The new exhibition of the Earthenware Museum, in Nevers, is dedicated to the artist André Deslignères

He engraved, he painted, he carved the dies of his prints, he assembled the printing characters of his works… To say that André Deslignères is an artist who is both complete and curious about artistic techniques and artistic life that goes with it seems the right definition.

It’s not easy to sum up an entire artist’s life, throughout his works, punctuated by the quiverings and tumults of everyday life, right in the heart of the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century.

At the Museum of Earthenware and Fine Arts, we have tried and above all succeeded in this audacity to retrace the rich career of the Nivernais engraver. “The team has been working intensively on this exhibition since January. It’s really a project shared by different City departments: the museum, the media library, the technical departments,” explains Marie-Lys Chevalier, recently appointed head of the heritage and transmission department.

On the ground floor of the cultural establishment, the visitor is immersed in all of Deslignères’ works. He also discovers a glimpse of his material conditions, of his life shared between Nevers and the temptations of Parisian days in the Montmartre district. The family of André Deslignères, who have maintained ties in the Nièvre, have been a valuable support by lending workshop notebooks or photos (25 works lent by the family, the association of Friends of the museum lent etchings and watercolors).

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A link between Nivernais and Parisian artists

“Deslignères was a link between artists from Nivernais and artists from Paris. We know his engravings, but there are also watercolors. The aspect of striving in the art is made visible. The family also lent us a sketch. You can see the artistic approach, ”describes the curator.

The exhibition is presented in three parts. In a simple and educational formula, through color codes and texts written in more or less large characters, the visitor is immediately guided through the great moments of the artist’s journey. “We prioritized the information with divisions and sub-divisions. The idea is to come and go, to go at your own pace”.

After the range of techniques, the visitor enters directly into the atmosphere in which André Deslignères bathed, including his days in Montmartre. “A whole section is devoted to the nude. This is a less famous aspect of his work. It was an important theme in the training of artists and the milieu of Montmartre. Deslignères lived in a shared studio. It was moving a lot.”

The urban world and the rural world

A part stops on his years in the trenches, during the 1st World War, period during which André Deslignères continued to engrave prints on wood.

In his artistic career, the latter also stopped on the urban world with the workers, following the example of the print of the seamstress. The rural world also attracts him, represented in engravings and paintings.

The 3rd section of the exhibition gives space to the various productions “more or less sponsored”, specifies Marie-Lys Chevalier.
The three central windows evoke the groups in which he participated in Paris and Nevers. “He was president of the Nivernais artistic emulation group from 1926 to 1964,” notes Corinne Mangel, deputy delegate for culture and heritage, who underlines, “the colossal work. These are overlays. We can’t imagine”, by André Deslignères.

After discovering this rich and varied artistic palette, this exhibition also allows visitors to question themselves about art. A subject, almost of a philosophical nature, on which Mayor Denis Thuriot insisted during the opening, Saturday, May 21. “With this exhibition, we learn to look at art. We sharpen our artistic gaze which must remain subjective”.

To be visited, why not several times, until September 18 during Heritage Days.

organic express. André Deslignères was born on September 25, 1880 in Nevers. His family moved to Paris, which allowed him to join the Germain Pilon school and perfect his drawing techniques. André Deslignères practiced copper engraving and signed his first creations in 1898, notably etchings. In 1910, he produced his first woodcuts. He remained attached to Nièvre, regularly visiting his friends and taking the presidency of the Nivernais artistic emulation group from 1926 to 1964. He participated in the Group’s publications and even tried his hand at decorating earthenware. André Deslignères died on December 18, 1968 in Marines, in Val-d’Oise, where he was buried.

Gwenola Champalaune


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