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BIOGRAPHY - Gen Paul (1895 - 1975)

On July 2, 1895 Joséphine Marie-Louise Recourcé, age twenty-three, and seven months pregnant, suddenly found herself in labor and without assistance. Running out to the sidewalk at 96 rue Lepic in Montmartre, she attracted the attention of a neighbor who sized up the situation and lent a hand. Several hours later, Eugène Paul made his appearance. In later years, he would joke about having been born on the sidewalks of Montmartre, a statement that, while not factually correct, nonetheless expressed his enduring affection for his natal neighborhood. Paul’s mother worked as an embroiderer and his father, Eugène, senior, was a plumber by day and musician by night. They would marry two years later on June 5, 1897 and move down the block to 106 rue Lepic.

During his earliest years, Paul attended the “école maternelle” on the rue Caulaincourt a few blocks from his home. [i] At age seven, he transferred to the public school on the rue Lepic. Because his mother worked full-time—and his father was only an occasional presence in his life—Paul was often left to find his own way during school breaks, which was how he discovered the street life of the neighborhood. Montmartre has long been romanticized as a bohemian enclave where modernism found its earliest advocates, but it was not a particularly peaceful place. The neighborhood was generally poor and the active cabaret/club scene drew visitors from all walks of life, some of them decidedly unsavory. For a young boy, the opportunities for getting in trouble were plentiful.

By age fourteen, he finished his formal education, and received his graduation certificate, which noted that he had “a remarkable gift for drawing”. [ii] His talent was sufficiently impressive that his art professor, Monsieur Merlin, spoke to Joséphine about allowing her son to continue his studies in the field. The result was a brief period when Paul received drawing instruction in the evenings from two, city-funded schools. In an interview many years later, the artist recalled that his mother often requested that he draw a variety of designs for her embroidery work, noting that drawing “...became a genuine sickness, the only thing that interested me. When I didn’t have a pencil available, I would swipe pieces of charcoal from the vendor and draw on the sidewalk...” [iii] The director of the art school on the rue Lepic tried to place the fledgling artist as an apprentice with an interior designer, but the effort proved futile when he learned that the position had already been filled. At this point, in 1909, Paul’s father stepped in and found an apprenticeship for his son with one of the local butchers. Not surprisingly, the younger Paul hated it.

Within a year, perhaps shortly after his father’s death in 1910, Paul obtained an apprenticeship more suited to his talents and interests with a tapestry designer/decorator named Monsieur Mercier. Although he had dreams of being a painter—or a cyclist—or an actor—Paul remained at Mercier’s for three years, learning the craft of tapestry design and undoubtedly absorbing considerable knowledge of composition and color in the process. At the same time, he tried zealously to develop a career as an actor. He was certain that his “big break” had arrived when he was asked to replace an actor at the Théâtre de Montmartre for one night only. His debut, however, turned into his swan song as well when friends in the audience made fun of his performance. In spite of the immediate disappointment, Paul kept trying to find work as an actor, albeit without much success. His fascination with theatre never flagged, however, and actors as well as scenes from the performances eventually became a regular motif in his paintings.

The year 1913 brought many changes. The tapestry design firm closed and Paul was left without gainful employment. He worked a number of temporary jobs to make ends meet, first as a designer of cigar boxes, which paid almost nothing. The next venture was a stint as a caricaturist, having identified the busiest metro stops as his most promising market. He also worked as a tour guide in the Montmartre Cemetery, and as a newspaper hawker on the streets.

At the end of a particularly difficult day trying to sell newspapers, Paul and a friend decided to hire a carriage back to Montmartre, knowing that they could not pay for it. Their plan was to jump out of the carriage once it got close to their destination and then run into the side streets where they could make their way home through the narrow passageways and hidden courtyards. Neither of them considered the possibility that they might get caught up in the ever-present gang problem in the neighborhood. Paul’s friend jumped out of the carriage right into a police action dealing with the infamous Bonnot Gang and was wounded and arrested; the police assumed that he was one of the gang members. [iv] Paul had jumped out of the other side of the carriage without being noticed. Although his friend recovered from both his wound and his encounter with the police, the incident served as an early lesson about the risks of even moderately criminal behavior.

With only marginal work available to him, Paul was eager to respond when the French government issued a general mobilization call after declaring war against Germany and Austria-Hungary on August 2, 1914. He was sent briefly to Antibes, but then to Lorraine where the fighting at Bois-le-Prêtre (Priesterwald in German) was fierce. He was wounded in his right foot and was sent back to Paris to recover, rejoining his unit again in a few months. The trench warfare was brutal and casualties were extraordinarily high. On June 24, 1915 Paul was hit by shrapnel in his lower right leg, one solider among the thousands who were killed or wounded that day. He was lucky in the sense that he was sent to a hospital farther from the front because his wounds were less immediately fatal than others. As it turned out, Dr. René Leriche, who was in charge of the makeshift hospital where Paul was transferred, utilized a technique of cleaning wounds and then lying the soldiers flat on their backs end-to-end so that infections were minimized. For many, this proved to be a life-saving technique.

For Paul, however, the shrapnel was not only in his leg, but adjacent to his spine; the doctor was able to remove it all, but the process was horrific. The only painkiller available was “kif”, a mixture of hashish and tobacco. Paul’s condition deteriorated, and when finally asked for his last request, he said he wanted to see his mother one last time. When Joséphine arrived from Paris, her son was semi-comatose and the only hope of saving his life meant amputating his leg. She gave permission to proceed and on September 29, 1915, Paul was transferred to another hospital to recover. His condition was extremely fragile, and he was only able to travel to the small town of Ambérieu, about twenty-five miles northeast of Lyon. There he was placed in the care of a local nurse who treated patients in her own home until they were stable enough to travel further. That nurse was Marie de Saint-Exupéry, whose medical knowledge and extensive network of professional contacts meant that she could could access the medications and assistance necessary to provide Paul with the care he needed. In late March 1916, he was well enough to travel to Besançon where he received an artificial leg and learned how to walk again.

Back in Paris, he received the Croix de Guerre for bravery, many years later, in October 1934, he would receive the Legion of Honor award for military service to his country. In addition to this official recognition, Paul was guaranteed medical care, including morphine, for the rest of his life as well as a pension that was intended to provide him with economic stability. The trauma of his experience, however, left him with what is now known as post-traumatic shock disorder, a condition for which there was no therapy at the time.

As news from the Western Front continued to dominate the front pages of the Paris papers, Paul found comfort with Fernande Desirée Pierquet, a local woman who had been his pen-pal during his months of convalescence. She was just a year younger than Paul, and like him, a proud resident of Montmartre. She worked as a dressmaker’s apprentice at the prestigious House of Worth. [v] The two met in person when Paul returned to Montmartre and their friendship soon turned to love. They were married on August 26, 1916. The newlyweds began their married life in the eighteenth-century building at the intersection of avenue Junot and the rue Girardon where Fernande had lived for some time. The building remains today, with a sign proclaiming the “atelier de Gen Paul” above his studio entrance.

The thought of working as a painter had not yet occurred to Paul, however. His initial forays into finding employment in 1916 consisted of trying to work the streets of Montmartre as he had before the war, but his physical limitations made that difficult at best. Isolated during the day while Fernande was at work and having only a small income of his own, Paul gradually began to draw again. When his old friend Grenouille (Frog) offered to sell his sketches of the neighborhood for him, Paul was delighted and a career was born. Initially the drawings sold for three francs each, but within months, the price rose to six francs; and the sketches became watercolors and gouaches. In that first flush of excitement about selling his art work, Paul signed his work with a variety of pseudonyms; Elisée Brulé and Armand Coty to name two. Stylistically, these pieces often resembled the work of either Honoré Daumier or Amadeo Modigliani, not because they were his particular favorites, but because the tourists loved those styles. Perhaps most important, this seemingly light-hearted and casual work provided Paul with time to study technique in detail and to master the very different approaches to composition and color exemplified in the work of Daumier and Modigliani.

By 1917, the artist decided that it was time to claim his own style and his own name. It was then that he began to sign his work as “Gen Paul”, a name that he thought sounded American—and therefore, good for sales. [vi] This was followed by the decision to lease the ground floor of the building beneath Fernande’s apartment so that he could work full-time as a painter—and not have to climb stairs too often. The location also meant that it was relatively convenient for friends, and potential clients, to stop by on a more casual basis. Gradually, Gen Paul was healing physically and regaining his enthusiasm for life. The periods of hopelessness and despair occurred less frequently, although they would never disappear completely.

Two years later, Paul expanded his repertoire further by working as a printmaker for Eugène DeLâtre, the prominent etcher and printer. Like Paul, DeLâtre often depicted scenes of life in Montmartre, and he hoped to encourage his colleague to consider prints as a possible source of income. From Paul’s perspective, this was an offer too good to refuse. He began working as a traditional etcher and gradually mastered color etching and lithography. By 1922, he had completed aquatints of forty different scenes from the neighborhood, which were published as a limited edition album entitled Autour de nos moulins (Around our windmills). (The Moulin de la Galette, the setting for paintings by Pierre August Renoir, Pablo Picasso and many others, was a scant half block from Paul’s home and studio.)

Paul’s love of theatre also resurfaced during the early 1920s. He began frequenting the Thursday matinées at the Cirque Médrano (formerly the Cirque Fernando favored by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec), where he befriended several of the clowns. Foottit, Chocolat, Rhum and Charley all became personal friends—and drinking buddies—as well as models for Paul’s paintings. Like the prints he made at DeLâtre’s, the clown paintings attracted a wide range of buyers.

As the decade passed, Paul’s confidence in his artwork grew. He began exhibiting regularly at the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Indépendants in 1920, finding not only acceptance, but support among his colleagues associated with the Salon. Just a year later, the State purchased his painting of the Place Pigalle for 300 francs, a clear indication that the official Paris art world supported his work. By the mid-1920s, Paul’s paintings were on display at the Savill Gallery in London as well as the Breekpot Galerie in Anvers (Antwerp).

Most exciting, however, was his first trip to New York in the summer of 1924; the objective was to study the American art market, learn about the galleries in the city, and of course, explore the United States. Like most Parisians, he was already enamored of the African-American jazz that was filling the streets and clubs of Paris in the 1920s, and he was eager to learn more about the culture that produced it. [vii] Like his father, Paul was an amateur musician; he played the cornet and regularly frequented the jazz clubs of Montmartre.

Paul’s career began to flourish by the mid-1920s. His earliest clients were often his fellow Montmartrois such as the art collector Georges Dorival, who lived nearby on the Place Calvaire and knew most of the painters on La Butte. Paul’s studio became a gathering place for many of the resident artists, musicians, writers and performers in the neighborhood; he left the door open when visitors were welcome, and his proximity to the Place du Tertre meant that he often hosted a steady stream of guests. [vii] Most were friends and colleagues eager for a chat about the latest happenings in the arts community, but there was also the occasional collector or tourist who was charmed to find an artist’s studio open to the public.

The gallerist Henri Bing opened yet another venue for Paul’s work when he proposed a solo exhibition at his gallery near the Champs-Elysées. The show featured forty canvases and a substantial exhibition catalogue with an essay by Bing about Gen Paul’s role in the context of contemporary art. Bing’s analysis positioned him as the heir to the expressionistic tradition of van Gogh (via Georges Roualt and Chaim Soutine), but also as a painter deeply engaged in his own era, celebrating the modern spirit of ordinary people. Because he unified these two perspectives, Bing proclaims that Gen Paul is “un grand peintre.” He elaborates on this further, writing: “Connected to the modern life that inspires him, and which he translates, he captures its rhythm and meaning. The spirit and execution of his work have an inexhaustible verve, from which all [signs of] effort and tranquility have disappeared. He has an innate aptitude, a natural gift of ease in implementation, so much so that he seems to paint as one writes or as one speaks. If the name of a painter can evoke a race, a mentality, a time, that name will be Gen Paul." [viii] The exhibition was a success, in part because it resulted in a one-year contract with Georges Bernheim, whose gallery on the rue faubourg SaintHonoré would make his work visible to even more sophisticated collectors.

The decade closed with a misadventure during a painting trip to Algeria and Spain in June 1929. Somewhere during his travels in Algeria, Paul had contracted typhoid fever, and by the time he reached Madrid, he was disoriented and confused. Fortunately he was able to get in touch with Ignacio Zuloaga, a friend and fellow painter from Montmartre who was visiting his family in Spain. Zuloaga made arrangements for Paul’s medical attention as well as his treatment during his recuperation. In spite of the setback, Paul was back in Paris in time to submit his work to the Salon d’Automne—and to watch the art market fall apart when the American stock market crashed that October.

The 1930s brought some significant changes to Paul’s life, not the least of which was his newfound friendship with Dr. Louis Destouches, better known as the writer LouisFerdinand Céline. Paul first encountered Céline in his role as a physician in 1932; he prescribed a nutritional regimen that he vowed would keep Paul healthy. The proposed diet was grilled steak, green salad with olive oil or lemon juice, yogurt, fruit and mineral water for his main meal every day. Somewhat surprisingly, Paul took this advice to heart and followed this diet closely for the rest of his life. There were still the occasional drinking binges—usually at the Lapin Agile cabaret or a jazz club—but these events became less and less frequent.

Like Gen Paul, Céline fought in the trenches during World War I and was badly wounded. On his return to Paris, he studied medicine and then emigrated to Detroit where he served as a staff doctor at one of the Ford plants. It was not until he returned to Paris in 1929 that he began writing his groundbreaking novel, Voyage au bout de la nuit (Journey to the End of the Night) in the innovative, vernacular style that has long been recognized as one of the key developments of twentieth-century literature. Céline asked Paul to illustrate a special edition of the book in 1935; the result was a series of forty two-color lithographs.

The friendship between Paul and Céline was probably one of the most significant in both men’s lives, but it became increasingly challenging as Céline involved himself in promoting the fascist ideas and practices of Mussolini. Although he seems to have been ambivalent about Hitler, he nonetheless wrote fiercely antisemitic pamphlets throughout the 1930s, a decision that would ultimately force him to flee his homeland. [ix]

As the political situation in Europe worsened over the course of the decade, Paul’s personal losses also mounted. Suzanne Valadon, who had been an early supporter and longtime friend, died of a stroke on April 7, 1938 at age seventy-two. Paul organized her funeral and André Utter, her ex-husband, led the funeral procession. Even worse news arrived when Fernande Paul was diagnosed with tuberculosis. She and Paul left Paris in July for the Auvergne where she could enter a sanitorium run by the Sisters of Saint Vincent de Paul near Clermont-Ferrand. The hope was that the mountain air would help her to recover. Paul stayed in a the nearby village of Saint-Saturnin where there was a small artists’ colony. There he worked on illustrations for a deluxe edition of another of Céline’s books, Mort à credit (Death on the Installment Plan).

Fernande seemed to be improving by September, so Paul decided to travel south from Clermont-Ferrand through southwestern France and then on to Madrid, knowing that she was in good hands while he was gone. He returned to Paris in early 1939 broke and desperate. The political turmoil in Europe was disastrous and the economy was worse. There was no work for a Montmartre painter. As always, Paul’s neighbors came to his aid, this time in the person of Jean-Gabriel Daragnès who helped him out financially as well as by recommending that their mutual friends support the cause too. One of those friends was the art historian Louis Hautecoeur who wrote to the director of the national museums of France suggesting that it was time that they purchased one of Gen Paul’s paintings for the Luxembourg Museum, noting that an oil painting titled Violiniste en rouge (Violinist in red) was available for 6,000 francs. It was done.

On September 3, 1939 France declared war on Nazi Germany and like so many others, Gen Paul packed up his things and hit the road. It seems likely that he was heading towards Clermont-Ferrand where Fernande was now dying from the cancer that developed even as her tuberculosis seemed to be improving. She died on October 6, 1939 and was buried in St. Vincent Cemetery in Montmartre where Paul had prudently purchased two plots back in 1920. After the funeral, he left Paris again, this time for Samary-sur-mer, a small town east of Marseille on the Mediterranean sea. The farther away he was from the German border, the better. He remained there with his friend Pierre Dumas and a number of other artists, working hard and writing to friends still in Paris. In less than a year, Paris was occupied by the Nazis and General DeGaulle was calling for resistance from his exile in London. Paul eventually determined that he would be better off in Montmartre where he could work and perhaps sell a few paintings. His mother’s letters encouraged him to return, saying that things were not too bad. [x]

Montmartre, as has always been its custom, remained Montmartre. Paul re-opened his studio and began hosting his Sunday morning gatherings again. The cabarets and restaurants were busy, albeit with more Germans than anyone really liked, but they nevertheless maintained a semblance of normality. Tales of a silent resistance abound. The Lapin Agile cabaret re-opened in 1941, and as the story goes, the owners served the Wehrmacht soldiers while sheltering a Jewish doctor in the backstage space. Similarly, the performers undermined the Nazis to their faces, knowing that they didn’t understand a word of their dense, Montmartre slang. It’s impossible to verify these claims today, but they are consistent with the anarchic spirit that has long characterized Montmartre.

During the war years, Paul sold his work directly to his clients, occasionally selling other painters’ work to friends and acquaintances as well. That way, he was sure of who he was doing business with and there would be no confusion about transactions through a third party. Most of his imagery during this time consisted of performers, either in the act of singing, dancing, acting or as portraits. In early June of 1944, the friendship between Paul and Céline came to an abrupt halt. Resistance partisans were increasingly collecting the names of collaborators in Montmartre, and when Céline was approached, he refused to defend Gen Paul against the charges of collaboration. Naturally, Paul heard about it through the neighborhood grapevine and was furious. Just a few days later, Céline and his wife, whose fascist views were very public, fled France as news of the advancing Allied troops reached Paris.

Paul made an exit of a different sort soon after the end of the war, sailing once again for New York. He was met by Maurice Chalom, who introduced him to American collectors and commissioned Paul to create a series of six images of Central Park—for the remarkable sum of $6,000. Such a reception only reaffirmed Paul’s fondness for New York, which seems to have suited his taste for vibrant urban life. He returned again in May 1948 for a honeymoon with his new bride. Gabrielle Abet, age twenty-two, was introduced to Paul in 1947, reportedly by a Spanish painter who was a mutual acquaintance. In less than a year, the couple married. And immediately after the honeymoon, she filed for divorce and moved out. [xi]

Aside from his ill-conceived marriage, the post-war years were full of new challenges and success. The Sunday morning gatherings at Paul’s studio were as popular as ever, and as his own reputation spread, there were a growing number of young artists requesting instruction from him. Paul protested that he wasn’t qualified to teach, but he eventually realized that the students wanted his advice and counsel about their work rather than a formal or technical education; after that, he opened the studio to students twice a week.

In late 1949, Paul picked a drunken fight with a fellow patron of the Vieux Chalet bistro on the nearby rue Norvins. The owner tossed him out, but his opponent also stepped outside and began to beat him. His prosthetic leg flew off and Paul’s good leg was fractured. For the next three months he would recuperate under the auspices of the Saint Maurice hospital near the Bois de Vincennes. When he moved home again in midFebruary, 1950, his tenant Pierre Gougerot introduced him to a young guitar player, Chantal Le Bobinnec. She would play while he painted and as they became friends, she assumed responsibility for overseeing his domestic arrangements. This arrangement was a significant benefit to Paul, not only because he enjoyed her companionship, but also because he genuinely needed someone with two good legs to take care of his daily affairs. Chantal remained with him until 1964.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Paul’s paintings were much in demand. His sales in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles were excellent, and his work was perpetually popular in Montmartre. One of the highlights of these years was a solo exhibition in New York where he entertained many friends, clients and celebrities at the Langwell Hotel at 44th St and Broadway. Paul was in his element when his old friend Edith Piaf stopped by to introduce him to a young, up-and-coming singer, Charles Aznavour. [xii]

The surprise of these years was the unexpected news that his ex-wife Gabrielle was pregnant with his child. She stated that the child was the result of a casual encounter at his studio one afternoon in 1953 and that she was only interested in having the child bear his name; she did not want him to be involved in the child’s life. As before, her reasons for this decision were murky, but may have been because she needed the father’s name on the birth certificate in order to claim government benefits. [xiii] Paul was naturally pleased to be a father, but he was wary of Gabrielle’s motivations. When his son was born, Paul stipulated that he be named Gen Paul, junior.

By the late 1960s, Paul was well into his seventies, and the world around him was changing rapidly. His closest friends were dying; his lithographs and etchings were being forged; and he had a son that he rarely saw. Into this rather gloomy scene came yet another young woman, the nineteen-year-old Annie Nador, who arrived in Montmartre in 1968. She went to work for Paul as his model, secretary, cook and agent. She tackled the forgery issue, assiduously documenting Paul’s artwork and assisting the police in their inquiries. Most importantly, Paul was invited to meet her parents and siblings; and over time, he too became part of her family.

Gen Paul continued to work, to entertain his friends, and to enjoy jazz as he approached his eighth decade of life. In December 1974, he complained of more than the usual aches and pains in his shoulders. By February 1975, he was hospitalized at La Pitié-Saltpêtrier where the doctors discovered that he was terminally ill with cancer. He died on April 30, 1975 just over a month short of his eightieth birthday. He was buried next to Fernande at Saint Vincent cemetery in Montmartre, with approximately 150 people sending him on his way.

Janet Whitmore, Ph.D.

Selected Museums

Centre Pompidou, Paris
Les Abbatoirs Musée-FRAC Occitainie Toulouse, France
Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris
Musée de Montmartre, Paris

Notes All translations by the author.

[i] “Ecole maternelle” does not have an exact translation in English, but “nursery school” has approximately the same meaning. Children in France, both in the 1890s and today, can begin to attend an “ecole maternelle” at age three.

[ii] Jacques Lambert, Gen Paul, Un peintre maudit parmi les siens (Paris: Editions de la Fable Ronde, 2007) 40. [“. . .il est doué très remarquablement pour le dessin.”]

[iii] Ibid. Originally published in Pierre Davaine, Gen Paul (Paris: Editions I. G. E.,1974). [“C’était devenu une vraie maladie, la seule chose qui m’intéressait. Quand je n’avais pas de crayon, j’allais piquer des morceaux de charbon de bois le bougnat et traçais sur le troittoir.”]

[iv] The Bonnot Gang was infamous in its day. Unlike gangs in the US, their objective was to fund a political agenda through bank robberies, forgery and counterfeiting. They advocated for vegetarianism, tee-totaling and free love. The primary reason for their notoriety was that they were the first robbery gang to use get-away cars after committing a crime; the police had only horses and carriages at their disposal in those days. For more information, see Richard Parry, The Bonnot Gang: The Story of the French Illegalists (Oakland, CA: RM Press, 2016).

[v] The House of Worth was established in 1858 by Charles Frederick Worth, and it quickly became the definitive arbiter of haute couture throughout the western world. Fernande’s position as a dressmaker’s assistant there indicates that she was an exceptionally talented seamstress. She would later move up in the organization to become one of the sales staff working with the company’s wealthy patrons. For an overview of the House of Worth, see the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilburnn Timeline of Art History entry on “Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895) and the House of Worth at: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/wrth/hd_wrth.htm

[vi] Jacques Lambert, Gen Paul, Un peintre maudit parmi les siens (Paris: Editions de la Fable Ronde, 2007) 68.

[vii] Although American artists had long been part of the Paris art world, the decade after the end of World War I saw a significant increase in the influx of creative spirits seeking respite from the cultural and political strictures of the US. It was during these years that Paris first fell in love with “le jazz hot”, a passion that continues to animate the city in the twenty-first century. Any study of this decade in Paris should begin with two books that provide an undiluted portrait of life in the art world at the time. See Billy Klüver and Julie Martin, Kiki’s Paris, Artist and Lovers, 1900-1930 (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 1989); and Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast (London: Arrow Books, 2001).

[vii] The Place du Tertre is today, as it was in Gen Paul’s time, only two blocks from the basilica of Sacré-Coeur at the top of La Butte in Montmartre. Its origin, however, dates to the mid-fourteenth century when it served as the central courtyard of a Benedictine Abbey on this site. In 1635, it became the central square for the village of Montmartre. Its role as a gathering place for artists began in the late nineteenth century after the end of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). In the politics of Belle Epoque France, the Place du Tertre was viewed as a much needed antidote to the rigid Catholicism represented by the construction of Sacré-Coeur at the heart of one of the most socially liberal and politically radical quartiers in Paris. For a thoughtful article on this issue, see Raymond A. Jonas, “Sacred Tourism and Secular Pilgrimage, Montmartre and the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur” in Montmartre and the Making of Mass Culture, ed. Gabriel P. Weisberg (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2001) 94-119.

[viii] Jacques Lambert, Gen Paul, Un peintre maudit parmi les siens (Paris: Editions de la Fable Ronde, 2007) 117. [“Attaché à la vie moderne qui l’inspire et qu’il traduit, il en saisit le rythme et la signification. L’esprit et l’exécution de son oeuvre sont d’une verve intarissable, d’où l’effort et toute quiétude ont disparu. Il a l’aisance innée, le don naturel de la faciité dans l’exécution, à tel point qu’il semble peindre comme on écrit ou comme on parle. ... Si le nom d’un peintre peut évoquer une race, une mentalité, un époque, ce nom sera Gen Paul.”]

[ix] Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894-1961) and his wife fled France on June 17, 1944 but he was subsequently captured and imprisoned in Denmark. He was allowed to return to France in 1951.

[x] Jacques Lambert, Gen Paul, Un peintre maudit parmi les siens (Paris: Editions de la Fable Ronde, 2007) 181-182.

[xi] Gabrielle’s reason for approaching Gen Paul and agreeing to marry a man thirty years her senior remain obscure. She abandoned the marriage shortly after their return to Paris without explanation, although the divorce was not finalized until June 1951. Jacques Lambert, Gen Paul, Un peintre maudit parmi les siens (Paris: Editions de la Fable Ronde, 2007) 267 and 276.

[xii] Ibid., 312.

[xiii] Ibid., 327-342.

Sold Works
A  Couple and Their Dog - Gen Paul
Gen Paul
(1895 - 1975)
Oil on canvas
32 x 39 inches
Le Grenouillère - Gen Paul
Gen Paul
(1895 - 1975)
Oil on canvas
23 3/4 x 28 3/4 inches
Signed; also signed, titled and dated, 1926, on the reverse