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André-Léon Vivrel (1886-1976)
was born in Paris on the 8th October 1886. Vivrel passion for painting began in 1901 at the tender age of fifteen. His mother, Léonie, herself an amateur painter, encouraged her son’s artistic abilities. He once said that his very first painting was thanks to his mother ‘I remember it well, it was a small landscape, a view of a wood, I was about fifteen.’ After obligatory military service, Vivrel entered the Académie Julian in 1910 to study with Paul-Albert Laurens. He also frequented the ateliers of Marcel Baschet and Henri Royer at the École des Beaux-Arts. He rented a studio in Montmartre, the centre of all this revelry, at 65 rue Caulaincourt, only eight numbers along from that of Auguste Renoir.
Vivrel exhibited for the first time at the Salon des Artistes Français in 1913 and again in 1914. His career was interrupted by the First World War. Called up on 2 August 1914, he proved his valour at Verdun and was awarded the Croix de guerre for heroic conduct in 1917.
After the war Vivrel returned to his studio in Montmartre and in 1921 began regularly exhibiting works in the Parisians Salons, achieving many awards. In 1922 Vivrel made his first appearance at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. In 1932 Vivrel won the Deldebat de Gonzalva prize and in 1933, a silver medal at the Salon des Artistes Français for Le Temps des cerises.
He later settled in the beautiful region of Loiret, his elder brother, Marcel, had a house in Chatillon-sur-Loire, not far from Champtoceaux, home of Paul Deltombe. It was here that he would explore the landscape genre. Neighbours remembered the picturesque figure of the painter cycling along the riverside with a cloche hat pulled down over his ears, a canvas strapped on his back and painting equipment bulging out of his panniers. When not travelling around France, Vivrel took Paris as his model. He painted the alley ways of Montmartre and the other evocative neighbourhoods and monuments around the capital, such as Notre-Dame Cathedral, which he represented from every side and at all times of day and not forgetting the banks of the Seine, which provided so many surprising views of the city. His Parisian views have close affinities to those of Albert Lebourg, in which we find the same quality of atmospheric light and the dissolution of architectural forms in the sky and water of the river.
André-Léon Vivrel died in Montmartre on 7 April 1976.
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