André Planson (1903 – 1992)
André Planson was born in 1898 at La Ferté-sous-Jouarre, a town on the banks of the river Marne to the east of Paris. After completing his studies at school in Meaux, he received tuition from the landscape painter Paul Mesle. This was followed by a move to Paris where he continued his studies at the Académie Ranson under Maurice Denis.
After winning the Prix Blumenthal in 1933 (a financial award to help French artists granted by the Franco-American Florence Blumenthal Foundation), André Planson’s career was established. Commissions followed from the French Government to execute murals and paintings for various scholastic establishments and theatres. André Planson was equally inspired by music (especially Bach, Couperin and Debussy) and all the varied spectacles that Paris could provide, particularly those of the theatre, music halls, and cafés.
Planson became one of the exponents of the Réalité Poétique group, a term coined in 1949, whose members included Roger Limouse, Christian Caillard, Kostia Terechkovitch, Maurice Briancon, Roland Oudet, and Jules Cavailles. This group shared an obsession with light and a wish to express the feelings this inspired, to achieve a visual poetry.
Despite the attractions of Paris and a very successful painting trip to North Africa in 1955, André Planson had profound ties to La Ferte-sous-Jouarre and its surroundings. He frequently returned to paint deftly and untiringly the winding banks of the river Marne, the rolling cornfields, and the joyous activities of fishing, boating and lingering meals at riverside restaurants, all in accord with the curves of the foliage, the reflections of the light, and the sparkling, vibrant colours.
André Planson also taught at the Académie Julian for fifteen years and was elected a member of the Institut de France in 1960. He died in 1981. Le Musée André Planson in La Ferté-sous-Jouarre holds a permanent collection of his paintings and drawings.