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Jacques (Gaston Duchamp) Villon

 (1875 - 1963)
Jacques (Gaston Duchamp) Villon was active/lived in France.  Jacques Villon is known for cubist painting-abstraction, printmaking.

Jacques (Gaston Duchamp) Villon

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Biography from the Archives of askART

A painter and printmaker, Jacques Villon was known for his Cubist-style works, and is especially noted by art historians for his creation of a purely graphic language for Cubism.  He first came to the attention of the American public when his work was included in the 1913 New York Armory Show, which introduced modernism to the United Sates.  All of his work sold at this exhibition.

He was from a cultured family in the Normandy region of France, and was much influenced by his maternal grandfather, Emile Nicolle, who gave him early artistic training.  Villon was born with the name of Gaston Emile Duchamp, and was the older brother of artists Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Marcel Duchamp and Suzanne Duchamp-Crotti.  Honoring the French medieval poet, François Villon, and so as not to be confused artistically with his siblings, he changed his name to Jacques Villon.
He moved to Paris with his brother, Raymond, in 1894, and enrolled in law school at the University of Paris in order to satisfy his father's wish that he study something practical and not only pursue his interest in art.  Living in the bohemian atmosphere of Montmartre where many artists were active, Villon quickly lost interest in law studies and in 1904 turned to the Académie Julian for art education.

He took jobs with Parisian newspapers doing graphics, cartooning and posters.  In 1903, he along with Henri Lebasque, Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard and other modernist-leaning painters organized the Salon d'Automne, which exhibited work earning them the name of Fauves (wild beasts) for their paintings that were aggressively garish in color and abstract in composition.

In 1906, Villon moved away from Montmartre to Puteaux, a suburb of Paris and began the serious pursuits of drypoint and intaglio.  Because he was so serious and unassertive about exhibitions, and because he was away from the centers of art activity in Paris, his public reputation was slow in developing.  However, he did earn prestigious recognition including the Carnegie Prize in 1950, the position of Commander of the French Legion of Honor in 1954, and in 1956, the Grand Prize at the Venice Biennale. 

He remained in touch with his family, and he and his brothers organized a discussion group that included artists and critics and became known as the Puteaux Group, for the village on the outskirts of Paris where the meetings were held.  Included were Francis Picabia, Marcel and Raymond Duchamp, Alexander Calder, and Fernand Léger.  Members were associated with the art movements of Cubism and Orphism, but they advocated wider interpretations of those styles and had a highly controversial exhibition in 1911 at the Salon des Indépendents.

Jacques Villon died in his studio on June 9, 1963, and three years later, Marcel Duchamp, his last surviving brother, organized an exhibition of his work, which was held at the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris.


Biography from
Jacques Villon was born Gaston Duchamp in 1875 in Normandy, France. He was one of six children and four of the children would receive acclaim as artists and sculptors in their lifetime.

It was under the direction of his grandfather, Emile Frederic Nicolle that Villon learned engraving and in the summer of 1894 he studied at L'Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Villon submitted his drawings to local newspapers that featured illustrations. In 1891 Villon, at the age of 16, executed an etching of his father Eugene Duchamp, "Portrait de Mon Pere." This was his first engraving and for this his spiritual guide was Rembrandt. This was exhibited in 1953 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Paris in 1959 and various other major museums throughout France and the United States. In the same year Villon also executed a "Portrait of the Painter-Engraver Emile Nicolle," his grandfather. This work would be exhibited throughout Europe and the United States from 1953 at The Museum of Modern Art to 1975 at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Jacques Villon became quite famous and well received throughout America and Europe and from the 1940's he was exclusively represented by the Galerie Louis Carre. Jacques Villon received honors at various international exhibitions, including first prize at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh in 1950.

Jacques Villon died on June 9, 1963 at the age of eighty-seven in Puteaux, France.

1997 Six Decades of Paintings, Louis Stern Fine Arts West Hollywood, CA
1991 Galerie Carré & Cie Paris, France
1990 Paris 1930, Arte Abstracto/Arte Concreto, , Centre Julio Gonzalez Valence
1988 Musée de Jacobins Morlaix, France
1987 Les Trois Duchamp, Galerie Dina Vierny Paris, France
1987 Paris 1937, L'Art Indépendant, , Musée d'Art Modern de la Ville Paris, France
1986 The Brothers Duchamp, Raymond Duchamp-, Arnold Herstand & Co. New York, NY
1985 Prints 1891-1956, Stadia Graphics Paddington
1983 Grand Palais 1903-1983, Salon d' Automne, Paris, France
1981 - 1982 The Cubist Print, , National Gallery of Art Washington
1971 The Cubist Epoch, Los Angeles County Museum of Art Los Angeles, CA
1963 20th C. Master Drawings, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum New York, NY
1945 , Marcel Duchamp, , Yale University Connecticut

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About  Jacques (Gaston Duchamp) Villon

Born:  1875 - Damville, France
Died:   1963 - Puteaux, France
Known for:  cubist painting-abstraction, printmaking