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Luc Lepetit

French painter
(1904-1981)


Autoportrait
Salon d'Art moderne de Paris (1969)
Collection particulière

Native to a Protestant family, farmers installed in the North of France in Aix-Les-Orchies, close to the Belgian border, he is the son of Samuel Lepetit, artist painter, cellist, and of Marie-Anaïs Faivre, who is also descended from an intellectual and Calvinist environment. Luc is born in Coutances (English Channel) where the hazard of the appointment drove his father to teach drawing, as he did in Saint-Lô.

After classic studies marked by the excellence of his artistic works, he went to Paris where, burning of the fire of his conquering youth, he enters the school of the "Beaux Arts" in the class of Emile Renard. Gifted pupil, he undergoes the influence of this remarkable teacher, apostle of the intimism, and pays him frequent visits in his Parisian studio of the "place des Vosges".

In the same time, Luc Lepetit follows the courses of the national school of decorative Arts where he gets the highest rewards quickly, among which the first price to the annual competition in 1922. Before long, he exposes at the Independent, then from 1926, at the Salon of the French Artists where he wins very quickly, bronze, silver and gold medals (1928). Later he will receive the Becker (1958), Taylor (1960, 1962) and other prices. Resident at the Medici villa, the Roman period gives the opportunity to discover the primitive Italian painters who delight him. Commissioned by the French government, he stays several months in Algeria in order to achieve the decorations of public buildings. Tireless, he paints landscapes in Corsica, Spain, Brittany and in the south of France.

In Paris, he teaches at the Montaigne high school, makes friends with painters Lucien Fontanarosa, Ceorges Cheyssials and Jean-Gabriel Goulinat with whom he shares the religious convictions. He soon creates a Protestant Artists' society and expresses himself in the magazine "Reforme". This religious aspect was certainly at the origin of the installation of his parents in Monneaux, in 1938. Affiliated to Essômes-On-Marne, this hamlet is a high place of the Protestantism in Brie-champenoise.

Luc Lepetit painting in his
Monneaux estate

Luc Lepetit discovers the Marne valley but he hardly has the time to linger over it. He hardly has painted some views of the small hills between Essômes and Vaux that he has to pack his bag. The war requires him and, in 1940, he joins the front of the Campaign of France. It will last forty-five days. The astounding speed of the downfall of French military forces make that one often forgets that the "phony war" made hundred thousand deaths and thousands of wounded soldiers; among those, gunner Luc Lepetit, blown by an explosion close to his battery. He miraculously survives but loses the use of his left lung, the other being seriously mutilated. This permanent infirmity will turn his painting toward a stronger and stronger pessimism.

[] Fleeing Paris to take care of a very painful facial shingles, Lepetit moves to Monneaux in 1969. Widower for some years, he is accompanied by his second wife, Berthe Aubry, who surrounds him with constant affection. To the concerned artists calling for news, he opposes a total, definitive silence. Only, the faithful friend Jean-Gabriel Goulinat, president of the French Artists and chief of the restoration shop for the national Museums, has the privilege to visit him.

La rentrée du troupeau à Monneaux
Collection particulière

[] Paradoxically, his pictorial activity doesn't weaken. Solitary and fierce, he embraces the area with passion, covering long distance hunting and painting without respite the landscapes surroundings Monneaux, sometimes pushing his peregrinations as far as the Petit-Morin valley.

La Rentrée du troupeau à Monneaux is the ultimate, testamentary work, of Luc Lepetit. [] The painter lays down the brushes definitely. Not by weariness, but the body doesn't follow anymore. The slightest effort exhausts him. It won't be anymore question of painting. Fretting with doubt, he will destroy an important number of paintings. The end of his life is an ordeal. He died on January 2, 1981.


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