Project Description

Jean Frelaut

The Meriadec chapel (Baden, Morbihan golf course) , dated 1910
Oil on canvas
Signed and dated lower left
Dimensions: 61 x 81cm
The work is reproduced in two books:
• under number 171, p. 121 in exhibition catalog “Jean Frélaut, Painter 1879 – 1954” [exhibition at La Cohue de Vannes museum, from April 22 to September 30, 1994], Paris, Éditions Apogées, 1994.
• under number 10.19, p. 50 in Cécile Roux-Frélaut, “Jean Frelaut, 1879 – 1974, the painted work”, Paris, Éditions Apogée, 1998.
Price: €15,000

Jean Frelaut is a delicate painter, engraver and illustrator with a precise craft. He perfectly evokes the simple and melancholy life of the Morbihan countryside, which he knew in all its aspects.

Here, the painter depicts a holy place whose spiritual atmosphere overflows throughout the painting. The chapel, with its typical architecture, is the main subject – around it, the green grass, on the right, a house and trees, on the left, an unobstructed view which overlooks yellow and green fields.

A woman wearing a white kerchief, from behind, walks barefoot on the path that surrounds the church, a jar balanced on the top of her head. The scene exudes a dreamlike atmosphere, time seems suspended: the painter takes us into the Breton dream as Douanier-Rousseau would do.

Although born in Grenoble, Jean Frelaut grew up Breton: his family, originally from Morbihan, returned to settle in the family home for the retirement of the artist’s father, an army general. At 18, Jean Frelaut goes to Paris. He entered the studio of Fernand Cormon at the School of Fine Arts in Paris.

After his studies, he travels to North Africa. Mobilized for the First World War, he returned alive and was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1919. From 1923, he joined the group of independent painters and engravers founded by Jean-Émile Laboureur and Raoul Dufy.

He settled in Morbihan and was appointed curator of the Vannes museum in 1937. He illustrated numerous works, including “Les fables de Jean de La Fontaine” in 1941 and “Le roman de Renard” in 1950.

An excellent engraver and author of a large corpus (more than 1,500 plates, from 1926 to 1954), the Venice Biennale rewarded him with the Prize for French Engraving in 1934.

Museums:

• Paul Landowski Museum, Boulogne-Billancourt (room dedicated to engraving), Rennes Museum of Fine Arts; Nantes Museum of Fine Arts; Museum of the Cohue, Vannes.

Exhibitions:

• “Jean Frélaut” exhibition, Paris, Galerie Barbazanges, 1912 (n°31)

• Exhibition “Jean Frélaut, Painter 1879 – 1954”, Vannes, La Cohue museum, from April 22 to September 30, 1994

• Exhibition “Jean Frélaut, 1879 – 1954, a master of engraving”, Boulogne-Billancourt, museum of the thirties, from January 23 to April 22, 2007

• “Jean Frélaut, 1879 – 1954” exhibition, Morbihan, Faouët museum, from April 3 to May 22, 2011

Bibliography:

• Jacques Laprade, “Praise of Jean Frélaut, ed. Manual Brucker, 1950

• Cat. exp. “Jean Frélaut”, Quimper, Quimper Museum of Fine Arts, 1969

• Cat. raisonné of engravings (1926 – 1924), “Jean Frélaut, 1947 – 1954”, volume 4, Paris, La Bibliothèque des arts, 1999

• Catalog of works from the Jean Frélaut Donation at the Paul Landowski Museum, Boulogne-Billancourt: Michel Lefrançois, “Jean Frélaut, 1879 – 1954, a master of engraving”, Boulogne Billancourt, museum of the thirties, 2007