Henri Landier, a life of freedom at the end of the brushes

For his 70th anniversary of creation, painter-engraver Henri Landier, aged 86, opened his studio to the public from May 12 to June 26 with a retrospective of his dantesque production, in the glittering colors. To discover at 1 rue Tourlaque, a few steps from the former Toulouse-Lautrec workshop.

In Paris, some districts like Montparnasse or Montmartre are heard of the names of famous artists who are tirelessly celebrated in museums and collections around the world. In the south, Giorgio de Chirico, Amedeo Modigliani, Vassili Kandinsky, Max Ernst, Joan Miró and Alberto Giacometti. To the north, Edgar Degas, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali… created the myth of the bohemian artist who loved the hill. And it was a stone’s throw from the former wall of one of them and not the least, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, at 1 rue Tourlaque to be precise, that we found the last large studio of the independent artist. , still alive, open to the public: that of the painter-engraver Henri Landier.

Clever as well as rebellious, the artist was at the forefront of an abundant artistic production, consisting of more than 5,000 paintings and 2,000 sculptures, which he forced himself into his large studio on the hill. Involved in artistic work, Henri Landier has worked from morning to night for seven decades, observing and interpreting the world around him with innocence as depth. Far from the dictates of the white cube, these art galleries with impersonal white walls, he maintained a privileged connection with his public and his collectors, outside of conventions.

Henri Landier in his studio, 2022.

Free and rebellious, Landier arrived in Montmartre very early, at nearly seventeen, to conquer the world of painting. He then painted a Paris with black colors but couldn’t manage. Poor and bohemian as dictated by local tradition, he started a few years in the navy with the merchants and rekindled an unconditional love of the sea, and a glittering palette that he now carries according to his creatures.

Enthusiastic about travel and discovery, the hill lover then painted the district with cabarets, movies and celebrities, also crossing Brassens, Michou or Ferré where he camped in paintings, painted and sculpted photographs. An observer of his time, Henri Landier endeavored to document the artistic dormitory towns such as Chanteloup-les-Vignes as well as the regions of Europe that attracted him. Thus, he spent more than thirty years capturing the soul of Venice between sculptures, drawings and masterful watercolors, from shades of red ocher to powder pink. A vibrant Venice, full of buildings, and inhabited by gondoliers and walkers. Then the artist’s eye remains on Tuscan scenes with la dolce vita. Or in Brittany and its maritime landscapes where the waves are sometimes reminiscent of the warmth of a Hokusai. Henri Landier also turned to other countries: European cities such as Prague, whose light intensity he got, or Maastricht, whose warm and bright carnival atmosphere he well expressed. And other European countries are still nurturing its creation: from London to Jena, from Cyprus to Gibraltar, from Edinburgh to Lausanne …

The white wave, oil, 2020. © Henri Landier

Bulimic, Landier continues his artistic quest through a series of self-portraits and images of celebrities and strangers, women and musicians. Here, a clown with a weak vision, there, a violinist with a romantic charm and moreover, a woman naked in warm colors on a background full of patterns set- is in. throughout. Sometimes there is a lot of motive, sometimes it calms down behind smiling people whose vision is sometimes peaceful, sometimes “not quiet”; or it takes the form of abstract geometries and disappears in a minimalist move.

In Landier’s studio, we heard melodies jazzy running on large living canvases, among the musicians and their colorful instruments. Then come the living ones and the clusters of parma or yellow flowers, which are almost astonished at the scent. Landier’s universe is full of vitality, and it is itself a testament to a rich and diverse life that the artist offers us with a choice of a hundred works, between etching, aquatints, drawings and wool. . The installation also features the hand presses that the artist frequently uses. And when we finally leave the Montmartre studio of the octogenarian artist, we have the impression of bringing with us a piece of his full life and traveling far beyond the hill of artists. “I am so I paint. I am in painting, I am Painting ”, he said and we could easily believe him.

Goodbye Montmartre, wool, 1954. © Henri Landier

Contact> Henri Landier: 70 years of dantesque travel and creativity !, from May 12 to June 26, 2022, at L’Atelier d’art Lepic, 1 rue Tourlaque, 75018 Paris. Open from 2 pm to 7 pm except Mondays. Free admission and for all public.

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