French painter, graphic artist, and designer, born at Noyelles-sur-Sambre of a French father and Belgian mother. He had no formal training, but from 1910 he frequented artists' studios in Paris, meeting pupils of Matisse and getting advice from Le Fauconnier. Before the outbreak of the First World War he visited the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and England; he was impressed by contemporary Expressionism and also by the naturalism of the Old Masters of the Low Countries. He fought in the war and was wounded in 1916. His early work was influenced by Cézanne and the Fauves, but after the war he looked more to Léger, reducing his figures to bulky, simplified, rounded shapes. Later his style became looser and more expressionistic. He depicted a variety of subjects (although his main interest was in portraying the life of the people) and he did some of his best work as a decorative artist: with Jean Lurçat he was primarily responsible for the renaissance of French tapestry design in the 1930s. He also did a good deal of graphic work.
From A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art in Oxford Reference.