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Jean Rustin

(b. 1928)


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(1928– )

French painter, born in Montigny-lès-Metz. After the Second World War he settled in Paris, where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, 1947–53, and built up a successful career as an abstract painter, culminating in a retrospective at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1971. However, he then changed direction dramatically and began producing bleak and disturbing figurative works, typically showing aged, decrepit nudes—men and women—in bare, cell-like rooms. Their odd proportions have much to do with the disquieting animal-like quality. Rustin especially tends to paint the nostrils too high, leaving too much distance between nose and mouth. They are sometimes compared with Francis Bacon's paintings, but Rustin's vision—though just as despairing—is much quieter. He has stated that his essential subject as an artist is solitude and he relates this to political disillusion. He told an interviewer: ‘Once I believed in socialism, that there was going to be a revolution and everyone was going to be happy. That started to change when the Russians invaded Hungary in 1956.’

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/1980866.stm J. Toledo, ‘Jean Rustin's artistic solitude’, on BBC website.

Subjects: Art.


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