2 Feb 2023 - 30 Jun 2023



A true child of Montmartre, the son of a circus musician and an embroiderer, Eugène Paul – known as Gen Paul (1895–1975) – was born into the artistic bohemia of this Paris neighbourhood whose masters he admired: Picasso, Van Gogh, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Van Dongen, among others.

Wounded during the First World War and with his right leg amputated, Gen Paul could no longer work as an upholsterer. He thus decided to make the most of his drawing skills and powers of observation and embarked on a career as a professional painter. He was introduced into the trade by such famous Montmartre artists as Juan Gris, Maurice de Vlaminck, André Derain and Maurice Utrillo.

While his early works reflect these various influences, between 1925 and 1929 – his ‘Great Period’ – he developed a strong expressionist style, distinct from his friends at Le Bateau-Lavoir.
The paintings of this period are characterized by motion, reflected in the gaiety of the subjects he depicts – musicians performing, the bustling Montmartre crowds, horse races – and in his style, made up of rapid brushstrokes, dynamic angles and distorted silhouettes. His work expressed a style of its own, with influences as diverse as Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, Cézanne and, before them, Goya, Velázquez and El Greco.

Gen Paul exhibited for the first time at the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Indépendants in Paris in 1920. In 1928 his works were exhibited alongside those of Picasso, Rouault and Soutine, and the following year he signed with the great Parisian dealer Bernheim (although this would fall through after the financial crash of 1929).
Up until September 1930, the artist travelled and worked non-stop, in a kind of frenzy. But on his return to Paris, serious health problems linked to his alcoholism forced him to slow down. The writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline was a great help in his recovery. Although they didn’t share the same ideas, Gen Paul would consider him a close friend for many years.

After the Second World War, Gen Paul returned to the characteristic style and subjects of his early years, without ever really recapturing the artistic vigour of the 1920s. However, being considered an important painter in Paris, he enjoyed some success during his lifetime.

Galerie de la Béraudière is pleased to introduce you to this talented artist, one of the few French expressionists, in an exhibition that focuses on his ‘Great Period’ from 1925 to 1929.

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