Charles Filiger

Thann, Alsace, France 28 November 1863 – 11 January 1928 Brest


From the Pont Avon school. Met Gauguin at Atelier Colarossi. Joined him July 90 at Le Pouldu. In 1892 he exhibited  with Rose+Croix. Received a long lived pension from Comte de la Roche Foucauld. He was the favorite painter of Alfred Jarry for whom he illustrated L’Imagier, which he signed with a single L. Called the "most enigmatic figure possible.. was he even influenced by G?"3. Andre Breton bought several works, thought of him as a surrealist, and apart from Pont Aven group. Emile Bernard did not think him a disciple of G. Bernard on his influences: "were the Byzantines and the popular images of Brittany" Friends thought him dead while living in Plougastel-Daoclas, Breton. Refused to sell or see anyone. Correspondence between F and Conte (organizer of Salon de la Rose+Croix) Comte liked him for his mysticism. Filiger said to an art lover who met him face to face, "Your name is not what you say it is. Your name is Vollard and you have come here to speculate on my pictures. Go away!" He was said to show up in several towns in Breton: Arzano, Concarneau (café de Voyageurs), etc., regular as a planet. Studio generally in a cellar or a loft. Several gouaches in Musee d’Art Moderne. Illustrated for L’Imagier founded by Re’my de Gourmont who was enamored by naivety and popular images. In his last years Filiger renounced Christian mysticism and converted to total paganism.3

From The Grove Dictionary of Art:

French painter and engraver. He studied in Paris at the Académie Colarossi. He settled in Brittany in 1889, where he was associated with Gauguin and his circle at Pont-Aven, but he remained a mystic and a recluse. The Breton setting, with its stark landscape and devout peasant inhabitants, provided fertile ground for the development of Filiger’s mystical imagery and deliberate archaisms. Filiger’s friend, the painter Emile Bernard, characterized Filiger’s style as an amalgam of Byzantine and Breton popular art forms. The hieratic, geometric quality and the expressionless faces in his gouaches of sacred subjects such as Virgin and Child (1892; New York, A. G. Altschul priv. col., see 1979–80 exh. cat., p. 71) reveal Filiger’s love of early Italian painting and the Byzantine tradition. Evident too in the heavy outlines and flat colours of his work are the cloisonnism of the Pont-Aven school and the influence of Breton and Epinal popular prints. Filiger’s landscapes, such as Breton Shore (1893; New York, A. G. Altschul priv. col.), share with Gauguin’s paintings an abstract, decorative quality and rigorous simplification.



3)    The Nabis and their period. Charles Chasse’. Translated by Michael Bullock 1969. Lund Humphries, London. First published French 1960.