'Town Hall Square in Aix-en-Provence' by Gabriel Laurin (1962)
'Town Hall Square in Aix-en-Provence', pastel on paper, by Gabriel Laurin, aka Gabriel Laurin d'Aix (1962). The artist captures a snippet of the beauty for which Aix-en-Provence is so renowned. His use of vibrant colour adds such energy to an otherwise tranquil scene. Pink, yellow, green and blue combine to give life to this depiction of the small square in front of the town hall (Hotel de Ville) in Aix. The biography of the artist, Laurin, is absolutely fascinating and just a morsel of his life is summarised below. He was a war hero, an incredibly successful artist and friend to some of the world's greats: Alexander Calder, Max Jacob, André Masson, Mme. Henri Matisse and Ida Chagall, among others.
This painting is in good overall condition and has been newly framed and glazed with anti-reflective glass. It is signed and dated, 1962, in the lower right hand. Upon request a video will be provided.
About the Artist: Seraphin Gabriel Laurin (1901-1973) was born in Aix-en-Provence out of wedlock. At 16, Laurin lost his right hand in an explosion while working in a shipyard for the Navy. The hand was deformed, leaving him only his little finger. He cut his hand off himself in the military hospital against the doctor's wishes. Later, in 1922, in a bar in Paris, he met the great Italian cyclist Dilizzaro. The champion was sketching some of the bar's clients. Laurin was amazed by his artistic talent and told him so. Dilizzaro handed Gabriel a piece of charcoal and told him, "you can do the same". From that moment on Laurin never stopped sketching and painting until he died. He entered the prestigious l'École des Beaux Arts in Aix as an independent student candidate. In 1929, Laurin competed with 20,000 candidates from all over France and won the 7th prize of the prestigious art contest Le Concour Condé . With the prize money of 500 hundred francs, a small fortune at the time, Laurin left Aix and went to Paris, to Montparnasse and attended La Grande Chaumière art school. During the war, Laurin joined the French Resistance. He was asked to organise the Commando operations sent from London. At the beginning of 1944, he became the head of a group of Resistance fighters assembling a formidable intelligence group that would help identify the top agents of the Gestapo and their French collaborators. He refused all honours for his heroism and bravery after the war. In 1946, the Galerie Denis gave Laurin his first exhibition in Paris. It would be a great success. Acclaimed by art critics, his work sold out. His painting, 'The vegetable stall woman' was bought by the French government. Often Laurin would sign his work 'Gabriel Laurin d'Aix' as if Aix was synonymous with Laurin. In 1960, the artist had his first exhibition in Aix at the Galerie Tony Spinazzola on the Cours Mirabeau. The night before, he wrote a very moving letter in one of his sketch pads to his mother, Pauline, his aunt 'La Tante Rose', and his uncle Marius, who were dead for years. In this letter he wrote of his solitude, of his sadness that they were not there for his success in their home town of Aix. They, who had made everything possible. In 1973, Laurin died of cancer with his daughter by his side. He was buried in the cemetery Saint Pierre not far from the tomb of Paul Cézanne and his friend Darius Milhaud.
Dimensions with frame:
H 56.5 cm / 22.2"
W 69.5 cm / 27.4"
Dimensions without frame:
H 40 cm / 15.7"
W 53.5 cm / 21.1"