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Aristide CAILLAUD (1902-1990)

Born near Niort in 1902, Aristide Caillaud comes from a rural background. He goes to Paris in 1937, hoping to live of his art. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. Two years later, the war started. He was called up as a soldier but quickly got captured and taken as a prisoner. During these terrible years, he got back to painting and drawing. Being sick as the war ended, painting became a necessary consolation. 

He started painting more and more, in a frantic way, to forget about the war. He nevertheless painted “The prisoner” in 1946. Painting allowed him to enjoy life again. 

In 1949 he exhibits his work with Jean Dubuffet at the gallery Drouin in the show of Art Brut. It’s a very important step in his career. 

The next year, he shows his work at galleries Barreiro and Stiebel. In 1952 he frees himself from the influence of the art of Jean Dubuffet. The same year, he paints a religiously inspired work about the Virgin for the church of Jaunay-Clan.

From this time forward, he finds his way, his universe, full of nature and spirituality. At first, nature grows to become the most important thing in his work, until the end. The sun and the tree are important elements for the artist. 

The Christian religion, appeared as important for the work of Aristide Caillaud.  “Religions, I had plenty of them since I was born. I lost them all to gain another one, the most wonderful, the most marvelous: painting.” His paintings are full of heavens as if they came from the Bible. However, it depicts a lost paradise as they all are.It’s the paradise before the sin of Adam and Eve.

As a recurrent element in his work, the tree symbolizes the tree of knowledge, the same that was proscribed to Adam and Eve by God.  This tree is a totem of Caillaud’s work, who painted it over and over, from many angles, under many names…

The colors in his work are very vibrant. Influenced by primary colors, he associates them with the colors of the rainbow, mostly blues, yellows and reds. All this is combined to a great technic by a self-taught artist.

Aristide Caillaud died at the age of 88 and became an important figure of the Art Brut movement. Many exhibitions, in galleries and museums, regularly present his work.

Aristide Caillaud portait