Louis Derbré discovered sculpture in the 1940s. Son of farmers in northwestern France, he left for Paris to work in a fine arts publishing house. There, he met art students studying at the Beaux-Arts.
He sculpted the bust of one of them—Louis Werchürr—in stone and received the Fénéon prize, awarded by Louis Aragon himself. From then on, he began to turn out sculptures in wood, in stone and his first bronze pieces. In exhibition after exhibition, his work has been shown in France and around the world: Brazil, the United States, Canada, Norway, Ivory Coast, Indonesia, Japan, etc.
In 1962, he organized his first show ‘Rodin-Maillol-Derbré’, where he exhibited 26 of his own works. This event made his name in sculpture. He set up his studio in the Parisian suburbs, at Arcueil. In 1972, La Terre, a 9 m high bronze sculpture was chosen by the Seibu company to adorn the Ikebukuro Park in Tokyo. A replica is on display at Place des Reflets at La Défense in Paris. Ever since, the land of the rising sun has had a special significance for Louis Derbré.
In 1997, at Hiroshima, Louis Derbré erected six monumental sculptures, each 5 m high, for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. The artist has also skilfully executed portraits of Yul Brunner, Anthony Quinn, Louise Weiss, Ignace de Loyala, Johnny Halliday, Louis Richerot, Professeur Guilmet, Robert Buron, etc.
In 2000, a large exhibition at Place Vendôme square featured 35 sculptures, including 20 sculptures 5 m high.
Officer in the French Order of Arts and Letters, Louis Derbré was decorated with a medal of Knight in the French National Order of Merit. In 1998, he was also made Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour by Senator René Ballayer.
In spite of his international success, Louis Derbré has always maintained close ties with his homeland in Mayenne and set up his art studios and foundry there.
Keeping with his attachment to his homeland and to art, the Louis Derbré Cultural Centre and its fine arts training centre were established in 1991 at the same site as his studios and foundry.