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.