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Georges DORIGNAC (1879 - 1925)

Léon-Georges Dorignac was born in Bordeaux on November 8, 1879 to Anna Amaniou and an unknown father. In 1884, his mother married Jean-Marie Dorignac, who adopted the son as his own. Two years later, Anna had another son, Ernest-Louis. Dorignac entered the municipal fine arts school in Bordeaux at the age of thirteen, and earned several prizes and one mention. He stayed there until 1898, when, at the age of twenty, he moved to Paris. He entered the École des Beaux-Arts there, joining the studio of the painter Léon Bonnat, but he soon left to spend a year in Spain. From 1902 on, Dorignac showed at the Salon des Indépendants. Around this time, he met a young widow named Céline Lacoste and her young daughter, Suzanne. They married and had three other daughters together, Georgette, Geneviève, and Yvette. Dorignac often used members of his family as models. Following the advice of Gaston Meunier du Houssay, an art collector and a good friend, the family moved from Verneuil-sur-Seine to Paris, taking an studio-apartment in the heart of La Ruche, where Dorignac came to know many artists, such as Krémègne. From 1912 to 1913, Dorignac did a series of drawings in red chalk and charcoal of nude women and of peasants, which he showed at the Salon des Indépendants, where he had become a member. These masterful pieces, done with a vigorous, almost sculptural, line, received high praise from the critics: “to state it more strongly, Dorignac’s masked pencil drawings and heavily shaded nudes are a hopeful sign.”(1) His drawings were shown in Durand-Ruel’s gallery. Though called to the front during the First World War, Georges Dorignac was soon released from the army for health reasons. In 1915, the state bought several of his drawings, and are held today in the Musée National d’Art Moderne. Dorignac also executed numerous decorative projects, including stained-glass windows, tapestries, ceramics, and mosaics. He stopped participating in the Salon des Indépendants when he joined the administrative council of the Salon d’Automne. From 1924 on, he showed at the Marcel Bernheim gallery alongside Henri Manguin, Charles Camoin, and Georges d’Espagnat. He died in Paris on December 21, 1925, following an operation. Each of the daughters that Dorignac raised married an artist—Suzanne became the wife of the painter Haïm Epstein, who lived at La Ruche; Georgette married the landscape artist André Hébuterne, and Geneviève and Yvette married the sculptors Dideron and Damboise, respectively. (1) Raymond Bouyer, « Expositions et concours: XXIXème Salon de la Société des Artistes indépendants, » Bullletin de l’art ancien et moderne, supplément hebdomadaire de la Revue de l’art ancien et moderne, n°578, March 29, 1913, pp. 100-101, cited in Catherine Dumas, Georges Dorignac (1879-1925), sa vie, son œuvre, research thesis directed by Dominique Jarrassé, 1998-1999, volume 2.