Jacques Deschamps Biography

Jacques Deschamps




Self-taught painter, assemblage artist, and printmaker Gerard Deschamps was born in Lyon, France, in 1937. In 1944 his family moved to Paris where, after expressing interest in art, he would later visit the galleries along the rue de Seine, taking particular inspiration from the leaders of modern genres such as Abstract Expressionism and new avant-garde.

Descahmps held his first exhibition, of oil paintings, in 1955 at the Gallery Fechetti in Paris. It wasn't long before he found painting to be too restrictive and he began exploring collage and three dimensional fabric assemblages. This began with found cloths and laces "painted" onto canvas, and eventually evolved into sewn, tied, and otherwise pieced assemblages that used Japanese advertising fabrics and deadstock Belgian matress fabrics. 

After his conscripted military service in Algeria ended in 1960, he met the artists Raymond Hains and Jacques Villegle who had formed the New Realist group, the French counterpart to the American Pop Art scene. The New Realists eschewed traditional art materials and used objects to "paint" and "sculpt" their works. Deschamps' work took on the themes of militarization metaphors, using bullet-ridden American armor and bits of destroyed machines, and tarpaulins painted neon colors; sexual objectification, using women's underwear; and themes of modern excess. His work stirred controversy and he was censored on various occasions. Among the ranks of the New Realists would eventually be Christo, Yves Klein, Niki De Saint-Phalle, Cesar, and Mimo Rotella.

Exhausted by the Parisian art scene, in 1970 Deschamps relocated to his grandparents' home in La Chatre, where he stepped away from exhibiting and focused on smaller works. At this time he began exploring intaglio printmaking, creating minimalist compositions of landscapes, birds, and country villages, and occasionally exploring abstraction. Eventually he found new inspiration for larger works and was able to redirect his focus onto assemblages once again. He did away with cloth fabrics and began to use objects of recreation in bright colors. He created various series of works that dealt with vacation activities, executed in the vein of Pop Art: assemblages with beach wear, inflatable furniture and balls, surfboards, and skateboards. This would be a recurring theme for the artist whose work began to accrue an international following. 

By the early 2000s, Deschamps work had solidified into a new chapter, taking on the theme of childrens' imaginations in a series he called Pneumostructures. Using inflatable sculpture, he created bright, imagined worlds displayed in installations using the exteriors of 16th century French architecture, bodies of water, and the walls of major museums. 

Deschamps continues to live and work in France, exhibiting as recently as 2018 at the Paris Art Fair at Galerie Grimont. A partial list of exhibitions includes: Galerie franchetti, Paris (1955); Galerie Colette Allendy, Paris (1957); Galerie J, Paris and Galerie Ursula Girardon, Paris (1962); Galleria Appolinaire, Milan (1963); Galerie Florence Houson Brown, Paris (1964); Galerie Ad Libidum, Anvers (1965); Galleria l'Elefante, Venice (1966); Galerie Dominique Marches, Chateauroux (1979); Galerie Le Gall Peyroulet, Paris (1988, '90, '91); Galerie Der Spiegel, Cologne (1993); Fondation Cartier, Paris (1998); Galerie de la Chatre, Paris (1998, 2000, '02); Galleria Peccolo Livorno (2002); Musee de l'Hospice Saint Roch, Issoudun (2003); Musee des Beaux-Arts de Dole (2004); Chateau d'Ars La Chatre and Musee des Beaux Arts d'Orleans (2005); Le Safrain Amiens (2006); Musee des ARTS DECORATIFS, Paris (2007); retrospective: Galerie Martine et Thibaul de La Chatre (2009); Musee de l'Hospice Saint Roch Issoudun (2013); Du Passe Au PResent: Galerie Gilles Peyroulet, Paris (2016), among others.