Albert André French, 1869-1954
Albert André, the well-known Post-Impressionist artist and painter of ‘intimiste’ interiors, still lifes and Parisian scenes, was born in Lyon in 1869. André spent his childhood vacations in Laudun where his family owned vineyards. Aged twenty, he left for Paris where he studied painting at the Académie Julian. On the same course, were Louis Valtat, Maurice Denis and Pierre Bonnard. Like them, André began painting in a Post-Impressionist manner, using colours, light and subject matter in a similar way to the mainstream Impressionists but André added more expression and design.
As early as 1894 André participated in the Salon des Indépendants, where his five canvases won the admiration of August Renoir and were bought by the extremely famous and influential art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel. From 1895 to 1901, he exhibited at a number of salons such as the Salon des Cent, the Salon des Indépendants, and the Exposition d’Art Nouveau. In 1904, he participated in the Salon de la Libre Esthétique (Brussels), then, on the invitation of Paul Signac, in the Salon d’Automne. The Durand-Ruel gallery showed his works in solo shows, which was a particular honour. Then in 1912, André’s works were exhibited in New York. Just one year later, André was one of the painters chosen to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Libre Esthétique in Brussels, themed, an interpretation of southern France.
By 1918, André had written a monograph on Renoir, the first by a Frenchman during Renoir’s life. He went on to organize a retrospective of Renoir’s work in 1921, at the Durand-Ruel gallery, three years after the artist’s death. After a fire damaged the museum of Bagnols-sur-Cèze in 1923, André’s friends – Bonnard, Elie Faure, Durand-Ruel, Monet, Marquet, Signac, and Valtat – offered him works for his ‘Museum of empty walls’. It was in his family home that André received his friends, including Cézanne.
He returned to Paris in 1947 where he died on July 11, 1954 at eighty-five years old, just before the opening of an exhibition of his works at the museum of Avignon. The Salon d’Automne organized a retrospective of his works the following year.
At the beginning, André's works were close in colouring and subject to the Nabis painters, Vuillard and Bonnard, but quickly, Renoir became his major inspiration. At various points both the ideas of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism can be seen in his works.
The works of Albert André are represented in many important museums, including, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Chicago Art Institute, the museums in Philadelphia and Washington DC, and the Musée D’Orsay in Paris.