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David Mesly

Born in 1918 - France

BIOGRAPHY

biography under completion

Michel Robert was born in Paris in 1918, April 22. However, he has been known under the name of David Mesly since the nineties only.

Thanks to his father Eloi Robert, a sculptor himself who died in 1949, Michel was initiated into sculpture very soon. As a matter of fact, Eloi attended the Ecole Régionale des Beaux-Arts de Rennes, just like Jean Boucher, Armel-Beaufils and Francis Renaud did. The atists of that generation set up a real Ecolde Rennes.

It was in his father’s studio that Michel Robert took to artistic studies from 1932 onwards while keeping in touch with Montparnasse.

In those days and up to 1947, he exhibited his works at the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs, at the Salon National des Beaux-Arts and at the Salon des Indépendants. He exhibited his works as well at the gallery Susse Boulevard de la Madeleine.

He had just turned nineteen when his talent was rewarded. He received a gold medal for the Pavillon de Bretagne at the Salon International in 1937.

However, in addition to being an artist, Michel Robert was also a man of action who did not disregard taking physical risk. In 1938, while Europe resounded with the Fürher’s howling threats, Michel Robert got a licence to fly private planes. He was mobilized in 1939 and led a perilous life up to 1941 as a fighter pilot.

When he came home, France was pacified and until 1952 he held a position as an inspector of the places of interest in Finistère thanks to Armel-Beaufils, an inspector himself in the commission of the places of interest in the Côtes d’Armor.

They both combined their efforts so to obtain that natural settings along the Britany coastline would become conservation areas.

Henceforth, Michel Robert could dedicate himself again to his artistic work which brought to light the various facets of his talent. While being a sculptor, he could as well make copies for the Monuments Historiques and be an adjuster for many artists.

From 1945, commissioned by the Monuments Historiques he took up the difficult task of reproducing the original sculpture carving the stone straight from scratch.
Therefore, he had to feel like the artist would have in his days to redo his gestures and find the original lines.

All around France, he participated in over five hundred sites (cathedrals, listed houses, churches) and, among others, in Paris in the Louvre (restoration of the second Empire statuary).
In 1993,he restored as well the three archangels in stone of the Fontaine Notre-Dame which Leopold Kretz (1907-1990) sculpted with his collaboration in 1951.

The two artists realized together a monument dedicated to the Polish combatants who fought to defend andfree France, a symbol for Kretz who had a Polish origin himself.

After the war was over, Michel Robert was commissioned by the State to give Quimper a part of it’s past back: since 1908, in a square surrounded by trees a bronze statue of La Tour d’Auvergne , first grenadier of France, had the place of honour. During world war II, it was requisitioned to be melted down for military purposes. Therefore, after the Liberation, Michel Robert sculpted a statue in granite of the heroic figure to replace it.

Later on, he would use other materials such as marble or exotic wood. His lines and shapes, precise and pure, are attractive. His bronze works are done from sculptures directly carved in stone. His artistic nudes reveal the know-how touch and he practiced a great deal on the animal world.

In addition, he was an adjuster. His work consisted in roughhewing and in carving a block of stone from models. He proved to make his talent useful to his colleagues. He would rough-hew some of their works.

Among others, he worked for Volti (1915-1989) a sculptor, drawer and engraver who conveyed through his works a devoted praise to woman, for Gabriel Coquelin (1907-1996) born in Châtillon, an old friend who initially worked for Quillinic, Poisson and Janniot and whose outstanding craftsmanship enabled him to become a creator on his own. He worked for Pajot, Greck and even for Sophie Vary, the wife of the sculptor Botero.

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EXHIBITIONS

Entre 1931 et 1947

- Exposition au salon des Artistes Décorateurs
- Exposition au salon National des Beaux-Arts
- Exposition au salon des Indépendants

Entre 1932 et 1947 - Exposition à la galerie Susse (boulevard de la Madeleine)

Novembre 1998 - Exposition à la Galerie Jean Paul VILLAIN Paris, France
Juin 1999 - Exposition à la Royal Gallery, Deauville, France
Avril 2004 - Exposition à la Galerie Jean Paul VILLAIN Hommage à David MESLY ; Paris, France

Mai 2008 - Exposition à la Galerie Jean Paul VILLAIN

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