“Le Hibou” (The Owl), a Limited Edition and Hand-Signed Woodblock by Bernard Lorjou, is a piece for the true collector. This whimsical, abstract, realist, expressionist portrait of an owl is perfect for those who have an affinity for abstracts, birds, nature, and modern art. Depending on your choice of frame, this can be the perfect fit in a myriad of room styles, from a contemporary or modern room to a cabin retreat or eclectic-styled home. Contact us today for custom framing options to best suit this artwork to the style of your residential or commercial project.
In the early years, Bernard Lorjou talked mainly of Tintoretto and El Greco, and his enthusiasm for Rembrandt developed somewhat later. He professed not to like Van Gogh, but it seems evident that Van Gogh’s late Provençal landscapes must have emboldened him in his early approach to both landscape and portraiture.
Lorjou was represented in numerous exhibitions through his career as an artist – in the great salons of Paris and Musee d’ Art Moderne – and alongside some of the leading artists of the 20th Century, including Pablo Picasso, Fernand Leger, Georges Rouault, Marc Chagall, and Raphael Soyer.
Artist: BERNARD LORJOU (1908-1986)
Title: LE HIBOU (THE OWL)
Medium & Surface: COLOR WOODBLOCK ON AUVERGNE PAPER WITH DECKLED EDGES (unframed)
Signed/Numbered: HAND SIGNED & NUMBERED IN PENCIL BY ARTIST (WITH LORJOU CUSTOM WATERMARK EMBEDDED IN PAPER)
Number: 70 OF 150
Year Created: 1965
Country of Creation: FRANCE
Image Area Dimensions:* 10 x 14 INCHES
*The border is not included in the image area dimensions.
Frame Dimensions:** UNFRAMED
**This work of art is being sold unframed. Mock frame images have been provided in the image bank to help you visualize the work after framing. Contact us for Custom Archival Framing options.
Additional Info: THIS WORK HAS NEVER BEEN FRAMED, SO THERE IS NO HINGING OR OTHER REMNANTS FROM FRAMING, WHICH IS RARE TO FIND. IN 1965, LORJOU CREATED WOODBLOCKS FROM HIS ILLUSTRATIONS “LE BESTIAIRE OU CORTÈGE D'ORPHÉE” BY GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE, WHICH WAS PUBLISHED BY EDITIONS D’AUTEUIL AND PRINTED BY ROBERT BLANCHET IN AN EDITION OF 230 COPIES.
APOLLINAIRE WAS A HIGHLY ORIGINAL POET WHOSE VISUAL IMAGERY WITH SURREALIST JUXTAPOSITIONS INSPIRED MANY ARTISTS TO ILLUSTRATE HIS WORK. THE MOST POPULAR BEING ALCOOLS, FIRST PUBLISHED WITH A FRONTISPIECE BY PABLO PICASSO IN 1913. A NUMBER OF ARTISTS ILLUSTRATED HIS BESTIAIRE. IT IS A COLLECTION OF SHORT POEMS, EACH REPRESENTING THE QUALITIES OF A PARTICULAR ANIMAL. WHEN FIRST PUBLISHED, IN 1911, IT WAS ILLUSTRATED WITH WOODCUTS BY RAOUL DUFY.
THE LORJOU WOODCUT FEATURED IN THIS LISTING IS ONE OF THOSE WORKS, “LE HIBOU.” IN THE PHOTO BANK, WE HAVE INCLUDED IMAGES OF HIS STUDIO WITH MANY OF THE WORKS FEATURED IN “LE BESTIAIRE,” WITH “LE HIBOU” (THE OWL) SHOWN LAYING ON THE FLOOR IN THE CENTER OF OTHER WORKS IN ONE OF THE IMAGES. A RARE PROOF OF THIS WORK IS IN THE PERMANENT COLLECTION OF THE VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM IN LONDON, BEQUEATHED BY POET AND SCHOLAR WALTER STRACHAN.
IN APOLLINAIRE’S OWN WORDS, HE DESCRIBES THE OWL:
“MY POOR HEART IS AN OWL
WE NAIL, WE UNCLAMP, WE RECLAIM.
BLOOD, ARDOR, HE IS EXHAUSTED.
ALL THOSE WHO LOVE ME, I PRAISE THEM.”
Artist Info/Bio: ARTIST BIOGRAPHY DOCUMENT IS INCLUDED
Documentation: CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY IS INCLUDED
About the Artist: Bernard Lorjou was born on September 9, 1908 in Blois, France. He was a born painter. In 1924, he headed to Paris, where he lived in extreme poverty in a small room on the rue Raspail. Eventually, his funds ran out, so he started sleeping in the Orsay train station. Within a year, he found work with the silk house Ducharne. He used his income at Ducharne to finance his formal studies at the Evening School of the City of Paris.
At Ducharne, he designed patterns for prints that became sought by fashion houses ranging from Jacques Fath, Balmain, Lanvin, and Christian Dior, and worn by many notable women of the period, including Marlene Dietrich, Dolores del Rio, Jane Aubert, and the Duchess of Windsor.
At Ducharne, Lorjou met his wife Yvonne Mottet, also an artist. Mottet taught Lorjou conventional drawing and her influence on his work and life were profound. Her kind, gentle but direct force humanized and appeased his volcanic personality. In 1934, Lorjou and Mottet setup an art studio in Montmartre, Paris. (See image bank photos) The studio was featured on “L'art vivant – 1949,” which you can search for on the web. Lorjou is featured in his studio at the 9-minute marker. This same studio was also featured in the 1996 movie, “Everyone Says I Love You.” You can find a clip by searching the web for the movie title and Lorjou.
In 1939, Lorjou returned to Blois as German troops began invading France. In 1942, he displayed works for the first time at the Salon des Indépendants. In 1945, Lorjou held his first solo exhibition in Paris at the Galerie du Bac. Less than a year later, the Galerie du Bac held an exhibition dedicated to the emerging style of “Expressionist” artists from different countries, featuring artists such as Soutine, Rouault, Goerg, Ensor, Beckman, and Lorjou.
In 1948, Lorjou was named co-recipient of the coveted Prix de la Critique award with Bernard Buffet. That same year, Lorjou formed the artistic group L’Homme Témoin with the art critic Jean Bouret to defend figurative painting. The group originally comprised 5 members and shortly thereafter expanded to include other artists, including Bernard Buffet, Jean Couty, Minaux, and Simone Dat. (See image bank photo)
In 1950, Lorjou painted and exhibited a series of large format paintings inspired from current events, namely “L'Age Atomique,” today owned by the French Government and held at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. Over the next 10 years, Lorjou painted a series of widely acclaimed works now held by major museums worldwide.
In 1963, Lorjou rented a barge named La Touraine to navigate up and down the Seine River in Paris for 3 days. There were a number of politically-charge monumental paintings on display. Local authorities eventually stopped the barge. (See image bank photos)
In 1968, his wife and companion of 40 years, Yvonne Mottet, passed away from leukemia. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s, Lorjou created iconic works and exhibited them throughout the globe. In 1985, The Palais de l'Europe organized a retrospective on Lorjou. The same year, Lorjou organized his last exhibit in Paris with a series of tarps around the theme of AIDS. On January 26, 1986, the last day of his AIDS exhibit, Lorjou died of an asthma attack. Posthumous exhibits were held in Venezuela and Japan.