André Fougeron – leader of French neorealism

Honor and glory to André Houllier, 1949
Honor and glory to André Houllier, 1949

André Fougeron (born October 1, 1913 – died September 10, 1998) is a French neorealist painter of the 20th century. The work of André Fougeron is permeated with social ideas, incriminating tendencies, with his paintings he reacted to significant political events, depicted the realities of the common people. Being an active humanist, the master always sang the praises of life in its various manifestations.

André Fougeron occupied a leading place in the painting of socialist realism in France. Meanwhile, expressionistic features were also manifested in his work. This is a space saturated with figures, color contrasts, a deformed outline.

100 years of exploitation, 100 years of struggle, Victory through communism. 1952, 39x78 cm
100 years of exploitation, 100 years of struggle, Victory through communism. 1952, 39×78 cm

Biography of André Fougeron

André Fougeron was born on October 1, 1913 in Paris in the family of a bricklayer. After graduating from elementary school, he began to work as a mechanic at a car factory. Since childhood, the young man was fond of drawing, and in his free time he attended evening classes at an art school and exhibitions of contemporary art.

Soon Andre was drafted into the army, but there he also painted. In 1935 the future master returned to Paris. Europe at that time was going through a turbulent period: fascism was gaining momentum in Germany, a popular front was created in France, the Spanish general Francisco Franco was preparing a rebellion in his country. It was heading towards a new world war.

The Cock Fighters 1950
The Cock Fighters 1950

In 1936, André Fougeron’s first works appeared on display at the Parisian House of Culture, and a year later his works were presented at the Salon of the Super-Independent. The painter took part in an exhibition of the Cruel Art and New Generation groups, and received an order to paint the walls of a student sanatorium. In 1939 the artist joined the ranks of the Communist Party, in 1940 he took part in battles with the Nazis on the Belgian border, was captured, but managed to return to the occupied capital of France. In his paintings, Fougeron reflected modern reality; an underground printing house was opened in his workshop, where newspapers and leaflets were printed.

André Fougeron, 1945, France
André Fougeron, 1945, France

After the end of the war, Andre, together with other artists, organized the Salon of Liberation.

In 1947 he traveled to Italy, studied painting in Rome. Returning to France, he gained popularity, received many orders. However, the work of “Parisienne in the market” was perceived by critics controversially. In the genre scene, the painter reflected the problems of the post-war years: the rise in prices, the plight of ordinary people.

In an effort to imbue the life of the working people, André Fougeron went to the north of France, to Lens. The result of the trip was an exhibition of paintings, drawings, lithographs, in which the master spoke about the hard work of the miners, their struggle for their own rights.

In the barn 1954 Oil on canvas 100 x 73 cm
In the barn 1954 Oil on canvas 100 x 73 cm

In the mid-50s of the twentieth century, the master created the “Triptych of Shame”, where he expressed outrage at the brutal war in Algeria unleashed by the French government. His paintings, showing the crime of colonial politics, are reminiscent of reportage photographs.

Fougeron’s works are not only a protest against violence and oppression. An important place in his work was occupied by optimistic motives, themes of family, motherhood, and peaceful labor.

Until the end of his life, André Fougeron was an authority in international artistic life, often participating in major exhibitions. The painter died on September 10, 1998 in Paris at the age of 84.


The most famous paintings by André Fougeron

Most of Andre Fougeron’s paintings have a social orientation. The following works are worth highlighting:

“The Rape of Spain” (1937) – the image of an abused woman symbolizes the whole country. Her outstretched body is depicted against the background of a green horse, which takes the form of a landscape.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1937) is a commentary on the chaotic state of Europe. Skeletal horsemen, silhouetted against the black sky, predict the imminent end of the world.

“Fighting Roosters” (1950) – bright birds contrast with the general gloomy palette of the picture. They confront each other, but the look of the man on the right allows one to think that he regards the upcoming fight as personal.

“Atlantic Civilization” (1953) – the author demonstrates the Americanization of Europe in a caricatured manner, deliberately plays on the culture of comics. The theme of colonialism, the destruction of family values, arises.

“Return from the Market” (1953) – on canvas, Fougeron depicted his wife, Henriette. Bread, vegetables, standard furnishings are indicative of a simple life.

André Fougeron, Women of Italy -1947
Women of Italy -1947
André Fougeron, Pictures from the series Land of Mines
Pictures from the series Land of Mines
André Fougeron, Combine in Bose, 1960 Oil on canvas 162 x 114 cm
Combine in Bose, 1960 Oil on canvas 162 x 114 cm

André Fougeron, National Defense 1950
National Defense 1950
André Fougeron, Nelson Mandela 1988, oil on canvas, 130 x 97 cm. Private collection.
Nelson Mandela 1988, oil on canvas, 130 x 97 cm. Private collection.

Pleasures of the Night on the Street 1959 Parisians in the market, 1948 André Fougeron, Light in the Valais de la Loire 1960 Oil on canvas 97 x 146 cm

André Fougeron, Stone Sorter 1946 Oil on canvas 92 x 74 cm
Stone Sorter 1946 Oil on canvas 92 x 74 cm

André Fougeron, Honor and glory to André Houllier, 1949

Like this post? Please share to your friends: