Jacques Villon ~ Noblesse

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  • Jacques Villon ~ Noblesse alternative image

Jacques Villon (1875-1963)
1952 (after original painting 1921)
Screenprint (Pochoir) in six colours
'E.A' (Épreuve d'Artiste / Artist’s proof)
Signed 'Jacques Villon'
11 x 7.5 ins / 28.5 x 19 cms
Paper size 12 x 9 ins / 30.5 x 23.5 cms
Published in a limited edition by éditions Art d’Aujourd’hui, France


Additional Information

Jacques Villon, also known as Gaston Duchamp, was born Émile Méry Frédéric Gaston Duchamp on 31st July 1875. He was a French Cubist and Abstract painter and printmaker.

Jacques Villon was the elder brother of Raymond Duchamp-Villon (1876-1918), Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) and Suzanne Duchamp-Crotti (1889-1963). To distinguish himself from his siblings, he adopted the pseudonym of Jacques Villon as a tribute to the French medieval poet François Villon.

In 1894 Villon moved to Montmartre, Paris with his brother Raymond. Villon initially studied law at the University of Paris - but soon lost interest in the pursuit of a legal career, and for the next 10 years worked as an illustrator for the Parisian newspapers, most notably the satirical weekly 'Le Courrier Français’.

In 1903 Villon helped organize the drawing section of the first Salon d'Automne in Paris and in 1904 he enrolled at The Académie Julian, Paris - a private art school for painting and sculpture, founded in 1867 by French painter and teacher Rodolphe Julian.

Villon's early influences were Edgar Degas and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, but by the early 1900s Villon was associating himself with the Fauvist and Cubist (and later, with the Abstract Impressionist) movements of the day.

In 1906, Villon moved to Puteaux in the quiet outskirts of Paris where he devoted more of his time to working in drypoint printmaking - often working closely with fellow printmaker Manuel Robbe (1872-1936). His isolation from the vibrant art community in Montmartre, together with his modest nature, ensured that he and his artwork remained obscure for a number of years.

In 1911, he and his brothers Raymond and Marcel organized a regular discussion group with artists and critics such as Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Francis Picabia, Robert Delaunay, Fernand Léger and others that soon became known as the 'Puteaux Group' (or the 'Section d’Or') - Villon was instrumental in having the group exhibit under the name Section d'Or after the golden section of classical mathematics. Their first show, 'Salon de la Section d’Or', was held at the Galerie La Boétie in October 1912, involved more than 200 works by 31 artists.

In 1913, Villon exhibited at the Armory Show in New York City, helping introduce European modern art to the United States. His works proved popular and all his art sold. From there, his reputation expanded so that by the 1930s he was better known in the United States than in Europe.

An exhibition of Jacques Villon's work was held in Paris in 1944 at the Galerie Louis Carré, following which he received honors at a number of international exhibitions. In 1955 he was commissioned to design stained-glass windows for the cathedral at Metz, France. In 1956 he was awarded the Grand Prix at the Venice Biennale exhibition.

Jacques Villon died at his studio at Puteaux on 9th June 1963, aged 87

In 1967, his last surviving artist brother Marcel helped organize the exhibition 'Les Duchamp: Jacques Villon, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Marcel Duchamp, Suzanne Duchamp' in Rouen. The exhibition was later shown at the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris.

Works by Jacques Villon are held in many collections around the world. Most notably, the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris and Musée Jenisch, Switzerland.