André Beaurepaire was born in Paris on the 4th of August 1924. Entirely self-taught, he developed a passion for drawing very early on and by 8 years of age had created severalseries of drawings that make up as many scenes for films that he imagined into his adolescence and for which he improvised dialogues and music during his family screenings. He drew dungeons, obelisks, façades, and interiors of palaces, cathedrals, castles, and architectures in his school notebooks… He sketched innumerable heads, profiles or faces, built models of ocean liners, drew cities, sea terminals, landscapes…

In 1945, when he was 20, Christian Bérard and Jean Cocteau, discover his drawings and invite him to collaborate in the « Théâtre de la Mode » - a manifestation celebrating the renewal of Haute Couture in the post-War years.The exhibition met with such public success that it then travelled to London, Barcelona, Stockholm and Copenhagen that same year, followed by New York and San Francisco the year after. To honour evening gowns by the great couturiers –including a red gown by Balenciaga–he created “la Grotte enchantée” (the enchanted grotto) with a black and white décor made using elements from his mock-updrawn in ink then photographed and enlarged.

Along and prolific collaboration followed with Jean Cocteau, Roland Petit, Jean Genet, Frédérick Ashton, Léonid Massine, Gian Carlo Menotti, Jean Marais, Yohji Yamamoto… And while pursuing his own painting he placed his own art of drawing and composition at the service of the Theatre, the Operaand the Ballet. He created the décor and costumes for prestigious venues : Théâtre des Champs-Élysées - Théâtre Hébertot - Covent Garden Royal Opera House in London - Cairo Opera Theatre-La Scala in Milan - Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt - Théâtre Montparnasse - Opéra Comique - Opéra de Paris - Espace Cardin - Cour Carrée du Louvre – Amsterdam’s Royal Opera - Opéra de Nice…

An admirer of Paolo Uccello, he loved the mystery, the fantastic of the well-arranged interlacing of figures in the three paintings of the battle of San Romano, and he appreciated, moreover, the architectural aesthetics of one Philibert de l’Orme,a French Renaissance architect.This passion for architecture followed him throughout life. It nourished his work, first in black ink at the end of the 30sand oninto the 90s. Colour entered his work in the form of pastelsfrom 1944-45, followed by oils from 1952and coloured ink around 1958. His palette brightened, a golden light caressed his canvasses andhis drawings : Architectural Chaos, Pyramids,Tentacular Cities, Megapolises, Towers of Babylon, Aerial Views, Cathedrals…Other themes arose over the decades : Planets and other Cosmic Views, Desert Landscapes, Mirrored studios, Levitating Still Lifes, Errant Silhouettes, Burning Towers, Incandescent Landscape, Heads from Dreams or Nightmares,Hellish Figures…

He exhibited his work from time to time in Paris : Galerie Bernheim Jeune - Galerie La Cour d’Ingres - Galerie Jean Wanecq – at Henriette Gomès –at the Maison Elsa Triolet-Aragon – in Milan, Galleria Dell’Ariete - in New York and London at the Wildenstein Galleries –in Geneva at Alexandre Iolas… Many of his works are in private collections in Europe and the United States such as the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. In France, his work isin the François Pinault Collection since the Eighties, as well as in the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

In 2005, Pierre Bergé made him Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres at the Foundation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent.Parallel to his work at the easel, which he pursued until the end of his days, André Beaurepaire joined Raphaël Remiatte in 2009 for a photographic and video adventure entitled« Le Peintre et son Modèle » (The Painter and his Model).This work will be on display in 2012 and 2013 at Galerie Agathe Gaillard, great priestess of photography whose début was backed by Henri Cartier-Bresson, André Kertesz, Edouard Boubat, Robert Doisneau, Gisèle Freund…

On the 21st of August 2012, André Beaurepaire passed away in his home, a beautiful eighteenth-century house at 320 rue Saint Honoré,where he lived since 1960. He was 88 years old. But he has not died as he lives on through his work… From his first recorded work created when he was 6 years old in 1930 to his last canvas painted at the beginning of 2012, he dedicated 82 years of his life to Art.

© André Beaurepaire - Tous droits réservés