Marcel Damboise (1903-1992)

Marcel Damboise was born on August 8, 1903 in Marseille. There, he studied briefly at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, but being born in a modest family of craftsmen, he was forced to quit in order to take an apprenticeship as a stone cutter. In 1926, he settled in Paris, and shortly after, in a studio in la Ruche, at the same time as his friend Dideron. In 1928, he married Yvette Dorignac, the youngest daughter of the painter Georges Dorignac. He was consequently connected to a family of artists: his three brothers-in-law were the painters André Hébuterne, Henri Epstein and his friend Dideron. The following year, he showed his work at the Salon des Indépendants where he met Paul Cornet, Charles Despiau, Aristide Maillol, Charles Malfray…who became his masters.

From 1932 to 1935, he stayed at the villa Abd-el-Tif in Algeria. He made the Monument du Fondouk, and numerous personal works, which drew the attention of Albert Camus and allowed the two men to become acquainted. During the war, he made the bust of the actor Jean-Louis Barrault, whom he had met in the camouflage section. He also made a feminine figure for the city of Bordeaux and a stone carving representing Saint Marcel for the Saint-Marcel church of Vitry-sur-Seine. From 1948 to 1954 he stayed in Algeria once more. He spent time with Albert Camus and made the portrait of the latter’s daughter, Catherine. After moving back to Paris, he was appointed Professor at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and during the year 1962-1963, he helped Arlette Ginioux prepare for the Ecole’s entrance examination. At the same time, he became a founding member of the Groupe des Neuf, which joined in the following exhibitions: Le Groupe des Neuf, at the Vendôme Gallery in 1964 and the First festival of contemporary sculpture in Saint-Ouen in 1967.