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Michel Macréau

Born in 1935


Michel Macréau was born in Paris on July 21, 1935 and died in Laignes on November 19, 1995. Macréau grew up in a modest family in Paris. 

In 1953, he graduated from the Lycée de Sèvres in the art section. Immediately afterwards, he made cartoons for Le Corbusier's tapestries. At the beginning, he was very focused on drawing, he also worked as a decorator in the ceramic workshops of Vallauris.

Around 1956, he occupied an old abandoned castle in the Chevreuse Valley. He squatted there with friends and family, but they were later evicted.

In the 1960s, Michel Macréau met with success. In 1962, he had his first solo exhibition at the Raymond Cordier Gallery. It was a great success and Georges Pompidou even bought two of his works.

In 1969, the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris acquired a painting by Michel Macréau. In spite of this, he began a long period in the desert, his creations no longer sold, he was considered anti-conventional. Doubt invaded him and around 1972, he fell into depression and made long stays in hospital.

In the 1980s, he regained his form and confidence in himself and his artistic approach. With the arrival of the Figuration Libre and artists like Robert Combas or Hervé Di Rosa, Michel Macréau no longer felt isolated.

This painter is in line with the artists of the Art Brut like Jean Dubuffet. In his paintings, Michel Macréau does not hesitate to superimpose elements without apparent logic.

Michel Macréau is also close to graffiti by his spontaneity and his way of treating his supports as real pieces of walls. In his art, he represents the human body, men and women.

He is a pioneer because he puts his characters, graphics and writing on the same level. His style is direct and makes the viewer feel fascinated. Michel Macréau explored many supports: cardboard, fabric, wood, sheet...

Michel Macréau could directly apply paint to the canvas from the tube, he had a spontaneous and rhythmic approach. His work heralded the arrival of artists like Penck, Combas and Basquiat.

According to Robert Combas, Michel Macréau is the precursor of Jean-Michel Basquiat: "I find that the relationship with Basquiat is obvious. Some paintings are very close, but people do not want to see it. In the past, I've had fun passing off details of his work - like certain heads - as Basquiat, and it worked."

To produce work, Macréau would expend impressive energy around the canvas. He could leap and run and move, he wanted to leave room for chance.

It is difficult to classify him in a current of art history, as Macréau was such a particular artist. We can nevertheless associate him in the approach to CoBra, graffiti, Art Brut and Figuration Libre.

Michel Macréau (1935-1995) proposes obsessive and sometimes shocking, but also naive figures.

We can also see this artist as a poster artist evoking graffiti, anguish, nostalgia and trauma.

His works have been shown in solo and group exhibitions in Italy, Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands and France.

Before his death, the artist met the art dealer Alain Margaron who owned an art gallery in Paris. This gallery defends and exhibits his art with the mission of making Michel Macréau's art shine.

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