Michel Mathonnat Biography

Michel Mathonnat




Painter, sculptor, and printmaker Michel Mathonnat was born in Moulins, France in 1944. He studied painting under Alexander Bonnier at the Beaux-Arts, Molins, from 1962 to 1965, and in the late 1960s he took etching and engraving courses at the Rigal workshops in Fontenay-aux-Roses and Cadaques. There, he was introduced to several poets and writers whose works he would later illustrate, among them Jean Cassou. In 1971 he began working in mezzotint.

American publisher Alex Rosenberg discovered Mathonnat's work in 1970 and the following year commissioned a suite of nine engravings to accompany the poem "Black Woman" by Leopold Sedar Senghor; the suite was titled "Black is Beautiful". This led to Mathonnat's recurring theme of nudes presented in a state of solitude, which later translated into his sculpturs as well. He began working in bronze in 1975, traveling to Bologna to apprentice at the Venturi Arte foundry. He also began establishing himself as an illustrator at this time, both publishing and printing various art books in collaboration with poets.

After several years of working in and exhibiting his intaglio prints throughout Europe and the U.S., he returned to drawing and painting. He created twocollaborative works with the poet Jean-Pierre Bigeault: in 2009 the book Femmes de Papier, which featured color engravings combined with collage, and in 2018 Jeu de Dames. His engraved works include over 300 compositions. He continues to live and work in France.