François Desnoyer (1894 – 1972)
François Desnoyer was born in Montauban in 1894, and determined to pursue a career as an artist, moved to Paris in 1912, where he studied for one year, until 1914, at the École des Arts Décoratifs. His studies were interrupted by the First World War where he attained the rank of sergeant, and at the end of the War in 1918 he returned to Montauban.
Desnoyer settled in Paris in 1921 to recommence his artistic career, which he pursued with energy and passion. He was simultaneously influenced by the Cubist and Fauvist movements. He united the rigid construction and geometrical framework of Cubism and the intensity of colour of Fauvism into his unique style, his originality being the ability to find unity in these apparent contradictions. He also found the stimulation of befriending and working with other artists such as Marcel Gromaire, André Lhote and Albert Marquet an equal inspiration.
During the 1930s and 40s, François Desnoyer exhibited in Paris, especially at the Salon des Indépendants. Post Second world War, he settled in Sète on the Mediterranean coast and also worked in Algiers. In 1952 he participated in the Venice Biennale with Fernand Léger and Raoul Dufy, and in 1962 established the Fondation Desnoyer at Saint-Cyprien near Perpignan as a centre for artists in residence and contemporary art exhibitions.
He continued his travels in Asia, Japan, Hong Kong and India, painting in each country and exhibiting his work, having by this time achieved an international reputation.
On his death in 1972, Desnoyer left much of his collection of paintings and archives to the Fondation Desnoyer in Saint-Cyprien, which in 2005 became the Collection Desnoyer in memory of the artist and his paintings.