Andre Hambourg was born in Paris on 5 May 1909. Entering the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoraatifs in 1926, he studied sculpture under Paul Niclausse for four years. The young artist then entered the studio of Lucien Simon at the Ecole nationale superieure des Beaux-Arts. While in the middle of his academic studies, Hambourg had his debut solo exhibition at the Galerie Taureau in Paris in 1928. He was only 19years old at the time. Because of the early recognition of his talent, Hambourg became active in the important Paris salons in the first stages of his developing career. In 1931, he was made a member of the Salon de l’Art Francis Independent and the Salon de l’Oeuvre Unique.
The first of Hambourg’s many honours was the Prix de la Villa Abd-el-Tif awarded in 1933. As a result, the artist travelled to North Africa for the first time, and would spend nearly ten years working in Algeria and Morocco. The powerful sunlight as well as the bleak poverty of this region, inspired Hambourg’s canvases. In 1937, he executed a large mural for the Algerian Pavilion at the Exposition Internationale of Paris, earning the title of Laureate of the Exposition. Throughout his years in North Africa, Hambourg would exhibit his paintings in numerous one-man shows in Algeria, Oran and Paris. Eighty of his works were shown at such a show, at the Musee d’Outre-Mer in Paris in 1939.
In 1939, Hambourg was mobilized as a military reporter and draughtsman and worked on the staff of the Journal de Commissariat a la Guerre, the newspaper of the French army, under the pseudonym Andre Hache. Special missions on combat vessels led to his appointment as a war correspondent in 1944 with the staff of inter-allied SHAEF. In this role, he took part in the German, Alsace and Atlantic Front Campaigns, as well as the liberation of France. In recognition of his wartime contributions, Hambourg was decorated with the Croix de Guerre. Before the end of the war, Hambourg became the first French delegate to the Four Arts Aid Society. For his aid to French artists during this time, Hambourg was made a Chevalier of the Orde de la Sante Publique.
After returning to his artistic career for a short time, Hambourg became the official painter of the Navy in 1952. He undertook numerous voyages aboard French Navy vessels on missions all around the world including: Venice, the Soviet Union, Israel, Britain, the Ivory Coast, the United States, and Mexico. From these global travels, the artist brought back many sketches, and prepatory drawings for future paintings and illustrations. His international trips would have a lasting influence on his artwork. Hambourg’s adventurous maritime career resulted in his receiving the honour of Laureate of the Salon de la Marine, and becoming the official painter of the maritime Ministry.
In 1970 five hundred of his works formed a prestigious retrospective at the Maison de Culture in Bourges. Other notable shows include Drawings of Venice at Galerie Varine-Gincourt in Paris (1979), Bonjour New York at Wally Findlay Galleries in New York (1985), The Presence of Andre Hambourg at the Salon du Dessin (1986), Andre Hambourg in the Ivory Coast at the Galerie Guigne in Paris (1987), and finally Andre Hambourg in Venice at Galrie Apesteguyin Deauville (1989).
Having past experience creating mural decorations for ships, Hambourg was asked to complete a 195 square foot mural, for the Audience Chamber of the New European Court of Justice in Luxembourg in 1972. One year later, this panoramic work was unveiled at an opening ceremony in the Hotel de Ville, attended by the President of Luxembourg, Robert Lecourt, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg.
On 4 December 1999 Andre Hambourg died in Paris after a long prosperous career. Today his works can be found in the collections of prestigious museums such as the Musee National d’Art Moderne in Paris and the Musee national de la Marine.
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