LA PATELLIÈRE Amédée Dubois de
( 1890-1932) French painter; born near Nantes; died in Paris. Received a classical education in Nantes and in Vannes, thought of preparing for the Naval Academy, then for a while took law courses at the Faculty of Nantes. Attracted to painting, he left in 1912 for Paris where he worked with his friend Gérard Cochet at the Académie Julian. Wounded twice during the war of 1914-1918, his health is definitely affected. La Patellière belonged to the generation of painters which, after the 1914-1918 war, found itself in a completely changed world in which the triumphant Cubist movement was imposing a new vision, a new order which had all the appearances of disorder. Amid such an abundance of new roads and stupendous promises, La Patellière's work invited repose and meditation, and proved that there could be several solutions to the problems of the time. Today we see that his art, beneath its apparent calm, sought to resolve the same problems, and that the means he employed were not so very different from those which then appeared revolutionary. Like the Cubists, La Patellière returned to strictly constructed compositions, seeking a distribution of objects in three-dimensional space which still retained unity of surface, refusing the picturesque, using light to give rhythm to his compositions and not to transform the colours, limiting himself to simpler forms and to a range of sober tones dominated by browns. This is equally true of the Cubists. However, in his strict observance of these principles, La Pittellière wished to keep in close touch with Nature, with the inner reality of things, and so was able to use the poetic feeling which springs from a reverence for Nature; thus his work has a quiet poetry which harks back to the peasant inspiration of the Le Nain brothers. Through the sense of mystery which arises from this sentimental aspect of his work, La Patellière's contribution to modern painting deviates from more modern formulas, particularly those of Cubism; no doubt that is why he has been given a place rather outside contemporary painting, a solitary place, despite the admiration given him by the other artists who were his friends.
On the other hand, because his powerful personality did not exercise all the influence which might have been expected of it, because he died too soon, without revealing his full potentialities, and, finally, because his return to tradition was not a return to inertia, ignorance and mediocrity, but a quiet and deeply positive attitude, La Patellière's art has a value which extends beyond the modest place he is given at the moment. He has illustrated several books, notably Colline of Jean Giono. He died in Paris January 9, 1932 after a very brief illness. The Musée National d'Art Moderne held a large retrospective exhibition of his work in 1945 which was held again in Liège and Brussels.
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