La Pointe de Manhattan, New York

by Yves Brayer


DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 15.3 x 20.5 inches (38.9 x 52.1 cm)
SIGNATURE: Signed (lower left)
MEDIUM: Watercolour



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    Born in 1907 in Versailles, Yves Brayer was a French painter, engraver, illustrator and theatre decorator. He was one of the masters of the École de Paris. Brayer was trained at the Montparnasse and Grande Chaumière academies, then at the Fine-arts school of Paris where he was professor in 1926. Using a great variety of techniques, he produced many landscapes and great compositions, figures and still life. He was named member of the Academy of fine-arts in 1957, at Charles Fouqueray’s chair. His solo exhibitions made his fame in France ( The BNF, the Marmottan museum and the musée des Années Trente (1930’s museum) paid him tribute), in Europe and in the US.

    Yves Brayer was one of the painters who, between the two world wars, felt the need to become attached to the reality that surrounded them. Brayer counted among his friends, Francis Gruber who was at the origin of the New French Realism of the 1950s, and of which Bernard Buffet would be the shining example. Brayer realised that there are other harmonies than those of architectures created by man, those of pure and wild nature and he became fascinated by the diversity of the Alpilles and their limestone folds, then by the expanses of the Camargue populated by white horses and black bulls.

    His works can be found in various museums and in many collections both in France and worldwide. He was professor at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière for fifty years, President of the Salon d’Automne for five years and, as a member of the Academy of Fine Arts, curator of the Marmottan Museum in Paris for more than eleven years.

    Wildenstein & Co. Ltd, London;

    Private collection, United Kingdom

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    Yves Brayer was born in Versailles, but spent most of his childhood in Bourges. Determined to be an artist from an early age, he set out for Paris in 1924, initially studying at the academies in Montparnasse, and from there he attended the École des Beaux-Arts.

    Whilst still a student he exhibited at the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Indépendants, and in 1927 Brayer left Paris for Spain with the aid of a state grant to enable him to study the works of the Spanish Masters in the Prado. This was followed by a stay in Morocco after being awarded a prize by Maréchal Lyautey, and thereafter a period spent in Italy in the early 1930s.

    On his return to Paris in 1934 he exhibited a collection of paintings inspired by his travels in Europe and Morocco at the Galerie Charpentier to great acclaim.

    Brayer continued to paint in occupied Paris throughout the Second World War, and also designed the costumes and sets for a ballet performed at the Opera de Paris in 1942.

    Having moved south to Cordes in the Tarn region of France after the War, Brayer then discovered the area which was to have the greatest artistic influence on his work: Provence. He was enchanted by the diverse and architectural forms of the Alpilles, and by the vast expanse of the Camargue region with its ubiquitous white horses and black bulls. From then on he spent several months each year working in Provence. He also made various trips to Mexico, Egypt, Iran, Greece, Russia, USA and Japan where he was quick to grasp the unique rhythm and light of each country.

    A large collection of Yves Brayer’s paintings are on permanent display both at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Cordes, in the Salle Yves Brayer and at the Musée Yves Brayer in Les Baux de Provence, as well as various museums in France and elsewhere.

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