Albert DECARIS (1901-1988): Living-room, pencil drawing, circa 1935


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Albert DECARIS (1901-1988) : Living-room, maybe from an Ocean liner ('Normandie', 'Pasteur' ?). Pencil drawing on thick paper, not signed. From the Atelier.

circa 1935

Dimensions : 65 x 50 cm - 25 1/2 x 19 5/8 in


Decaris designed the two French Post stamps of the Normandie (1936) and Pasteur (1941) ocean liners, this scene illustrates possibly one of them.


BENEZIT: Dictionnaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs. Paris. Gründ. 1999. Vol.4, p.328a.
Isabel BOUSSARD-DECARIS & Jean-Marc BOUSSARD: Decaris le Singulier. Ollioules. Les Editions de la Nerthe. 2005.

Albert DECARIS (1901-1988) Albert DECARIS (1901-1988):
One of France's foremost engravers of the twentieth century, Albert Decaris is born in Normandy in Sotteville-les-Rouen in 1901. He began his formal art studies at the age of fourteen at the Ecole Estienne. Four years later he was accepted into the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts), Paris, and studied in the studios of Cormon and Laguillermie. Within six months Decaris had won the Premier Grand Prix de Rome of engraving (1919) and became the youngest student ever to win this prestigious honor for his work 'Eve before the sin'.
Decaris thus journeyed to Rome where he worked and lived at the Villa Medici. Unfortunately he contacted malaria on a journey to Paestum and was critically ill for a period of one year. Upon his recovery Albert Decaris was 'rewarded' with a two year mandatory service in the French military. After this he concluded his fellowship in Rome and then returned to Paris. He first worked upon a series of engravings of Belgian subjects which he submitted to the Paris Salon. These works received the Salon's Medaille d'Argent (Silver Medal). It was the first time in the Salon's long history that an artist had received this major medal with his premiere presentation.
During the following years Albert Decaris created a major oeuvre of original engravings and etchings, both as individual plates and as illustrations for livres d'artistes. In the first category, he began with big engravings inspired by his classic souvenirs, mythological scenes like Leda and the Swan, The Rape of Europe, Pasiphae, etc. In the latter category he illustrated such magnificent books as Shakespeare's, Macbeth (1930), Cathlin's, Le Sommeil d'Endymion (1934), Milton's, Samson Agonistes (1939), Chenier's, Eglogues (1945), Henriot's, Mythologie des Anciens Grecs et Romains (1955), Corneille's Theater (1955-1961), Emile Henriot, Les Trophees (1967) and Eschyle, Tragedies, under the direction of Mario Vincent (1975-1977).
One of Decaris's greatest illustrated books is Pierre de Ronsard's, Discours des Miseres de ce Temps, which was published in Paris in 1930. Consisting of three large volumes, Decaris created forty-five engravings which were published in an edition of 359. As well, Decaris selected some of the plates to be printed separately in a limited edition of one hundred signed impressions. Such is the case with Ronsard, which probably served as the frontis-piece to the above named volume.
He illustrated around 200 books, especially Ronsard, Shakespeare, La Rochefoucauld, Chateaubriand, Vigny, Montherlant, Claudel, Giono...
He collaborated to the Art-Deco International Exhibition of 1937 in Paris where he realized 300 square meters of paintings and to the International Exhibition of New York in 1938 for which he did a huge painting 'The Plague'. He did huge frescoes for the monumental stairs of the City Hall of Vesoul and for other monuments, churches and chapels.
Between 1935 and 1985 Albert Decaris created more than six hundred stamps for France (174) and its territories, Monaco, Andorra, Tunisia, etc. Held in equally high esteem for his architectural, historical, landscape, portrait and figurative engravings, he became a full member of the Academie des Beaux-arts in 1943 and was nominated its President in 1960 an re-elected four times. In 1962 Decaris was named the official painter of the Marine Francaise (Navy).
His style, ample, classic and marked with archaism of his engraving work can be also find in the severe disposition of his drawings and paintings.

BOUSSARD-DECARIS, Isabelle (his daughter): Decaris le singulier. Ollioules. Editions de la Nerthe. 2005.
Albert DECARIS, retrospective. Paris. Musée de le Poste. 1981.
Engravings by Albert DECARIS. Allentown Art Museum. 1968.
DECARIS, Albert: Portrait de A.DECARIS par lui-même. Editions Manuel Bruker. 1953. (Coll. Les Maîtres de la gravure contemporaine).
CHAMBERLAIN, Samuel: “Decaris, Master of Black and White” in: W. P. Truesdell (ed.), The Print Connoisseur, Vol.X, No.3, July 1930, Champlain, NY, pp. 221 - 242.

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