Lucien Coutaud – How he loved the twilight

coutaudLucien Coutaud was a French surrealist painter and engraver who was born on 13th December, 1904, in Meynes, Gard, France.  He had 40+ years success with his artwork which has varied widely from painting, drawing, print-making, costume designing and illustrating over his vast career. In his lifetime, he has created over 1,550 paintings, 150 etchings, 17 stage sets and 29 tapestry designs. Coutaud has also designed opera, theater and ballet sets and contributed illustrations to many books including Gilbert Lély’s Ma Civilization (1947).  Some of his personal accolades include:

  • In March, 1934, Coutaud exhibited a series of gouaches and drawings, at the Galerie Vignon (Paris) led by Marie Cuttoli.
  • In 1935, he met Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso in Antibes.
  • On April 7, 1936, he married Denise Bernollin, a Parisian artist whom he had known for six years.
  • In November, 1936, Galerie Jeanne Bucher- Myrbor holds a special Coutaud exhibition.
  • By 1937, he began a huge mural “The myth of Proserpina” for the Palais de la Découverte (which was subsequently destroyed in August 1944, during the bombing of Paris).
  • In 1941, he participated in the exhibition “Twenty young painters of French tradition” at the Braune Gallery.
  • In 1943, he designed the sets and costumes of “Soulier de Satin” by Paul Claudel, directed by Jean- Louis Barrault.
  • In August, 1947, he went to Lacoste to admire and draw the ruins of the castle of the Marquis de Sade.
  • In 1952, he participated in Saarbrücken in the “Surreal Painting in Europe” exhibition organized by Edgar Jene.
  • In 1953, he designed the sets and costumes for “Medea” performed by Maria Callas and directed by André Barsacq.
  • In 1954, he composed “Aqua”, a tapestry cartoon for the French Chambre Syndicale Industry.
  • In 1955, he created sets and costumes for “Proteus” by Paul Claudel.
  • In 1963, he went to Japan where he exhibited at the Galerie Nichido Tokyo, a set of paintings and gouaches from 1957-1963, then presented further exhibitions in the towns of Osaka and Nagoya.
  • In 1972, Coutaud helps with the sets and costumes for “Socrates” by Erik Satie at the Opéra de Marseille.

Lucien Coutaud died in Paris at the age of 72, on June 21, 1977.  According to his wishes, he was buried with his mother in the little cemetery at Meynes, Gard, France – which shows – “What Goes Around; Comes Around”.

  • Image above is Crepuscule (Litho, 540x 760), which translates as “The time of the day which equals sunset”.  Let’s face it,  it could have been  either a great sunrise – or a great sunset.

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