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Roger Chapelain, known as Chapelain-Midy was born on August 24, 1904 in Paris. Born as Chapelain, he will add the name of the second husband of his mother. His vocation as a painter is early. Very young, he went to the Louvre to copy the paintings of the great masters. In 1926, he enrols at the Colarossi Academy. Charles Picart-Ledoux is a teacher there and gives him friendly advices. In 1927, at age 19, he makes his first sending to the Salon d'Automne. He carries out advertising work for some income that allows him to ensure his daily life. He then exhibits at the Salon des Indépendants and at the Salon des Tuileries from 1929. It is in 1930 that he makes his first exhibition at the gallery Drouant, rue de Rennes in Paris. He wins the Prix des Muses, awarded by a jury of painters and writers, that allows him to discover the Italy of the Renaissance. Then he travels to Spain, Holland, Belgium and United Kingdom.
In 1934, the City of Paris and the French State made their first purchases, inaugurating a long series of acquisitions. In 1935 he exhibited at the Bernheim Gallery. He gets married that same year and settles rue Lhomond in the 5th arrondissement of Paris where he lived for the rest of his life.
In 1937, he exhibits at the Venice Biennale. He wins the Carnegie Award. He makes his first decorations: Théâtre du Palais de Chaillot, pavilion of Syria and Lebanon at the International Exhibition with Jean Picard Ledoux. He is considered as one of the young painters from the French tradition and on whom all hope is based. From that year, foreign museums buy his works. His painting represents abroad the contemporary French figurative school.
In 1938, he obtained in Pittsburgh with Marquet and Utrillo, one of the Carnegie awards.
In 1939, he makes a special exhibition at the Montaigne gallery. An exhibition having been organized at the Amigos del Arte Gallery in Buenos Aires is the occasion of a long trip to Argentina, a source of inspiration.
In 1948, invited by the Egyptian government, he teaches at the School of Fine Arts in Cairo, exhibiting in Cairo and Alexandria and visiting Egypt. In 1950, he exhibits at the Institute of French Art in London, in 1954 at the Wildenstein Gallery in New York.
He exhibits annually at the Charpentier Gallery between 1954 and 1958.
In 1951 he is part of the Cannes Film Festival jury with Jean Cocteau and Fernand Léger.
Professor at the Ecole des Arts décoratifs in Paris, he is appointed in 1955 foreman at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
In 1961, the biennale of Sao Paulo dedicates a room where he presents all his models of costumes and receives the Grand Prize of the Theater. Travel keeps punctuating his work. He participates in multiple group exhibitions in museums and galleries.
The Grand Prize of the theater is awarded to him at the international biennial of Sao Paulo in 1962.
Wall decorator of talent, it completes between 1942 and 1974 the decoration of several steamers such as France, Provence, Brittany, Compiègne; but also the Palace of Congress of Versailles, the faculties of science of Rennes and Paris, and many more. In this period, numerous sets and costumes are commissioned for the Paris Opera (Les Indes galantes by Rameau (1952), The Magic Flute of Mozart (1954), the Sarah Bernhardt Theater, the Comic Opera, the Comedy French, the Cologne Opera.
A first retrospective takes place at the Museum of Fine Arts in Bordeaux in 1965 and others follow until 1987.
He also owes illustrations including Giraudoux, Gide, Baudelaire, Fontenelle, Simenon, Jean de La Fontaine and Charles Vidrac. He designs several stamps for the PTT, including "The Fire Dancer" in 1979 and "Louis Jouvet" in 1981. A Portrait of General de Gaulle is commissioned in 1981 by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing for the Elysée Palace.
He publishs in Gallimard in 1984 a collection of memories and reflections on art: "Like the sand between the fingers" and obtains for this book the Eugène Delacroix prize of the French Academy.
Officer of the Legion of Honor. Commander of Arts and Letters.
Roger Chapelain-Midy dies in Paris on March 30, 1992. He is buried in Nancray-sur-Rimarde.
Prizes - Awards
1930 Prix des Muses
1938 Prix Carnegie
1952 Prix de l'Île-de-France
1953 Prix de la biennale de Menton
1955 Grand prix de la ville de Paris
1962 Grand prix du théâtre de la biennale de São Paulo
Musée national d'art moderne (Centre Georges Pompidou)
Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris
Musée de Birmingham
Musée de Bordeaux
Musée de Bruxelles
Musée de Buenos Aires
Musée du Caire
Musée de Cambrai
Musée de Dijon
Musée de Dreux
Musée de Fontainebleau
Musée de La Rochelle
Musée de La Tronche
Musée de Londres
Musée de Lyon
Musée du Mans
Musée de Menton
Musée de Remiremont
Musée de Rouen
Musée de Saintes
Musée de Saint-Etienne
Musée de San Francisco
Musée de Saô Paulo
Musée de Sofia