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GEN PAUL Eugène-Paul
(1895-1975)
Eugène-Paul GEN PAUL - Detailed biography

 

Gen Paul was born on July 2, 1895 in Montmartre, Paris. In 1911, he becomes an apprentice upholsterer and takes night classes in drawing after his work. Injured during the First World War, he has his right leg amputated, thus demobilized, in 1916. He returns to Paris decorated under the Légion d’Honneur.

Unable to return to his work, he paints his first painting, Le Moulin de la Galette. During this period, Gen Paul becomes friends with Juan Gris, Vlaminck, Derain, and above all with Maurice Utrillo. Around 1923 he discovers the circus and paints his first clown portraits, a subject he will hold close all his life, just as the musicians he meets will remain a principle source of inspiration. A few years later give rise to a gestural painting with dynamic brushstrokes that announces the artist’s second period. 1925 marks the year of his voyage to Spain, where he seeks out museums and expositions, and is forever influenced by Velasquez, Le Greco, and above all Goya.

In 1932 Gen Paul meets Louis-Ferdinand Céline, who came to know an enormous success with his first novel, Journey to the End of the Night. Céline quickly becomes one of his closest friends that he will value particularly for his mind and talent. In 1942, Gen Paul illustrates Céline’s Journey to the End of the Night and Death on Credit. At the start of the 1950s, he meets Django Reinardt and Sydney Bechet, who very quickly become his friends, and for him one of the great encounters of his life.

In 1964 he falls victim to a constitution that no longer permitted him to paint with oils, at which point he takes to bed and works from his bed. He devotes himself to the production of drawings and gouaches that constitutes the last great phase of his expressionism of movement. On April 30, 1975, Gen Paul dies of stomach cancer.