Maurice Brianchon

Maurice Brianchon was born on January 11, 1899 in Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, France. In 1918, he began his education at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, studying under Paul Morand, and where he met artists Roland Oudot, Raymond Legueult, Joseph Inguimberty, Francois Desnoyer and Jacques Adnet. In November 1919, Brianchon exhibited for the first time at the Salon d’Automne. In 1922, after leaving the École des Beaux Arts Decoratifs, Brianchon and his friend Raymond Legueult rented a studio at l’Avenue du Maine, in Paris. At this time, Brianchon created the costumes for the ballet Griselidis, for the Opéra de Paris, which premiered on November 29, 1922. In 1923 he exhibited for the first time at the Salon des Tuileries, and in 1924 was awarded the Prix Blumenthal. In the same year, a scholarship for the decorative arts allowed him to travel to Spain with Raymond Legueult. Collaborating with Legueult in 1925, the pair created the sets for the Opera, La Naissance de la Lyre, at the Opéra de Paris. By the end of October, Brianchon was named Professor of Drawing at the École Estienne.

In 1930, Brianchon exhibited 32 canvases at Galerie Marcel Bernheim in Paris. In Spring 1934, he participated in the Second Groupe des Artistes de ce temps, at the Musée du Petit-Palais, in Paris. Shortly thereafter, at the Venice Biennale, six of his paintings were shown in the French Pavilion. In 1936 he was invited to teach at the École des Arts Décoratifs.

In 1939 Brianchon received the Garden Club Prize of the Carnegie Institute. Following the declaration of the Second World War, Brianchon was drafted in a section of camouflage, where he met many of his friends who were painters or sculptors. Meanwhile, he created the sets and costumes for the Paris Opera. In 1940 he was named a member of the Committee of the Salon des Tuileries. Brianchon continued to create work for the Opera throughout the next decade, as well as being named Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur. In 1949 he was named chief of the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts of Paris. He maintained this position for nearly twenty years and had an immense influence on many students.

In 1951 the Musée des Arts Décoratifs presented an important retrospective of Brianchon’s work at the Palais du Louvre. The catalogue from this exhibition included 530 paintings and as many watercolours, drawings, lithographs and tapestries by the artist. Brianchon established a strong following and enjoyed numerous awards, exhibitions, and other achievements throughout his career, including exhibitions in both New York and Tokyo. He passed away in Paris on March 1st, 1979.