Lucien Weil was born in Biesheim, a small village in the Haut-Rhin, on March 10th 1902. At that time, Alsace was a region in Germany. At the age of 15 he studied industrial design at the Société Industrielle de Mulhouse. Then, very quickly, Lucien Weil went on to study art at the Ecole pratique des Arts appliqués in Colmar. He was awarded two scholarships for his talent and perseverance, allowing him to go to Paris and enrol at the Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs in 1920. In 1923, he was awarded the Prix d'Honneur and, in 1924, his diploma as Professor of Drawing. In 1926, he was awarded the second Grand Prix de Rome with the work "La Charité", now in the Musée d'Unterlinden in Colmar.
Lucien Weil exhibited regularly at the Salon des Artistes français from 1925. In 1930, he married the painter Madeleine Lestienne (1905-1994) and in 1934, Lucien Weil obtained a scholarship from the Académie des Beaux-Arts to study at the Casa Velázquez in Madrid.
On 2 September 1939, the artist was enlisted. Wounded on 21 June 1940, he was taken prisoner of war in Stalag III A in Luckenwalde, near Berlin. In 1941, Lucien Weil was repatriated to the military hospital in Vichy. Demobilised in Clermont-Ferrand at the end of July of the same year, he took refuge in Auvergne in the free zone. From 17 December 1941 to 1 January 1942, he exhibited his paintings, portraits, figures and landscapes of Auvergne, as well as his watercolours from the Stalag at the Lorenceau Gallery in Vichy. From 1943, when the free zone was abolished, he took on a false identity and became Lucien Walon. On several occasions, he changed his address to escape the Nazi regime. From 23 March to 3 April 1945, he exhibited some of his works in Auvergne at the Nouvelles Galeries in Aurillac. There are only a few paintings left from this period, as the artist had sold most of his production by then.
After the war, Lucien Weil developed strong ties to the town of Erquy (Brittany), until his death in the hospital of St Brieuc on April 3, 1963, at the age of 61. He is buried in Viroflay, near Paris.
The French State, as well as various institutions and the museums of Colmar, Cambrai, Douai and Strasbourg own his works.
A painter of portraits, landscapes, seascapes and watercolours, it is the portraits that constitute his great speciality. He chose his models from all age groups, from young children to the elderly. He gives life and soul to each portrait, the play of light and shadow creating a familiar and intimate atmosphere. A clear example is this portrait of Jean Joly (Vichy 1900-1952), decorative painter and president of the "Compagnons de la Peinture". The artist is depicted with his palette and the Auvergne landscape in the background.
Sources: Christel Lesgourgues: Biography of Lucien Weil; Archives de France.
Artist: Lucien Weil (1902-1963).
Signed lower right.
Medium: Oil on panel.
Condition: Excellent condition.
Dimensions: 50 x 46 cm / 19 ¾ x 18 in.
Frame: 63.5 x 59.5 cm / 25 x 23 ½ in. Gilt wood, very good condition.