Claude Venard

Nationality: French
Dates: 1913-1999
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Claude Venard decided to become a painter when he was only 17 years old. To pursue his dream, he signed up at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (which he fled after only 48 hours!), and subsequently at the Ecole des Arts Appliqués. However, after six years of conscientious study, he was forced, in order to support himself, to spend most of 1936 working as a restorer at the Louvre Museum. This experience, however, turned out to be beneficial in as much as it enabled the young artist to fill the gaps still existing in his artistic education.

Since 1935, Venard’s name figured in contemporary art exhibitions, both in France and abroad. Before he first exhibited at the Salon de Main in Paris, he had contributed to other shows organized by the important group of Forces Nouvelles, along with Roger Humblot, Francis Gruber, André Marchand, and Pierre Tal-Coat. The harsh trends followed by this group, however, did not suit Venard any more than they did Marchand and several others, so that the very same artists who had given luster to the Forces Nouvelles left it to its own resources.

Upon Venard’s release from the army, at the end of World War II, his life was transformed. With recognition came the chance to put painting before all else. In 1945, through his continued friendship with Gruber and Marchand, Venard shared mutual success. He remained faithful to a post-Cubist compositional style and progressively developed the chromatism of his pallet to reaching the crudest of colors, which he used in very thick forms and sometime applied with a pallet knife.

Venard’s career was a happy one, punctuated by one-man shows in Paris, London, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dusseldorf, Munich, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Canada, Belgium and Holland. The artist loved life in all its aspects and one is inclined to feel that he may have been in search of a genre of painting that that would respond to even the earthiest appetites. As he himself phrased it:

"We must be wary of works that seduce at first glance. By this I don’t mean to say that ugliness is the greatest of virtues only that a work must inspire because of its own worth, without the intermediary of gracious artifices."

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