Lucien Peri (1880-1948)
Lucien Peri was born in 1880 in Ajaccio, Corsica, where as a child he particularly enjoyed drawing and painting. However, he was encouraged by his family to study law in Paris, where he settled in 1900. During the five years of law studies, he still painted on his various visits to Corsica, exhibiting his early work and gaining exceptional local critical acclaim. By 1905 he had given up law studies and returned to Ajaccio to paint, exhibiting locally and gaining more positive critical acclaim.
Lucien Peri moved to Paris, exhibiting his first painting in 1910 at the ‘Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux Arts’ This was the start of a hugely successful career both in France and Corsica. He painted throughout France and Corsica during his lifetime, often being commissioned to design posters and illustrate books, and fulfilling numerous commissions. The French State bought several of his paintings over the course of his career, the first in 1928 ’ Col de Bavella, Corsica’, followed by two other paintings in 1930 and 1934.
At the end of the 1920’s Lucien Peri was introduced to English artistic circles by the sister of one of his Corsican friends – Lina Baretti, a jewellery designer for Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Chrisobal Balenciaga. He exhibited his painting of ‘Porto Veccio’ in London at an exhibition organised by the Royal Academy, the image being used on the catalogue cover. At around the same time in Paris he had his first one man exhibition at the Galerie Georges Petit, a gallery which specialised in Corsican artists.
By the 1930’s he was well established in Paris. He also signed a contract with Frost and Reed in London, and with a printing firm in Bristol who sold and distributed signed prints by Peri worldwide – USA, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina. In 1937 he became a member of the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts. By 1934 he was exhibiting permanently at one of the largest and most prestigious galleries in Paris, Galerie Borghese on the Avenue des Champs Élysée with other renowned artists such as Raoul Dufy. However, in 1938 Peri moved to the Galerie Champs Élysée nearby. He owned shares in the gallery with fellow artist Jean-Gabriel Domergue, and this was to be his permanent exhibition space until his death in1948.
In 1945 he was awarded by the State the Légion d’Honneur des Beaux Arts. Regarded with great respect by his fellow Corsicans, on one of his last visits to Corsica in 1947 his arrival was announced in ‘Le Patriote’ “We experience a real joy to announce the arrival in our city of an old Ajaccian, Lucien Peri, come to rest in balm of our climate, at the same time reliving the sunny days that inspired his great talent”.
Lucien Peri died in Paris in 1948 after a short illness.
Our painting relates to a poster that Peri designed for the resort of Royan, on the Atlantic coast of France.