*Featured photo: Copyright Mucem, fort Saint-Jean
Mucem, Fort Saint-Jean- Georges Henri Rivière (GHR) building
Until March 10, 2024
7 promenade Robert Laffont (esplanade du J4) 13002 Marseille – France
René Perrot (1912-1979) was a prolific artist who constantly experimented with new styles and techniques. He is best known for his tapestries, used to decorate official buildings, ministries and embassies around the world. This exhibition invites visitors to rediscover the richness and sensitivity of his work through nearly 200 drawings, paintings, tapestries and objects from the collections of the Mucem, Mobilier national and private collections. A profound pacifist, René Perrot’s work is marked by the history of his time and its upheavals, with World War II being a turning point in his career.
Son of elementary school teachers and grandson of farmers, René Perrot studied at the École nationale des arts décoratifs before working as a poster artist until the outbreak of World War II. A staunch anti-militarist, in his engravings he denounced the absurdity of the war in which he participated. After France’s defeat at the hands of Germany, he completed research for the Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires, artistically observing the French countryside. As in the case of many architects, decorators, and artists, the protection offered by the museum enabled him not to be unduly disturbed by his political position during this troubled period. He began his research in and around his native village of Cuse (Doubs) in 1942 and 1943, then moved to Cantal in 1944 and to the Pyrénées-Orientales in 1945.
He produced a large number of paintings and engravings, nearly four hundred of which are preserved at the Mucem. These works document a variety of themes, from architecture to landscape, from crafts to agriculture, from the reality of daily life to the spectacle of festivals. The result is an image of rural France at once precise and idealized, almost scientific and almost utopian.
After this field experience, René Perrot devoted most of his time to tapestry and teaching. He was deeply attached to nature and animals, which ended up replacing almost completely, in his artistic production, the human beings who had perhaps disappointed him. He found his inspiration in fauna, flora, the seabed and minerals: their shapes and brilliant colors fed the poetic universe of his works. Beginning in 1945, he contributed to the revival of the Creus workshops in basse-lice, to which he remained faithful. He made more than four hundred tapestry cartoons from which tapestries were drawn by the manufactories of Felletin, Aubusson and Les Gobelins, participating together with the elder Jean Lurçat in the rebirth of this mural art.