Raoul Ubac

Né en 1910 - France


Born in 1910 and died in 1985, Raoul Ubac is an artist who was part of the Nouvelle Ecole in Paris.

Raoul Ubac spent his childhood in Germany (Prussia) between Cologne and Frankfurt. He came back to Paris in 1930 and joined Sorbonne. This is when he met André Breton and hung around with surrealists and artists of Montparnasse. He traveled a lot through Europe and took pictures of Hvar island (now Croatia) of the found stone assemblies.

Then, on Otto Freundlich's advice, a German constructivist painter and sculptor, he enrolled at the School of Applied Arts where he took drawing and photography lessons. Initially, he was more interested by photography and experimented with the firing, solarisation and petrification process. He participated in surrealist activities and exhibited under the pseudonym: Raoul Michelet at the International exhibition of surrealism in 1935, the first surrealist exhibition in Belgium.

1936 onwards, he learned engraving in Stanley William Hayter, the artist's studio, and began photo-montage. He founded the magazine « L’invention collective » with René Magritte in 1970 and then collaborated with the magazine « Messages », where he met Raymond Queneau and Paul Eluard. After the war, he distanced himself a little from surrealism and gave up photography.

Raoul Ubac then began drawing with a pen and engraving on slate to achieve gouaches and egg painting. He painted on panels covered with amalgamated resins, which made up a synthesis of his work and research, revolving around the themes of body and grooves, his favorite theme until his death.

In 1968, a retrospective of his work is presented in Brussels and the Museum of Modern Art of Paris. Raoul Ubac received the grand prix national des arts in 1973. He did several sets of stained glass windows and reliefs, wall murals and tapestries for public and private buildings. He also illustrated drawings, engravings and lithographs of about thirty books and is the author of the cover of the magazine « Argile », published at Maeght from 1973 until 1981.

Ubac's work is part of several museum collections in France and Europe. In 1980, the French post office produced a stamp, depicting one of his creations.

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