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Raymond Espinasse by Jean-Paul Sourillan


Born in Toulouse on 8 September 1897. After serving in the army during the First World War, Raymond Espinasse decided to leave his native city in 1925 to settle in Paris.

It was at the beginning of this century that he discovered the new aesthetic data: Fauvism and Cubism. During the day, he taught graphic art at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and worked for 11 magazines (Revue de Lausanne, Revue de l'Académie Française...). At night, he paints in his studio in the rue Montparnasse.

In 1928, he left for Quimper, from where he travelled the Breton coast. Back in Paris in 1929, this hard-working and passionate artist perfected his technique and broadened his palette. He travelled extensively until 1934. He exhibited at the Salon d'Automne and the Indépendants in 1938 and 1939. When the Second World War broke out, he left for the front in Belgium.

In 1941, he was demobilised as a veteran, and was asked by the Ecole des Beaux-Arts to set up an evening course in sketching, drawing and painting, which gave him the freedom to paint in his new studio in rue Lafayette. During several stays in Aix-en-Provence, Raymond Espinasse tries to get closer to his master Paul Cézanne. His work focuses on the structural and architectural domain; each of his works exudes a strength and a voluptuousness that are all his own.

Exhibitions in Paris and in many provincial cities made him appreciated by the general public. In 1945 the State bought a large number of his works for his exhibition in Bruniquel. For several months of the year, until the beginning of the 1960s, Raymond Lespinasse lived in Saint-Tropez, Hyères, Aix, Sète and Montpellier, where he painted themes that were dear to him: the sea, ports, dance, nudes and certain characters from daily life. He took part in numerous exhibitions such as the Salon de la Peinture Française in Algiers in 1946, the Salon des Artistes du Midi in Paris in 1947, the Salon de Bordeaux in 1948, the Salon de Sète, the Salon des Tuileries and the Salon d'Automne in Paris in 1949. He was also present at all the Salon de la Marine as well as the Grand Prix de Deauville and the Biennale de Menton.

In 1957 he exhibited with Fernand Léger and François Desnoyer. A great friend of François Desnoyer, he painted views of Sète, its port and its surroundings in numerous paintings during his frequent stays in the region. He regularly exhibited alongside Jules Cavailles, Pinchus Kremegne, André Planson, François Desnoyer, Fernand Léger...

Galleries devoted personal retrospectives to him as did certain museums such as the Augustins in Toulouse. This talented draughtsman sought simplification and purity of line; this maturity was the result of a long pictorial experience that he shared for many years with his lifelong friend François Desnoyer. In 1978 he participated in an exhibition where some of his contemporaries, Henri Martin, Achille Laugé, Montezin, Maurice Utrillo and Paul Signac, appeared.

1980 was the year of his last exhibition, the Salon des Artistes Français at the Grand Palais in Paris. His work as a painter and draughtsman is very important. A confirmed painter, he appears in many museums, Céret, Perpignan, Toulouse, Cholet, Grenoble, Montauban, Rodez, Saint-Cyprien... Numerous purchases have been made by museums, the State, chambers of commerce...

("Raymond Espinasse", Bénézit, volume 5, p. 186)

"Model posing".
Coloured ink, 1950. 50x65 cm

Articles by the same author: Gen Paul and Jean-Luc Beaufils.

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