Paul Gen (1895 – 1975)
Painter, draughtsman, engraver and lithographer,he was a genuine protagonist of the artistic life of early-20th-century Montmartre. He started his artistic career painting floral scenes, portarits and the “Moulin de la Galette”. From 1920, Gen began an evolution: urban landscapes are better constructed, he realized his first clown’s portraits, as well as his first depictions of Montfort-Amaury. The following year, Gen Paul became acquainted with many musicians. From 1924, he created a personal form of expressionism, inspired by the Prado Museum, El Greco, Velazquez and Goya. He traveled and worked incessantly until September 1930. In 1928, the Bing gallery exhibited some of his works alongside those of Picasso, Rouault, Braque, and Soutine. Between 1930 and 1945, began the third stage of his carrer, defined “celinian” for his close friendship with Céline. Led by Céline, Marcel Aymé and himself, his circle of intimates comprised classical and jazz musicians, doctors, writers, actors from the Comédie Française and various colorful personalities who used to gather in his atelier. During the late stage of his career, Gen Paul returned to the world of horseracing, represented in oil paintings and gouaches. After his death, several exhibitions were dedicated to his artistic career. The largest was held at the Couvent des Cordeliers in 1995, on the centenary of his birth. The Gazette of the Hôtel Drouot wrote at the time, “Gen Paul is undoubtedly the best expressionist artist, and perhaps the only one, in the French tradition”.