he painted "Sabra" to protest again the palestinian massacres ; in 1985, he depicted the tragedy of A.I.D.S. Even if he did occasionally paint still-lives and other conventional subjects,
Lorjou always considered art as a means of protest, as a weapon again injustice and violence. His graphic output comprises some 100 lithographs, etchings, engravings, woodcuts and posters. His lithographs, printed at Mourlot's, he used as staring-points for arguments with his friends. In 1951, Lorjou illustrated Apollinaire's "Bestiaire" with 33 colour - woodcuts. Lorjou died in 1986. (michelfillion.com)
Fernand Mourlot (left) with Henri Matisse at Ateliers Mourlot, Paris
Ateliers Mourlot. In 1852, Francois Mourlot opened Ateliers Mourlot in Paris as a commercial print shop that primarily produced wallpaper. When Francois’s grandson Fernand Mourlot took over the shop in the 1920s, however, he converted it into a studio dedicated to the printing of illustrated books and lithographic posters. Though lithography had more or less gone out of style during the 19th century, Fernand brought it back with a single-mindedness that would change printmaking forever.
Over the next four decades, Fernand brought in the greatest Modernists of his day to produce color lithographs. French painters Maurice de Vlaminck and Maurice Utrillo were among the first to work with Mourlot, though it was not long before the atelier began to reach an even broader crowd including Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Henri Matisse, and Fernand Léger. Lithographs were conceived as announcements for exhibitions, ads for tourism or even illustrations for political events that were posted throughout the streets of Europe, and in windows of shops and cafés. (Artnet.com)