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Camille Bombois (1883-1970)

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Camille Bombois (February 3, 1883 – June 6, 1970) was a French naïve painter especially noted for paintings of circus scenes.

Bombois was born in Venarey-les-Laumes in the Côte-d’Or, under humble circumstances. His childhood was spent living on a barge and attending a local school until the age of twelve, when he became a farm worker. During his free time he drew and competed in wrestling competitions at local fairs. He became a champion local wrestler before joining a traveling circus as a strongman and wrestler.


In 1907, Bombois fulfilled his dream of moving to Paris, where he married and worked as a railway laborer, eventually finding a night job at a newspaper printing plant handling heavy newsprint rolls. Despite the exhausting nature of his job he painted from dawn to dusk, sleeping little. He showed his paintings in sidewalk exhibitions, but his earliest paintings, revealing the influence of the old masters in their subdued use of color, attracted few buyers.

1914 marked the beginning of four-and-a-half years of military service in World War I. Bombois spent much of it on the front line, earning three decorations for bravery. Upon his return home, encouraged that his wife had succeeded in selling a number of his paintings in his absence, he resumed his routine of night labor and daytime painting. In 1922, his sidewalk displays in Montmartre began attracting the attention of collectors. The art dealer Wilhelm Uhde “discovered” him in 1924, and exhibited Bombois’ work in the Galeries des Quatre Chemins in 1927. In 1937, his works were shown in the exhibition “Maîtres populaires de la réalité” in Paris. His first solo show was in 1944 at the Galerie Pétridès. Critics compared Bombois’ work to that of Henri Rousseau, which it resembled in its naïve drawing, crisp delineation of form, and attention to detail, although Bombois was less of a fantasist than Rousseau.

The paintings of his maturity are bold in color, featuring strong contrasts of black, bright reds, blues and electric pinks. Drawing from his own experiences, he often painted circus performers and landscapes with fishermen. His paintings of women are emphatic in their carnality, and his landscapes are notable in their careful attention to space, and to the effects of reflected light on water. Bombois’ works are on view in many public collections, notably the Musée Maillol in Paris. The above text was found on Wikipedia

www. ftn-books.com has the most important of all Bombois titles available

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Icônes de l’Art Moderne. La Collection Chtchoukine

 

And there we were at the Fondation Louis Vuitton for the Chtchoukine collection…..

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Linda, David , Monica and myself were looking forward to visit this exhibition. What could we expect? Great Picasso’s, the best Matisse paintings, iconic Monet’s.  and all in one exhibition …to see this must be a fantastic experience. Some of them i had seen before, like the Gauguin’s in the Beyeler and some even 100 times or more ,because these were in the Gemeentemuseum exhibition in 1996″ FROM MONET TO MATISSE”.

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Monet tot Matisse

The bowl with gold fish by Matisse is such a painting, but it were the lesser known paintings that impressed me most. There was this magnificent small Rousseau in which one could see the early days of industrialization. Airplane and balloon prominently present in the painting. Furthermore there was this Maurice Denis with the subdued pastel colors. Looking like the dejeuner sur l’Herbe but in the Denis way and a beautiful, very impressive Picasso of 3 Nude Women. But the best was at the end . The part where you could see Chtchoukine had a very good eye for the modern, because the Rodtchenko’s and Malevitch’s were the works in which you could see the transition into Modern Art.

Here above are my favorites from this exhibition and of course there are many books to be found on these painters in the inventory of www.ftn-books.com