Raymond Grandjean

French, 1929-2006  Biography

A colorful, Lyon-born character, this self-taught painter and nonconformist interacted with many contemporary masters and movements without ever betraying his own style.

Raymond Grandjean is known by a lot of people, without them realizing it, through his large painting, created in 1978, which decorates the Metro Station, Gratte-Ciel, in Lyon. On a blue background, the painter precisely distributes small and large triangles, and a few circles, as if on a game board of an unknown society, or of a rhythmical musical score with a unique spelling.

After having already produced abstract works, this artist from Lyon embarked at the beginning of the 1960s on a series of paintings with purely geometric motifs and spaces. His elements are very few (often consisting of solo or connected triangles, colored discs or half discs, straight lines, etc.), but their variations are infinite. Raymond Grandjean plays on chromatic differences, allocates spaces to emptiness, utilizes differences in scale and creates unique perspective effects. His universe, sometimes close to that of Paul Klee or of Miro, is, all at the same time, joyfully childish, desperately lonely, and subtly moving.

A recent exhibition dedicated to the artist was held at the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon, France. The exhibition focused on the unique features that served as a central part of Grandjean's artistic output, all the while making references to the parenthesis of Pop and Surrealism in his oeuvre, as well as to his curious return to figurative works between 1985 and 1990.

Humor and poetry come through in his urban landscapes, Pop compositions, abstract variations and Surrealist collages - not to mention the self-published journals in which the painter mixes in pataphysical aphorisms, displaced images and word games. 

Raymond Grandjean, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon, France, November 27, 2014-March 20, 2015


Oil on canvas
23 ⅝ x 28 ¾ inches
24 ½ x 29 ⅝ inches framed
Signed lower right: Grandjean
Titled, countersigned and dated 1958 on reverse
Executed 1958