Biography of Léo Marchutz

1903 Born on August 29 in Nuremberg, Germany, Marchutz is the second of three children. His father, Carl Marschutz, was the founder of the bicycle factory Herkules in Nuremberg.

1916 Starts to draw and create large paintings inspired by religious subjects, Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, The Resurrection, The Annunciation, The Ascension (1918). He copies innumerable drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci as well as a portrait of Delacroix (around 1920).

1917 Writes poems, one of which is entitled Amenophis.

1918 Through the help of a family friend familiar with the intellectual circles in Berlin, some of his works are bought, notably by the writer Felix Hollaender. In Munich, while searching for a teacher with his father, he discovers the work of Cézanne and Van Gogh in the museums. Not satisfied with the formal teaching suggested, he decides to work alone. Study in the museums was, for him, the only possible solution for his artistic education.

1919 Finishes his secondary studies: humanities, Latin, Greek. The theater director Max Reinhardt buys a work by Léo Marchutz, the Ascension, and writes to his father. This letter will be decisive in his vocation as an artist.

1920 Friendship with Karl-Ernst Osthaus whose collection of paintings includes works by Gauguin, Hodler, Signac, Cézanne, etc... Osthaus visited Cézanne in Aix in 1906.

1921 First one-man exhibition at the home of Karl-Ernst Osthaus, founder of the Folkwang Museum in Essen. While studying in the museums of Berlin, which will last until 1931, he is particularly interested in the art of Sumer, Babylon and Egypt as well as Greek plaster cast. Studies thoroughly the work of Cézanne at the large exhibition of the Master of Aix which takes place the same year at Paul Cassirer’s gallery in Berlin.

1921-24 Draws figures and in 1924 completes the album Seven lithographs after Plato’s Symposium 25 copies printed by G.B.R. Hoboken in Berlin.

1924-25 Travels and works in Italy intermittently, notably in Venice. Visits the
museums of Florence and Rome. Uses pastels to execute a series of heads in 1925 in Capri.

1928 First trip to Provence to study the motifs of Cézanne. Rents a room at the Chateau Noir near Aix-en-Provence for the summer. Paints still-lifes and landscapes of the Aix countryside.

1929-30 Lives in Berlin. Comes to Château Noir in the summer periods to continue working in the landscape around Aix-en-Provence.

1931 Devotes himself to open-air drawing - mainly in the streets of Aix. In spring leaves Berlin and settles definitively at the Chateau Noir. In July his mother, Adele Marschutz, dies in Nuremberg at the age of 54. Meets Julius Meier-Graefe, one of the first Cézanne biographers, who visits Chateau Noir in the early thirties.

1933 Begins research on Cézanne with John Rewald and Fritz Novotny.

1934 December 31 marries Anna Kraus in Le Tholonet.

1934-44 Earns his living by raising poultry, which will enable him to survive in the difficult war years.

1935 In February travels to Palestine with his father. After visiting Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and Haifa, they embark for Naples, pass through Rome and return to Chateau Noir.

1939 March 29, divorces Anna Kraus, who will later marry the American architect Konrad Wachsmann. Moves into the Maison Maria near Chateau Noir. At the beginning of September interned in the Camp des Milles near Aix-en-Provence in the “Groupe 6.” Continues to draw while interned. In December signs an agreement to become a “prestataire” — a foreign worker wearing the uniform of the French army.

1940 At the end of January, as a future “prestataire” of German nationality, he istransferred from the Camp des Milles to Manosque. On February 18 returns for one night to the Camp des Milles before his release. The following day is temporarily released due to the authorities’ decision that his poultry farm was of service to the general interest. March 23 marries Barbara Picton Warlow who gives birth on May 7 to their daughter, Anna. On May 19 is ordered to join a company of “prestataires” near le Mans.The footsoldiers will go no further than Saint Sauveur near Bellac due to the collapse of the French army. Naturalizes his daughter Anna as a French Citizen, which will ultimately lead to his release as a “prestataire.” Demobilized on October 2, he moves back to Chateau Noir.

1942 Barely escapes the deportations in the summer 1942. He must hide at the Chateau Noir to prevent any arrest.

1944 After the liberation of Provence in August 1944, he actively resumes his artistic work inspired principally by biblical themes.

1947 In October obtains French nationality and in April begins work on the Gospel according to Saint Luke. Envisaged three versions in Latin, English and French. The first two remained in draft form and only the French version is completed. With the assistance of his wife Barbara who ensures the typography, the work will last until December 1949 and result in 150 copies and 10 series of lithographs. During this period begins to study further the lithographic technique. Transforms one of the hen houses into a studio, buys his first litho press in Marseilles, and has it installed. The University of Louisville in Kentucky organizes a joint exhibition of the works of Léo Marchutz and an American artist Esther Worden-Day. On December 30, meets André Masson, who has recently moved into L'Harmas, a large home situated on the route du Tholonet.

1948 Purchases a second litho press for his work and has it installed at Château Noir in August. Meets, at the initiative of Tal-Coat and Masson, the German art dealer, Curt Valentin, whom he had last seen in Berlin in 1929-30. After emigrating to the United States, Valentin had become an important art dealer in New York. Impressed by Marchutz’s on-going work of the Gospel, he bought two future copies. In November four other hen houses are transformed into working studios and installed next to the Maison Maria. They will be usedfor typography as well as lithography.

1949 In December completes the edition of the Gospel according to Saint Luke with an introduction by Lionello Venturi. Begins to develop a unique technique for color lithography which he will subsequently perfect.

1950 On January 10 finishes pulling the color prints for Elements of Nature by Tal Coat which he had started in 1949 — it is his first completed work as a lithographer for another artist. Completes first album for André Masson, Sur le Vif; in June. The art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler writes to Léo that Picasso found these lithographs splendid and that he would speak about it to Mourlot with much enthusiasm. On September 19, Fernand Pouillon, accompanied by the ceramist Philippe Sourdive, visits Léo Marchutz for the first time and immediately buys some of his works. Completes his Album of 13 religious lithographs in black and white. Creates first lithographs of the streets of Aix-en-Provence that are drawn on paper and then transferred to the stone.

1951 Prints the album, Toro, by André Masson in November.

1952 Prints the poetic work Langue by Pierre Jean Jouve. He and his wife Barbara do all the typography. The work is finished at the beginning of May. Works on the completion of the album Voyage to Venice by André Masson, which is finished in December. Publishes the album Lithographs of Aix-en-Provence, a synthesis of his own work in the streets of Aix since 1950.

1953 Ordonnances by Fernand Pouillon is published. Prefaced by Pierre Dalloz, this work consists of architectural drawings of the old residences and public spaces of Aix-en-Provence. It includes three original lithographs by Léo Marchutz and three by André Masson. Printed by Léo Marchutz.

1954 In January the patronage of Fernand. Pouillon for Marchutz begins. April 11 to 25 travels to northern Italy to draw. At the beginning of August travels to Algiers at the invitation of Fernand Pouillon. Marchutz draws from Pouillon’s architecture in Algiers.

1955 In April/May another voyage to northern Italy and Venice to draw.

1956 At the request of the town of Aix-en-Provence, becomes the commissioner for the Cézanne exhibition organized for the fiftieth anniversary of his death.

1957 Exhibition in the Fraenkische Gallery in Nuremberg. From March 19 to April 13 exhibition of drawings and lithographs at the Craven Gallery in Paris initiated by Fernand Pouillon. Death in Los Angeles of his father at the age of 94 years.

1958 In spring moves into the studio recently built for him by Fernand Pouillon and situated across from La Brillane, the architect's residence in Aix.

1959 August/September travels to Bavaria and Vienna. In October hired by the Institute for American Universities in Aix to teach painting and drawing. Another trip to Venice to draw. Helps curate the Van Gogh exhibition which is held in Aix from October 3 until December 5. Within the framework of this exhibition panel discussions are organized under the direction of Georges Duby and the university of Aix. Participants included the art historian, Jean Leymarie, and the engineer, Theo Van Gogh, nephew of the painter. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York acquires a set of graphic works by Léo Marchutz.

1960 Helps curate the Matisse exhibition which took place in the summer at the Pavillon de Vendôme in Aix. In October travels to Vienna and on the way back draws in Venice. Beginning of the judicial troubles for Fernand Pouillon that won't allow him to continue his patronage of Léo Marchutz. In December Tony Spinazzola offers to become Marchutz's patron. The writer Elias Canetti, future winner of the Nobel Prize in literature (1981), visits Léo Marchutz in his studio.

1961 Tony Spinazzola offers a monthly contract to Léo Marchutz. Travel to Paris in January. April 14 to May 4 travels to Vienna (Cézanne exhibition twinned with that of Aix) and to Venice to draw. Helps curate the large Cézanne exhibition which takes place in July and August at the Pavillon de Vendéme in Aix-en-Provence. During this time he becomes more acquainted with Adrien Chappuis, whom he has known for more than 25 years as an expert on Cézanne’s graphic work and their friendship flourishes. Out of this friendship will evolve abundant correspondence dealing particularly with questions concerning Cézanne’s work and generally with all matters of artistic activity.

1962In June travels to Vienna via northern Italy. July 5 to 24, One-person exhibition in the Spinazzola Gallery in Aix-en-Provence. Georges Duby writes the introduction to the catalog. Max Ernst, whom Léo had met during his internment in 1939 In Les Milles, visits the exhibition. The American collector Henry Pearlman acquires several important works by Léo Marchutz. From this time forward a series of modest but rather regular sales are established through his American friends and the people around him in Aix.

1963 M.A. Ruff, Dean of the University of Nice, submits a proposal for Marchutz to create a mural painting for the university, the theme being Dante and the Divine Comedy. During the summer works with John Rewald and Fritz Novotny on the publication of the Complete Works of Paul Cézanne. In October, Fernand Pouillon starts project to build a church which he wants decorated by Léo Marchutz. The first tests at creating monumental wall paintings are undertaken on the wall of the American Institute.

1964 Through the influence of Albert Châtelet, a canvas representing the Mont Sainte-Victoire is acquired by the museum of Lille. In spring finishes the lithographic album Sainte-Victoire (12 copies) in collaboration with Sam Bjorklund. In April, begins a fresco representing the Mont Sainte-Victoire on a wall of the American Institute. In May and June travels to Munich and Venice to draw. In the summer continues work on the complete works of Paul Cézanne with John Rewald and Fritz Novotny to be published in 1965.

1968 Publication of Notes on Painting a text explaining the fundamental principles which continuously guided him in his artistic reasoning. Thanks to the financial assistance by a young American, Marchutz is able to become sole proprietor of the studio built by Fernand Pouillon and in which he had already worked for ten years.

1969 In May, at the initiative of Hans Konrad Roethel and Jameson Miller Jones, an exhibition is installed simultaneously in three different venues (a church, an art gallery and the Southwestern University library in Memphis, Tennessee). In September moves into the house recently built beside the studio and thus leaves the Maison Maria at Chateau Noir where he had lived for nearly forty years. Three canvases, the Virgin Mary, the Angel Gabriel and Crucifixion, Marie at the foot of the cross are permanently exposed in the chapel of Saint Mare Jaumegarde, a village situated next to Aix-en-Provence.

1970 From October 23 to November 5 exhibits, along with four other artists (Samuel Bjorklund, William Weyman, Maxime Telleschi and Frangois de Asis) in the art gallery, La Muraille in Besançon.

1972 End of June until end of September, at the initiative of Marianne R. Bourge, curator of the Musée Atelier de Cézanne, exhibition of monumental paintings in the Cistercian Abbey of Silvacane, near Aix-en-Provence. In collaboration with Sam Bjorklund and William Weyman, founds The 140 Marchutz School of Painting and Drawing in Aix-en-Provence. This school will join the Institute for American Universites of Aix-en-Provence in 1984.

1973 Exhibition at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

1976 Death of Léo Marchutz on January 4 at the hospital in Aix-en-Provence. Buried on January 6 in the cemetery of Le Tholonet.

Posthumous exhibitions

1977 In February, at the initiative of Fernand Pouillon, exhibition of lithographs from Aix in the Jardin de Flore Gallery in Paris on the occasion of a new release of Pouillon’s book on the architecture of Aix-en-Provence (Ordonnances). In July and August exhibition of works of Léo Marchutz in the Méjanes library in Aix-en-Provence.

1978 April 20 to June 18, Exhibition Lights of Léo Marchutz, 50 years of painting, drawing, lithographs in the Musée des Tapisseries in Aix-en-Provence to mark the 50th anniversary of Léo’s arrival in Atx.

1984 Through the initiative of Marcellin Truphème, mayor of Saint Marc Jaumegarde, inauguration ofa room in the town hall dedicated to a permanent collection of Léo Marchutz’s drawings and lithographs. Five mural paintings are permanently exposed in the chapel of this same commune.

1990 In the exhibition Sainte-Victoire - Cézanne at the Musée Granet in Aix, a mural painting of Sainte-Victoire as well as his research undertaken with John Rewald on the motifs of Paul Cézanne are presented to the public. Works by the painters of the Marchutz School are also exhibited at the initiative of the curator of the museum, Denis Coutagne.

1992 Exhibition Pierre Jean Jouve – Travelers in a landscape, Pompidou Center in Paris, February 4 to May 18, Curator, Yves Bergeret. Several lithographs of Léo Marchutz are presented with the works of Balthus, Sima and André Masson. Exhibition Peinture et écriture autour de Pierre Jean Jouve in Neuilly-sur-Seine. March 18 to April 25. Several lithographs of Aix and Italy, an album of Aix lithographs, as well as the book, Langues, are exhibited. Approximately fifteen contemporary painters are present in this exhibition.

1995-96 Marianne R. Bourges, Curator, exhibits the drawings of Léo Marchutz in the Musée Atelier de Cézanne in Aix-en-Provence, September 25, 1995 until January 31, 1996, in her cycle of exhibitions entitled Pages cézanniennes d'un Maître d’aujourd’ hui.

1996 July. The Conférence Rewald-Cézanne, organized by the Musée Granet, celebrates Cézanne, l’enfant du pays, as seen through the eyes of a foreigner, John Rewald, who was German, American, as well as French at heart. Denis Coutagne, curator of the museum, presents the topic Aix-en-Provence and John Rewald: his friendship to Marchutz.

1997 Exhibition Léo Marchutz and the Route du Tholonet at the Wayne Art Center in Philadelphia and at the Lighthouse Gallery in Palm Beach (Florida/ USA) at the initiative of Alan Roberts. In March and April, exhibition Léo Marchutz, lithographs — Sainte-Victoire and the old streets of Aix in the bookstore/gallery Alain Paire in Aix-en-Provence. Several drawings of Léo Marchutz are displayed in the exhibition Painters in the Camp des Milles — September 1939 — Summer 1940 in the Espace 13 Gallery in Aix-en-Provence, from April 22 until June 26, organized by the Departement Council of the Bouches-du-Rhône.

2000-01 Large exhibition of paintings, drawings and documents under the title L’école Marchutz — Aix, 25 ans in the Musée Granet and the Musée des Tapisseries in Aix-en-Provence. Graphic works of Léo Marchutz have been deposited at the Prints Cabinet in Paris and the Albertina in Vienna.