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Pierre Girieud was born in 1876 at no 14 rue de Marseille in Paris, to Jeanne Rosalie Bernard and Joseph Gustave Girieud, civil engineer. He spent his early youth in the Alpes de Haute-Provence, a region where his family was born, before settling in Montmartre in 1900 where he practiced painting as an autodidact while attending Picasso, Villon, Marquet, Puy, Manguin and Camoin .
A great admirer of Gauguin whom he discovered in 1901 through his friend Durrio, a ceramist and silversmith who worked alongside the artist, Girieud painted according to the Nabis precepts: he refused the traditional perspective in favor of large flat areas; he surrounds the stylized shapes in black to bring out their quintessence; he uses unnatural colors to increase the decorative effect. He completes the extreme stripping of his works with an exacerbated symbolism.
A personal interpretation appears despite everything because it translates the sensations thanks to the play of color and composition. He introduces his own primitivism through naive images, stained glass windows and hieratic figures.
Throughout its development, it will keep a rule dear to Gauguin: solidly structure the painting by drawing. Girieud cannot realize his dream of joining Gauguin in the islands and must be satisfied with a pilgrimage to Brittany. On the occasion of the Gauguin retrospective in 1906, he painted the Master in a composition inspired by the Last Supper in which Gauguin shared a meal with his disciples: Homage to Gauguin.
After exhibiting with Maillol in 1901, he began the following year at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris and very early on played an important role among artists in revolt against official art and Impressionism, perceived as a dead end.
He thus adhered to Fauvism and participated in the historic Salon d'Automne in 1905, where he exhibited five paintings in room No. VII of qualified Fauve artists. He also shows his works at the Berthe Weil gallery along with Metzinger, Fornerod and Friesz. In Russia, he participates in the Salon de la Toison d'Or.
“ While Flandrin, Marquet, Dufrénoy, Puy, Laprade, Manguin, Friesz were becoming famous, Matisse illustrious, Pierre Girieud, their comrade, their equal, remained isolated. We were not fair to Girieud, and here I am doing my mea culpa of criticism. Except Gasquet and Charles Morice, who understood this artist, no one went to look for him in his retirement. We were too seduced by Bonnard's delights, and the Fauves' fireworks surprised us. Close to them, but in silence, a cultivated, meditative being, enamored of Sienese and Gauguin, aimed not at the effect, but at the cadence, preferred the orderly composition to the piece of bravery. It was Girieud. " (Louis Vauxcelles, L'Excelsior, 1919)
Friend of Kandinsky from 1904, Girieud was the first French to adhere to the expressionist principles of the NKV when it was founded in 1909. He then served as a link between Parisian and German artists and contributed to catalogs and exhibitions until 1911. Adept of Primitives and Fauves, nourished by the vigorous oppositions inherent in his native Provence, invests himself in this painting with excessive contrasts, unusual color relationships dominated by the abundance of black, simplifications of ever more acute forms. He therefore found himself in this movement of artistic revolt which was then developing in Germany and which would be called Expressionism. Munich with the NKVM and the Blaue Reiter, Dusseldorf with the Sonderbund, Berlin with Die Brücke and the Neue Secession, are the centers of dissemination of their theories. He is the Frenchman who exhibited the most paintings with this movement, which earned him the presence of eight works during the retrospective organized by the Lembachhaus in 1999.
The artists of the NKV will recognize in him the purity of the line close to the naivety associated with a pure emotion characteristic of the expressionism.
Girieud is also associated with the wind of freedom that accompanies the creation of the Blaue Reiter's Almanac, which features one of his works destroyed during the last world war. He will not exhibit with this group because his contribution will arrive too late but will be by their side most of the time including at the Der Sturm gallery where Walden, after having exhibited the French Expressionists (including Girieud), will claim for the Germans the term expressionist .
The German artistic world holds him in high esteem as shown by the number of his paintings purchased by Koehler, Erbslöh, Kanolt, and Kandinsky as well as the exchange proposed by Marc.
He owes his first solo exhibition in 1907 to Daniel Kahnweiler and in 1910-1911, Franz Marc had him exhibited at the Tannhauser gallery in Munich.
Girieud settled in Marseille in 1911 and, returning to classicism during the First World War, he devoted himself to decorative works, especially frescoes, opera sets and illustrations.
He died in 1948. Louis Vauxcelles reports in the Excelsior newspaper of May 29, 1919: “While Flandrin, Marquet, Dufrénoy, Puy, Laprade, Manguin, Friesz were becoming famous, Matisse illustrious, Pierre Girieud, their comrade, their equal, remained isolated. We were not fair to Girieud, and here I am doing my mea culpa of criticism. Except Gasquet and Charles Morice, who understood this artist, no one went to look for him in his retirement. We were too seduced by Bonnard's delights, and the Fauves' fireworks surprised us. Close to them, but in silence, a cultivated, meditative being, enamored of Sienese and Gauguin, aimed not at the effect, but at the cadence, preferred the orderly composition to the piece of bravery. It was Girieud. "
. the Salon des refusés whose statutes Girieud drafted in 1901 under the name of "Bilange" with the help of Fabien Launay and which became the Salon d'Automne
. the College of modern aesthetics, a collective of creators - via La Revue naturiste -, created in the fall of 1900, with among others the artists Émile Dezaunay, Durio, Girieud, Henri Delepouve (1869-1956), Charles Huard, Manolo Hugué, Frantz Jourdain, Fabien Launay, Alphée E. Iker, Maillol, Raoul de Mathan, Charles Milcendeau, Tony Minartz, Ricardo Florès
. the New Trends Group with Girieud joined in 1903 and where he met Vassili Kandinsky in 1904
. the “free Medici villa”, founded in 1909 at the Château d'Orgeville by Judge Georges Bonjean, with Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Georges Duhamel and Girieud, and which will benefit Raoul Dufy, André Lhote, André Marchand, among others, this foundation then moving to Villepreux
. the Association of New Munich Artists (NKVM). Friend of Vassili Kandinsky from 1904, Girieud was the first French to adhere to the principles of the New Association of Munich Artists (NKVM) when it was created in Munich in 1909. He then served as a link between Parisian and German artists and made his contribution. catalogs and exhibitions. Girieud becomes their main French representative and helps the leading members to bring together the works of his French colleagues. He will be present at the three exhibitions of the NKVM in 1909
. The Blue Rider: When Kandinsky left the NKVM, he made good contacts with Girieud who is the link between the Blaue Reiter and Paris. Kandinsky commissions Girieud for an article on the Sienese primitives and images of Epinal to constitute the Almanac. Girieud succeeds in the feat of remaining loyal to the two antagonistic clans: he contributes to the Almanac but does not exhibit with the Blaue Reiter, continuing to hang his paintings in the neighboring rooms reserved for the NKVM.
. two exhibitions at the Sonderbund in 1910 and 1912
. Neue Secession of Berlin in 1911. In a letter to Kandinski, Franz Marc commenting on this exhibition indicates in particular "famous also the great bathers (vertical format) of Girieud"
. Hans Goltz Gallery in Munich in 1912 and 1913 (exhibition of the totality of modern painting)
. Galerie Der Sturm in 1912: 1st exhibition in the gallery devoted to the French Expressionists and the Blaue Reiter then second exhibition with the Futurists
From 1910, Girieud was present in all national and international exhibitions: Indépendants de Prague, London exhibition "Manet and the Post-Impressionists", Neue Secession of 1911, the first two exhibitions at the Der Sturm gallery in Berlin, exhibition of 'French Art in Budapest, second Post Impressionist Exhibition in London, Hans Goltz Gallery in Germany as part of the Neue Kunst, Armory Show in New York, Boston and Chicago, the Sonderbund in Cologne, Exhibition of French Art in Stockholm, at the exhibition of Montval's papers at the Galerie de la Licorne, at the Venice Biennale. He has also exhibited many times at the Salon des Indépendants, the Salon d'Automne and the Salon des Tuileries.
At regular intervals, merchants set up private exhibitions for him, the Thannhauser Gallery in Munich in 1911, Paul Rosenberg in 1914 and 1920, Berthe Weill in 1925, the Charlet gallery in Brussels, and especially the Eugène Druet gallery which exhibited him several times. (1926, 1929) and devoted an album to him in 1931: it was in particular Eugène Druet who paid Homage to Gauguin in 1913 for the Armory Show.
His works are present in twenty two museums including the Hermitage of Saint Petersburg, the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris, the Lenbachhaus in Munich, the Petit Palais museum in Geneva, the Annonciade museum in Saint-Tropez , the Cantini museum in Marseille.