Charles Lapicque – (Thezé 1898 – Orsay 1988)
The French marine painter. Charles Lapicque was born on October 6, 1898 in Theizé (Département Rhône). He spent his childhood in Epinal and visited Brittany (near Paimpol) for the first time in 1900, returning every summer for many years. He learned to play piano and violin. Beginning in 1909, Lapicque lived in Paris.
During the First World War, he fought in the artillery and received the “Croix de Guerre” in 1918. In the following year, he entered the École centrale des arts et manufactures academy in Paris and completed his training as an engineer here. However, he felt strongly drawn to art and dedicated himself to it on the weekends in particular. The artist painted his first landscape in the vicinity of Caen in 1920. Charles Lapicque continued to study as an autodidact in 1928. He turned to painting, printing techniques, and sculpture.
The artist’s first individual exhibition already took place in 1929 at the Gallery Jeanne Bucher. In addition to his main job as an engineer, the artist also visited museums and antique dealers and dedicated himself to illumination, tapestry, and enamel work. In 1935, Lapicque first met Gabriel Marcel (1889 – 1973) and, as a result, Jean Wahl (1888 – 1974). The acquaintance with the two philosophers formed the beginning of the philosophical and esthetic observations by the artist.
In 1937, he received the commission to create five large wall designs for the Palais de la Découvert in Paris. One of these (“La synthèse organique”) won him the medal of honor from the 1937 Paris World Exhibition. In 1941, Lapicque participated in the group exhibition “Vingt jeunes peintres de tradition francais” by Jean Bazaine (1904 – 2001). This was the first event of painting from the modern age under the German occupation. Two years later, the artist visited Brittany again.
Charles Lapicque was only able to give up his job as an engineer through a contract with the Gallery Louis Carré in 1943. From that time on, he dedicated himself completely to art and created many works with the liberation of Paris as their theme. He also travelled to Brittany in 1945. The artist received the “Prix Raoul Dufy” of the Biennial of Venice in 1953. In the following years, Lapicque travelled to Venice four times and painted the villas, their gardens and inside furnishings, as well as the gables and facades of the churches.
In addition, he also went on trips to Rome (1957), Greece (1963), Spain (1973), Holland (1974), Vézelay (1975), the castles of the Loire (1976), and Aix-en-Provence (1979). In the treatise “Essais sur l’espace, l’art et la destinée”, which was published in 1958, Lapicque formulated the theory of his artistic works. Between 1969 and 1972, he produced sculptures of metal and plastic, as well as tapestries and many engravings and lithographs. In 1979, the artist was awarded the “Grand prix national de peinture”. Charles Lapicque died on July 15, 1988 in Orsay (near Paris).