James Coignard Biography

James Coignard




James Coignard, painter, ceramist, sculptor and etcher, was born in Tours, France on September 25, 1925. At the age of 23 and after a brief career in the French administration, he discovered the landscapes of the French Riviera and decides to study at Arts décoratifs in Nice. Four years later, he quit his job at the administration to commit himself entirely to his artistic career.

An encounter with gallerist, publisher Paul Hervieu in 1950 was decisive. His collaboration with Galerie Paul Hervieu in Nice made him known in artistic circles, nationally and internationally and  particularly in Scandinavia. At the beginning of his career, art critics labeled James Coignard as a member of Ecole de Paris. Soon, his painting and ceramic distanced themselves from those of his colleagues.

In the early nineteen sixties, he started to work with glass but the technical turning point occurred in 1968 when his friend Henri Goetz discovered a new etching technique, using carborundum. Etching then became central to his work. At the same time, his career took off internationally. He traveled a lot, especially to Sweden and USA where he lived for a few years. In 1978, James Coignard participated in the creation of the etching studio Pasnic, with which he began a long collaboration.

During the eighties, he shared his time between Paris and the French Riviera and took an interest in artist’s books and publishing issues. He was now exhibiting all over the world, and is acknowledged as one of the greatest painter-etchers of his time. Until his death in 2008, James Coignard was a prolific painter, sculptor and etcher and leaves behind an immense body of work.

James Coignard died on March 7, 2008 at Cannes in the French Riviera.