Cassigneul, Jean-Pierre

Born in 1925, Jean-Pierre Cassigneul is an unclassifiable artist for whom lithography is one of his preferred media. He is renowned for the poetry and contrasting tones of the silhouettes he depicts. Read the biography

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Born in 1935, Jean Pierre Cassigneul lived and grew up in Paris in a well-to-do family who introduced him to art and fashion at an early age. At the age of 17, he mounted his first exhibition at Galerie Lucy, before entering the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Paris three years later, in 1955. During his military service in Algeria, the artist designed battalion insignia and built a chapel in the Sahara. He subsequently made the decisive encounter with Kiyoshi Tamenaga, a young Japanese art dealer, Noël Schuman, a publisher, and Simone Karoff, director of the Findlay Gallery, three people who supported and launched the artist's brilliant ascent. In Japan in particular, his work was a huge success. In 1965, he exhibited his first lithographs at Galerie Bellechasse in Paris. In 1977, Cassigneul produced 30 lithographs to illustrate Condemned parts by Charles Baudelaire. In 1985, he created a lithograph screen, Luxembourg Gardensexhibited at the Bouquinerie de l'Institut, now the Galerie de l'Institut. The artist does not limit himself to lithography and explores the potential of other media, such as tapestry and stained glass, with Garden of delightscommissioned by Yoshiaki Tsutsumi, but also theatrical sets and costumes, such as those for La Fille mal gardée at the Bolshoi Theatre. Jean-Pierre Cassigneul doesn't seek to retranscribe reality, but imagines silhouettes of unknown women, elegant and dreamy, based on real models. The poetry that emanates from his work brings him into close contact with artists such as Édouard Vuillard or Pierre Bonnardof which he also owns lithographs. His palette of contrasting tones and tight framing also place him in the Expressionist legacy of Kees Van Dongen. At the age of 80, this unclassifiable artist, for whom "one should only paint or create in general when one feels the need to do so as a matter of course", continues to create relentlessly.