Claude Venard was a notable exponent of the French mid-century post-Cubist movement. He was born to bourgeois parents from Burgogne in Paris, on March 21, 1913. At the age of 17, he enrolled and attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, but remained for only two days, not adhering to the school’s academic style. Instead, he spent the following six years at the École des Arts Appliqués, taking evening classes and embracing the contemporary Parisian art scene, all the while becoming recognized in its circles.
Not able to support himself as an artist, by 1936 he found employment as a restorer at the Louvre, further honing his artistic skills.
Paris of the period was dominated by an art trend that strongly favored abstraction. Following a group show at the Galerie Billet-Worms in 1935, art critic Waldemar George declared: “Let’s be young again! Painting is not dead… Its course has not stopped. Forces Nouvelles is born.”
Venard contributed and initially adhered to the strict disciplines of the Forces Nouvelle group. But as with many of his fellow members, he soon abandoned it seeking individual expression.
Following WWII, Venard rekindled friendships with past Forces Nouvelles members, joining Pierre Tal-Coat, André Marchand, André Civet and Francis Gruber in the Post-War art movement. The group of artist enthusiastically supported each other and participated in molding their individual gestures through constructive critique. Venard readily developed an appealing style, securing his first solo exhibition in 1944 at the Galerie Barreiro in Paris.
Venard’s gesture was immediately well received and the artist enjoyed a number of successful exhibitions that helped establish his continuing popularity. A prolific painter, Venard favored still-life and cityscapes delivered in a spatial, quasi-abstract yet faithfully post-cubist style. The work is characterized by heavy impasto delivered to canvas with the knife, scraffito designs in the wet paint and bold colorful compositions, joyous colorations that reflected the spirit of the artist.
An internationally exhibited painter, Vénard’s work has been shown at numerous exhibitions in Paris, including the Forces Nouvelles Exhibitions, Salon des Indépendants, the Salon des Tuilleries and the Salon de Mai, of which he was a founding member. Vénard exhibited widely, including in New York, Milan, Geneva, Chicago, Munich, Tokyo, Buenos Aires and San Francisco. Some of the most successful exhibitions were promoted through the long standing relationship with Galerie Félix Vercel, located in Paris and London.
Works by Claude Vénard can be found in the permanent museum collections of the Tate Collection in London, the Musée d’art Moderne de la ville de Paris and Dallas Museum of Art. There is also a strong international following by a number of prestigious private, corporate and institutional collectors.
Exhibitions: Galerie Barreiro, Paris, France, 1944 Salon des Indépendants, Paris, France Salon des Tuilleries, Paris, France Salon de Mai, Paris, France
Museums/Collections: Tate Collection, London, England Musée d’art Moderne de la ville de Paris, France Dallas Museum of Art, Texas