1907 to 1990
Riding the Camargue horses
Oil on canvas
130 x 97cm
Signed: Yves Brayer
Private Collection France
Yves Brayer was born in Versailles and is well known for his paintings of every-day life, particularly those focused on the Mediterranean region. Upon his arrival in Paris in 1924 he set out immediately for the academies in Montparnasse and subsequently the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He developed his distinctive style early on and was encouraged by masters such as Jean-Louis Forain.
Whilst he was still a student, his works were displayed at the Salon d'Automne and the Salon des Indépendant. This resulted in him being awarded a state grant, which enabled him to travel and study in Spain. This experience along with the works of art he saw in the Prado had a profound effect on him and his approach to painting. The following year he went to Morocco followed by a stay in Italy where he won the prestigious Grand Prix de Rome in 1930. He returned to Paris in 1934 and assembled his work for an exhibition at the Galerie Charpentier, which is where the public first discovered the powerful and original character of his work. He stayed in Paris for a few years, moving to Cordes sur Ciel in 1940, where a Museum of his work was opened in the Town Hall in 1960.
From 1945 he worked regularly in Provence and the Camargue region, coming under the influence of Cézanne's concept of landscape. His palette now became lighter as he sought to translate in oils and watercolours the light and poetry of the places around him. Brayer travelled extensively to many countries, including Mexico, Egypt, Iran, Greece, Russia, America and Japan, often trying to capture the colours and light of each country.
He held many one man shows all over Europe and there was a retrospective of his Italian work in the Musée Fabre in Montpelier in 1972. There have also been a number of posthumous retrospectives including at the Musée Marmottan in Paris (Homage to Yves Brayer) in 1993 as well as shows in Bergerac and Menton. He was elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1957 and was also president of the Salon d'Automne for five years. Brayer's work can be found in Museums throughout France, including Aix-en-Provence, Épinal, Montpellier and Paris.