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André Georges BARBIER

Biography of Artist

French School

(1880-1970)

André Barbier was born in Arras, France on 24th January 1883 into a family of lawyers.

At the age of twenty, Barbier left Arras and settled in Paris at the Quai aux fleurs, and in the same year, 1903, he exhibited four paintings at the nineteenth Salon des Independants , where he continued to show until 1914, resuming in 1967 until his death. From 1908-1938, he showed at the Salon d'Automme. He exhibited at the Societé Nationale des Beaux Arts in 1911 and at the Salon des Tuilleries from 1924-31. In 1926 he exhibited at the Retrospective at the Société des Indépendants and in 1937 at the Exposition Internationale..

As with so many painters of his day, he adopted on itinerant lifestyle, travelling between Paris, the outskirts of Paris, the Normandy coast and the Riviera, to say nothing of his trips abroad, especially to Italy.

Following his illustrious elders, Courbet, Corot and Monet, he went to Etretat to paint La Manneport and L'Aiguille. The white cliffs, the pebble beaches and the sea with it changing tones captivated him. His work shows a deep understanding of the subtleties of Impressionism and his own interpretation of effects of light and shade and the iridescence of colour according to the time of day.

In 1916 a major event took place in Barbier's life when he met Claude Monet and sent him gifts of fruit, flowers and one of his paintings. Monet responded with a gift of three pastels, and a friendship was born which was to last until Monet's death in 1926.  Monet was so taken with Barbier's works that he sponsored an exhibition of his works with a preface by his biographer and friend, Gustave Geffroy, who urged him to "Build of mist and light, a world of poetry." According to Gérard Schurr, “Barbier uses his own distinctive style to outline, in a blue-purple flickering, some vague forms buried in a very delicate light in a skilful and discreet monochrome shade” (“Les petits Maîtres de la Peintures, Valeur de demain, ” Les Editions de l’Amateur, Volume II, p. 131).

Barbier was also a close friend of the composer Claude Debussy. Indeed he was a man of many interests counting music, astronomy and photography as other passions in his life.

Due to his wealth, much of Barbier's work has remained with his family, but today his paintings are collected extensively in America and Europe and have recently been bought by members of the Monaco and Belgian Royal families. His work is also held in the museum in Bagnols-sur-Ceze with a piece called “Entrance to the Port in Cannes”.

Biblography:“Les petits Maîtres de la Peintures, Valeur de demain” by Gérard Schurr and “Dictionary of Artists” by E.Benezit