Jacques Villon


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(b Damville, Normandy, 31 July 1875; d Puteaux, nr. Paris, 9 June 1963).

French painter and graphic artist, the elder brother of Marcel Duchamp and Raymond Duchamp-Villon. His original name was Gaston Duchamp, but he changed it in 1895 because of his admiration for the 15th-century poet François Villon. In 1894 he began studying law in Paris, but he soon abandoned it for art, initially earning his living mainly as a newspaper illustrator. In 1911 he started to experiment with Cubism, and the following year he was one of the founders of the Section d'Or group. After the First World War he began painting geometrical abstracts, but in the 1920s he earned his living mainly as a printmaker (he was an expert etcher). In 1921 he had a one-man exhibition at the Société Anonyme, New York, and for most of the interwar period he was probably better known in the USA than in Europe. During this time he alternated between abstraction and a highly schematized type of figuration. After the Second World War he enjoyed substantially greater recognition than in the earlier part of his career, winning the Grand Prize for Painting at the Venice Biennale in 1958, when he was in his eighties. In 1955 he designed stained-glass windows for Metz Cathedral.

Subjects: Art.

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