Claude Venard (1913 – 1999) was born in 1913 into a business family from Burgogne. At the age of 17 he began to take evening classes in painting at the École des Arts Appliqués. After six years of conscientious study, however, he was forced to leave school in order to support himself. He spent 1936 working as a restorer at the Louvre Museum. This experience turned out to be beneficial in as much as it enabled the young artist to fill in the gaps which existed in his artistic education.
Abstract painting was the dominant trend in 1936. That same year a group show of young painters was organized by the Galerie Billet-Worms. This show led the critic Waldemar George to write: Let’s be young again! Painting is not dead. Its course has not stopped. Forces Nouvelles is born. The leading painters of the day, including Claude Venard, were assembled in this new movement which gave impetus to their cause.
Upon Venard’s release from the army at the end of World War II, his life was transformed. With recognition came the chance to put painting before all else. He remained faithful to a post-Cubist compositional style and progressively accentuated the chromatism of his pallet up to reaching the crudest of colors. These he used in very thick forms which he sometimes applied with a pallet knife. Venard’s career was punctuated by one-man shows in Paris, London, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dusseldorf, Munich, Buenos Aires, and Tokyo. He also exhibited in Canada, Belgium and Holland.
Venard loved life in all its aspects, and one is inclined to feel that he may have been in search of a genre of painting that would respond to even the most earthy of appetites. As he himself phrased it: We must be wary of works that seduce at first glance. By this I don’t mean to say that ugliness is the greatest of virtues – only that a work must inspire because of its own worth, without the intermediary of gracious artifices.
Work Available For Sale