Marcel Mouly (1918–2008)
Marcel Mouly's boldly colored, semi-abstract works attract private and public collectors around the world, whether his still-lifes, landscapes or port scenes. Having studied with masters of contemporary art, Mouly met and studied with Picasso, and having created a unique, trademark style, Mouly developed a reputation as one of the most important modernist artists of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries.
Marcel Mouly was born in Paris, France on February 6, 1918. His interest in art developed in grade school. A precocious, mischievous child, Mouly was first sent to a drawing class as a form of punishment. However, Mouly loved learning to draw, and exhibited a natural artistic talent, though his path to a career as an artist proved not to be a linear one. After leaving school at 13, Mouly worked as an apprentice to a local dentist, and later worked for a wine merchant, carrying heavy baskets of wine to make his deliveries.
In 1935, while still employed by the wine merchant, Mouly began taking night classes in the arts at the Cours Montparnasse 80, where he remained until his military duty began in 1938. After France fell to Germany in June 1940, Mouly became a civilian again, and eked out a living during these difficult economic times working odd jobs. Mouly befriended a fellow artist named Bernard la Fourcade, and the two of them established a studio in Auteuil. During a trip to Normandy in 1942, the pair was stopped by German officials, and were questioned for their lack of travel documentation, which was then required by the Vichy government. Mouly and la Fourcade were arrested shortly after their return to Paris, and imprisoned as spies. During his solitary confinement, Mouly solidified his plans to make a name for himself as an artist.
Shortly after being released from prison, Mouly, along with fellow artist Édouard Pignon, rented the Boulogne studio of famed modernist sculptor Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973). Mouly learned a great deal from Lipchitz, particularly about the style of Cubism. By the mid-1940s, Mouly's art began to gain notoriety from his peers and collectors; in 1945 his paintings were exhibited in the Salon d'Automne in Paris, and the following year at the Salon du Mai. Mouly's first one-person exhibition was held in 1949 at the Libraire Bergamesque.
Mouly continued to develop his technique, expertly incorporating his formal art education and the influences of such masters as Picasso and Matisse to create his own unique, trademark style. While one may note his use of the deep, bold colors typically used in Matisse's fauvist works, or the cubism of Picasso, Mouly's style is uniquely, unmistakably his own. In the mid-1950s Mouly began to work in the printmaking method of lithography, and would soon gain a reputation as a master printmaker, in addition to a brilliant and skilled painter.
Marcel Mouly's work has been exhibited all over the world, including in the permanent collections of more than 20 museums, such as the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in Japan, the Museum of Geneva, the Museum of Modern Art in Helsinki, and Paris' Bibliotheque Nationale. He has also been the subject of numerous books, and recognized by such honors as the Chevalier de L'Orde des Arts et Lettres (1957) and the Premier Prix de Lithographie (1973).
Though Marcel Mouly died on January 7, 2008, weeks shy of his 90th birthday, his art and his legacy live on. “His art is pure and direct in its message,” art historian and writer Joseph Jacobs said. “It is an art about beauty and life, an art about the more familiar and comfortable world we live in and know. In this respect, Mouly is quintessentially French, his roots firmly planted in the School of Paris. Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Rouault, Vlaminck, Chagall, Vuillard and Dufy are his patrimony, and he has carried their mantel with unflagging dedication.”
Articles About Marcel Mouly
Marcel Mouly at The Official Blog of Park West Gallery
- Musee de Changhai China
- Kwai Fung Hip Gallery, Hong Kong
- Park West Gallery, Michigan
- Le Domaine Perdu Galerie Meyral Perigerd with his son Pierre, a sculptor
- Philipps Gallery, Palm Beach, Florida
- Opera Gallery, Paris
- University Museum, Carbondale, Illinois with Pierre Mouly
- Galerie Nolan Ranking, Houston, Texas with Pierre Mouly
- Galerie du Chateau, Noirmoutier, France
- Park West Gallery, Michigan