Monday, 23 June 2014

Pierre Antoine Gallien, peintre a la ligne noir

Pierre Antoine Gallien
(Grenoble 1896-1963 Mont Rouge)
French modernist woodcut artist.
"painter of the black line" 

Over the years I had filed several pictures of examples by this artist that I've saved from auction sites, catalogues etc. Recently stumbling over another I decided to swipe them together and create this posting. 

Woodcut portraits by Pierre Antoine Gallien and self-portrait by Fujita.

There's not much about the life of Pierre Antoine Gallien to be found in the Internet but according to the portraits he cut in wood there's a good chance he learned the art of woodblock printmaking from the Japanese artist Fujita (Léonard Tsugouharu Foujita (藤田 嗣治, Fujita Tsuguharu, November 27, 1886 – January 29, 1968). Read here about this extraordinary artist *).  

However, Gallien's many portraits of contemporary French artists places him right in the wild modernist and avant-garde circles in Paris-Montparnasse after the Great War in the roaring twenties. 

"British avant garde artist Nina Hamnett (1890-1965) taking a bath", by Fujita.
(read here* about this most interesting woman artist and Bohemien)

 Gallien's portrait of French composer Alberic Magnard (1865-1914) and painter Henri Matisse (1969-1954)

and painter printmaker Henri de Waroquier (1881-1970) who created this wonderful still-life color woodcut in 1909.

Among them were painter Amadeo Modigliani (1884-1920) and his many mistresses and muzes, sculptor Constantin Brancusi (1976-1957), Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), avant-garde photographer Mann Ray (1980-1976) and Kiki de Montparnasse (1901-1953), André Derain, Maurice Utrillo, Wassily Kandinsky, Frantisek Kupka, Henri Matisse and many others in the steaming Bohemien world that was Montparnasse in the 1920's.

Montparnasse in 1922, the café's, bars and studio's, where life began after sunset and the nights never ended, as seen and cut in wood by Gallien.

Gallien had been a student of the "Ecole des Beaux-Arts, des Arts décoratifs et du Louvre" in Paris and was appointed professor of drawing, probably in Paris. 
These lovely illustrations, from a limited poetry edition "Du pain et des Roses" (Bread and Roses) by Marius Noguès (1919-2012) in 1947

for me symbolizing the warmth, joy and freedom of midsummer and reminding me of the merry novel of Pallieter and a hot summers day by Flemish writer Felix Timmermans (1886-1947) about the simpleton Pallieter and the love of his life Marieke (read here*).

All pictures are mouse-clickable to embiggen


All pictures borrowed freely from the internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.


  1. I really like the Henri de Waroquier one.

  2. Great nudes, and lovely semi-abstract book cover!

    1. Thank you Diego for commenting I really appreciate it. And I'm glad you like him. I agree: Noguès is a very charming artist indeed.

  3. Thank you very much to be interested in Pierre-Antoine Gallien work, my grand-father.
    He was born in 1896 and deceased in 1963.
    I never met him, and was much older than my grand mother.

    I will send you some information, if you would like, but in few words: he was a abstract painter between 1913 and 1923. He was a specialist of black and white. There was in 1979 a big exhibition of his paintings at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. He was the best friend of Kupka, and used to work together: for instance we have an incredible engraving of Kukpa atelier by my GF. And « peintre à la ligne noire » is an anagram found by Kupka with the letters of Pierre Antoine Gallien.
    Unfortunately, he didn’t paint a lot and considered his works as study. He hated money.
    In 1984, the « catalogue raisonne » of the work of my GF was executed: it is now at the National Librairy in Paris.
    In 2002, there was a big exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art in London, and at the Guggenheim in Bilbao : « Paris, Capital of the Art, 1900/1968 »: they asked my grand mother to lend a dadaist self-portrait (since my GF was also a member of Dadaism).

    The majority of my GF paintings and engravings have been robbed when my GM went and stayed at the hospital in 2004, where she deseased. The police found some, but it is very hard to find robbed paintings: sometimes, when it happens, you are already in another world...

    The national museum of modern art (Musee Georges Pompidou/centre Beaubourg) has some works of my GF, and the museum of modern art of Paris had bought an oil on canvas, which is at the permanent exhibition, which name is « historical painters of the 20th century ». You find also a portrait of Ossip Zadkine at Zadkine Museum in Paris.