Orleans (1918-1994)
Painter, sculptor,
illustrator and poet

Roger Toulouse in 1936
(photomontage of the artist)
1st pisture given to Marguerite Toulouse




Painter, sculptor, illustrator et poet





Roger Alphonse Albert Toulouse was born on the 19th of February in Orléans.

Roger Toulouse follows evening classes at the Fine Arts School and wins a first prize in decorative composition. He paints at home with his brother.

He receives again a first prize in decorative composition and follows full time the classes of the Fine Arts School from october.

At the beginning of the year, Roger is very affected by the death of his brother. He is awarded again many times at the Fine Arts School, and after the summer break, he signs up for architecture course.

1936. Roger Toulouse wins 5 first prizes at the Fine Arts School. He does small works part time to earn some money and perfect himself. In the Front Populaire mood, he enrolls with some friends to the Jeunesses universitaires antifascistes.
1937. He participates to the Salon of Orleans Artists and the colors merchant Lecomte proposes to him to exhibit about 15 canvasses in his store. Soon after, Roger went to Saint-Benoit to meet the poet Max Jacob, who noted the originality of his works. This is the beginning of constant relations with the poet that will continue until his death in March 1944. In July, he wins four first prizes and one second prize at the Fine Art School. During the summer, he visits the important art exhibitions organized for the International Exhibition in Paris. Roger Toulouse gives up his architectural studies and early November, he meets Picasso and Kahnweiler, and then George Maratier, director of the Galerie de Beaune, which takes his works on deposite. Shortly after, the American novelist and collector Gertrude Stein visits him at Orleans and buys a large number of paintings that will leave for the United States. Georges Maratier takes the young artist under contract for four paintings a month.

1938. Roger Toulouse participates in several group exhibitions at the Galerie de Beaune and abroad (Prague, Italy, England). Maratier organizes for him a solo exhibition from 16 May to 31 July. Critics are encouraging and Andre Salmon writes a biographical notive for the dictionary of painters Benezit. On June teh 20th, Roger marries Marguerite Texier in the presence of Max Jacob and the poet Marcel Bealu. The young couple moves in to Marguerite's parents. In October, Roger participates in the Salon des Surindépendants.

From July 11 to 31, a second solo exhibition of Roger Toulouse is held in the Galerie de Beaune. At the war declaration, the gallery closes and Roger, mobilized as staff secretary, leaves for the region of Bourges before being assigned to the Southwest of France.

1940. During his mobilization, he draws and paints a little. He returns to Orleans in early October and joins Maratier in Paris, who makes him expose to the Galerie de Berri.

Max Jacob puts his young friend in connection with the poets gathered under the name of the Friends of Rochefort. In June, step-parents of Roger Toulouse settles at 42, quai Saint-Laurent, Orleans, where they arrange a new studio for the artist. In November, Maratier takes the direction of the Galerie René Drouin, Place Vendome, and he exposes new paintings by Roger.

Worrying about the persecutions affecting his family, at the beginning of the year, Max Jacob moved to Orleans, at the Texier's. Roger then made the famous portrait of The Poet and the orchid. Thanks to Georges Maratier and Gaston Diehl, he participates in January at the Galerie Berri-Raspail, in a major event : The stages of new contemporary art. In late March, the Galerie René Drouin publishes Ten unpublished fragments of the Mémoires de l'ombre of Marcel Béalu, with eleven illustrations by Roger Toulouse. Gaston Diehl in Paris actively search opportunities in an environment difficult for young painters. Loyal to his political pre-war involvements, Roger fight his way against the occupation by avoiding labor-service to many young people.
1943. Roger Toulouse is selected at the Salon of Orleans Artists and in Paris at the Salon des Tuileries and and also at Drouant-David. In September, he is exposed prominently at the Salon d'Automne and then at the exhibition Dream and imagination in art at the Galerie Berri-Raspail.

In Paris, he is selected for the Orleans section of the Salon of the French provinces at the Palais Galliera, and in May at the Galerie René Breteau with several famous artists. The death of Max Jacob and the shelling of the city of Orleans disrupt his artistic activity.

Earlier this year, Roger Toulouse suddenly adopts a new expressionistic and colorful style. He exhibits this new work at Maratier, Place Vendome, at Rene Breteau, at the Salon d'Automne and for some years at the Salon of May that Gaston Diehl just founds.

He is selected for the exhibition Art and Resistance at the Museum of Modern Art in February, and for the official exhibition organized in March by Balthus at the Museum of Bern, The Masters of the School of Paris. He participates in the exhibition of The Young French Painting, organized by Les Amis de l'Art, in France, Luxembourg and North Africa.

Roger Toulouse organizes an exhibition of Max Jacob to the library of Orleans. He receives the Prize for young painting at Drouant-David. In September he meets with Rene Guy Cadou at Louisfert. The Director of the Ecole Normale d'Orleans for Teachers offers him a job of drawing teacher that he will hold for thirty-two years.

René Guy Cadou undertakes a serie of poems on paintings by Roger Toulouse. A personal exhibition is held at the public library of Orleans. Roger begins thirty gouaches to illustrate the Histoires improbables of André Ferré, and at the end of the year, the publisher Pierre André Benoît he publishes his first collection of poems Quai Saint-Laurent.

Roger Toulouse participates actively in return of the remains of Max Jacob to Saint-Benoît, on March the 5. He continues his pictorial experiments, destroys many works and draws a lot. His style changes to become realistic and symbolic, in a less aggressive chromaticism. By this time, his political left involvement is more active.

1950. Roger and Margueritte Toulouse move to 9 rue de l'Abreuvoir in Orleans. Roger paints, increasingly cut off from the Parisian art world in his new studio overlooking the Loire.

1951. The death of his friend, the poet Rene Guy Cadou, affects him deeply.

1953. The editor Jose Millas-Martin publishes the Four poems by Cadou about four paintings by Roger Toulouse. Roger does in June a trip to Italy with his students (Florence, Rome, Naples). He gets in touch with the poet Pierre Garnier who will become one of his closest friends.

1954. The gallery Le Soleil dans la tête, rue de Vaugirard, organises a personal exhibition of his drawings. For the first time, Roger Toulouse shows works composed of triangles.

1956. The work of Pierre Garnier about Roger Toulouse, published by Les Amis de Rochefort, which brings together poems of Bouhier, Cadou, Chaulot and Rousselot, is published in April for the personal exhibition organized by the gallery Decré in Nantes. At the end of the year, Roger and his friends react against the Soviet intervention in Hungary and now refuse to support the Communist Party. Roger Toulouse begins introducing triangles in his painting.

1957. A personal exhibition of Roger Toulouse at the gallery Guénégaud in Paris is a great success. In Orleans, the painter continues his research in his new triangulated style.

1958. Group exhibition in Paris at the gallery Creuze. He continued his research in a more and more complete isolation.

1961. George Maratier organizes at the Tokyo National Museum an exhibition of fifty-five old works of Roger Toulouse which he owns. All these paintings are then sold on the spot.
1962. Exhibition of Roger Toulouse at the gallery Cezanne, with an invitation prefaced by Jean Cocteau and Andre Salmon. On this occasion, Lily Bazalgette autographs his book on the artist.

1963. In October, Roger and Margueritte Toulouse moved to 11 rue de l'Abreuvoir where the artist has a bright airy studio overlooking a magnificent hundred years old cedar.

1964. Personal exhibition at the gallery Six-Sicot in Lille.

1965. Personal exhibition at the gallery Charamon in Orleans.

1967. In march, Roger made a large donation of deawings by Max Jacob to the orleans Museum.

1968. The Haviland factory in Limoges orders from him sets for porcelain dishes and figurines for which he manufactures metal frames made ​​of triangles. During some years, TV cultural programs take place at Roger Toulouse who meets many artists, poets, writers whose Hervé Bazin who pushes him to make metal sculptures.

1969. He realizes, at the stained glass studio in Limoges, a work for the French Pavilion at the International Exhibition of Montreal: L'art et la matière. From 21 June to 13 July, at the Artistic and Literary Centre of Rochechouart, a major retrospective is organised and the city of Orleans pays at the end of the year a tribute to the artist at the culture home and the library.

1970. Roger Toulouse starts sculpture. His style is changing fast: the triangles are replaced by forms more assertive and compact at the end of the year.

1972. Exhibition of sculptures in Orleans and Nimes. Roger Toulouse completely changed his style in painting, giving up the triangles for geometric compositions disturbing and strongly colorful.

1974. He participates in Wall Poetry Festival organized in the Stuart castle in Aubigny-sur-Nere, for which he will create each year large panels on poems of Béalu, Bouhier, Brindeau, the Nobel price Odysseus Elytis, Maya, Reverdy... Under the "one percent", he received several orders for monumental sculptures for school groups in the Loiret.

1975. Encyclopaedia Universalis devotes to him a long article. He is thus one of nine living painters mentioned in this book.

1976. Roger Toulouse publishes his second collection of poems: Magica Forti.

1977. He unveils in Limoges a sculpture of Saint Martial and completes two monumental sculptures in homage to Lavoisier and sociologist Henri Wallon. He receives an order for a large sculpture in memory of Rene Guy Cadou (school group Rene Guy Cadou).

1978. Roger Toulouse exhibits at the museum of Wichita (USA) and the International Exhibition of Art at the Museum of Toulon, and then Draguignan.

1979. He starts with the art of collage. In December, he gives up teaching to devote himself entirely to his art. An exhibition is held at the Culture House of Orleans.

1980. In March, Roger Toulouse presents several works at the Coliseum in New York. He participates, as cultural adviser to painting, to the Program Committee of FR3 TV channel.

1981. Early this year he exhibits at the Palais des Congres Quebec, and in April in Dreux. He participates in September in the Grands et Jeunes d'aujourd'hui event at the Grand Palais.

1982. In January, his recent works are the subject of a personal exhibition at the new Culture House of Orleans. He participates in a demonstration of Contemporary Art in Troyes, in July, and again at the Grands et jeunes d'aujourd'hui event. Roger gives up the metal sculpture which makes him too tired.

1983. A solo exhibition is organised in Briare at the Trousse Barrière castle. He realizes at the request of the municipality five masks in stone for the new Museum and the Town Hall of Orleans.

1984. A solo exhibition of recent works takes place at the Fine Ats Museum of Quimper and in September at the Town Hall of La Rochelle.

1985. Roger Toulouse participates in the poetry festival De Rochefort à Nantes en poésie, in the former tobacco factory in Nantes, and in the conference Rencontres with Max Jacob in Vannes.

1986. He exhibited six paintings at the new Museum of Fine Arts in Orleans. He made ​​many drawings, paintings, wood sculptures, poems.

1988. In March, after a serious fall Roger Toulouse is immobilized many months. A joint exhibition with Piaubert is organized in Nantes in the former tobacco factory. He published his third collection of poems: Le Noir éclaire le noir.

1989. Roger is involved in the retrospective of the Musée d'Orleans: Max Jacob and artists of his time. At the end of the year, he finds his energy and changes its palette to paint works of dazzling white.

1991. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Ecole de Rochefort, a major retrospective of thirty-six works is organized at the Museum of Agen.

1992. The white gives way to bright vivid colors and compositions are complicated by many figurative elements. Then Roger Toulouse makes ​​collages with duller colors, obscured by the use of black smoke. Tired, he works very slowly.

1993. From June, he adopts a new style: his compositions are dispersed and explode into a multitude of colored ribbons. This is the final stage of sixty years of painting.

1994. He died on september 11th in Orleans. He was suffering from leukemia which had been diagnosed in 1977.


Roger Toulouse in 1973

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Military career
(in French only)

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Professional career
(in French only)

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Official decorations
Artistic prizes and awards
(in French only)

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