Louis Latapie

French, 1891-1972 Biography

“Is this my fault? That in one deep breath, I inhale cubism and exhale fauvism.”
- Louis Latapie, in Louis Latapie , Musées de Sens, 2006 (p. 43)

Louis Latapie was a French painter whose work developed from still lifes and female nudes to a powerfully-colored Cubism. By the 1950s, his simplification of forms bordered on abstraction.

Louis Latapie was born July 11, 1891 in Toulouse, France. His father, a journalist and director of The Telegram, moved to Paris around 1900 to work with the newspaper Liberty, as well as to pursue his studies at Lycée Janson de Sailly. Having drawn since childhood, Louis Latapie registered at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. There he studied under John Paul Laurens, but also frequented the Académie Julian, as well as the Académie Ranson in 1911, where he discovered the Cubist movement alongside Paul Sérusier.

After carrying out his military service in Albi, Louis Latapie was mobilized in 1914. His elder brother died at the very beginning of the war. He suffered three injuries himself, having served in ten countries, earning him two citations. Returning to his workshop in 1920, he became a professor at the Académie Ranson and married Estelle Isch-Wall. He met Max Jacob, Roger Bissière, John Metzinger, and Jacques Villon, and in 1922 they presented their first expositions. In 1923, Georges Braque, Bissière, Ozenfant and Latapie formed the association of the "Castors de Montsouris" to construct original Cubist houses. After the tragic death of his wife that same year, Louis Latapie installed himself in Toulon in 1925. There he met Juan Gris and founded a painting academy.

Returning to Paris in 1927, Latapie married Renée Maurisse, resumed his courses at the Académie Ranson, and decorated one of the pillars of The Cupola, a famous brewery in Montparnasse. In 1930, he again moved to Toulon, while continuing to give some courses in Paris. Facing financial difficulties, he practically ceased painting from 1932 to 1934 to restart the photojournalism agency of his deceased father-in-law (the first one in France) before selling it in 1936.

While working to finish a 40-meter wall mural for Pierre de Coubertin’s new stadium in Boulogne-Billancourt, Latapie was remobilized, returning to Paris in 1940. Selling two floors of his Parisian home, in 1946 he bought “The Old Mill,” in Seine-Port, and began its restoration while installing his workshops. After his two personal exhibits in 1954 and 1956, his painting really became oriented towards abstraction.

In the 1960s, Louis Latapie finished several mosaics for schools in Melun and Laval. Under the pseudonym “Parafioles,” he began to write his memoirs in 1963, which were eventually published in 2005. He resigned in 1967, leaving “The Mill” in Seine-Port, and moved first to Paris, and then in 1968 to Avignon. In 1969, he yielded nearly his entire workshop to his agent. In 1970, Latapie gave expositions in three different Italian towns. His second wife died in 1971 while they were preparing for his two-room exhibit in the Palace of the Popes for the 25th Festival of Avignon.

After Louis Latapie’s death on July 12, 1972, many expositions and retrospectives of his works were presented in France- notably in Paris, Villeneuve-sur-Lot, Toulouse, Lille, and Bordeaux, as well as abroad, at Eaubonne and Geneva in Switzerland, and in Bilbao, Spain.

Salon des Indépendants
Salon d’Automne
Salon des Tuileries
Art et Résistance Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris, 1946
Palais des Papes, Avignon, 1971
Musée Rapin, Villeneuve-sur-Lot, 1988
Musée des Augustins, Toulouse, 1988

Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris
Musée d’Art Moderne, Geneva
City museums of Toulouse, Avignon, and Poitiers

Oil on canvas
23 ¼ x 28 ½ inches
26 ¼ x 31 ¼ inches framed
Signed lower left: Latapie


Although Louis Latapie did not date this work, Nature Morte aux Fruits exhibits the tendency away from cubism and towards abstraction that Latapie experienced later in his career. This painting boasts a vibrant color scheme that is common in the artist’s paintings from the late 1930’s forward. In this abstract-cubist work, Latapie allows the viewer to enter the canvas at an impossible view point. The pears and apples that the artist has painted exhibit a playfulness that is further accented by the organic shapes that appear on the wallpaper and carpeting below. Beginning in 1949 and continuing through the 1950’s, Louis Latapie painted a plethora of works with the nature morte theme. According to Madame Laure Latapie, Nature Morte aux Fruits was completed in 1949.