JACQUES HEROLD (1910 - 1987)


Considered one of the most important late-period Surrealist painters, Hérold was born in a Jewish family in Piatra Neamt, Romania. He spent most of his childhood in the Danubian port city of Galati, where his father made and sold candy. Between 1925 and 1927 he studied at an art school in Bucharest, against his father's will. After two years, he abandoned the Art Academy in 1929 and started working at an architecture bureau instead. That same year he briefly contributed to a handful Romanian Surrealist revues.

In 1930, he moved to France and, thanks to a fake ID, changed his name from Herold Blumer (his birth name) to Jacques Hérold. He settled in Paris, where he maintained a close friendship with Constantin Brancusi, for whom he also worked as a chef or even secretary. Hérold also met the Surrealist painter Yves Tanguy, thanks to whom he integrated Breton's group, participating in games and producing paintings that were held in high esteem by the likes of Raoul Ubac or Breton himself.

After the grim period of WWII, he managed to have his first solo exhibition in 1947. Starting with the "Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme" that same year, Hérold had an active presence in all the important Surrealist exhibitions worldwide. After 1951 (when he departed from Breton's group), his style increased in abstraction, later to be associated with Lyrical Abstraction and Tachisme. In 1958 he published the book "Maltraité de peinture" and received the Copley Foundation prize. In 1959 he got his own exhibition at the Tate Gallery, London, and in 1972, a monographic exhibition at l'Abbaye de Royaumont. In 1986, one year before his death, he exhibited works at the Venice Biennale.

During his lifetime, Hérold did cover artwork and illustrations for more than 80 books by the likes of Gherasim Luca, Tristan Tzara, Francis Ponge, Julien Gracq, Marquis de Sade, Michel Butor, Alain Bosquet, Gellu Naum, Ilarie Voronca, Claude Sernet, etc. Art critic Sarane Alexandrian published in 1995 the essay book "Jacques Hérold. Étude historique et critique".

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