Robert Couturier (1905 - 2008)

Robert Couturier was born in Angouleme in 1905. His father died when he was seventeen, and he left school to begin working in lithography, making advertising posters, cartoons for stained-glass windows, and theater decor, such as that for the Chauve Souris Theater, based on the designs of André Derain and Marie Laurencin. At the end of the 1920s, when he moved to Paris, Marcel Damboise taught him how to model in clay in his studio at la Ruche. By 1931, he was spending time with Aristide Maillol at Marly-le-Roi, becoming his collaborator in 1938. His close associates were the artists Francis Gruber, Jean-Charles Moreux, Germaine Richier, all of whom he met in 1934, and Louis Süe, whom he met in 1935. From 1934 on, he took part in all the major salons and group exhibitions, and in 1950, his work was shown at the Venice Biennale. In 1937, the architect Emile Aillaud commissioned him to do a series of bas-reliefs for the interior of the Pavilion of Elegance at the Paris Universal Exhibition of that year.

His work was the subject of a solo exhibition in 1970 at the Rodin Museum and another in 1975 at the Paris Mint. For his centennial in 2005, the Maillol Museum organized a retrospective of his work. A founding member of the May Salon, his work has been recognized by several awards, including the Blumenthal Prize in 1930 and the Wildenstein Prize in 1966. A teacher at the Ranson Academy, he was made a professor at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure for decorative arts after the liberation, and in 1963, he took over the studio of Marcel Gimond at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure of the fine arts, a post he held until 1975.