Louis Derbré, sculptor and bronze caster
A LIFE OF CREATION
Louis Derbré was born on 16 November 1925 in Montenay (Mayenne department), France into a farming family. After getting married in 1945, he worked in Paris in a fine arts publishing house. There he met students of the Beaux-Arts art school and started interacting with them.
Two years later, he sculpted the portait of one of these students and won the Fénéon Prize in 1951, awarded by Louis Aragon himself at the Sorbonne.
In 1953, he was awarded the Prix National [National Prize] by the city of Paris.
The Museum of the city of Paris, the Museums of Poitiers, St. Ouen and Laval have all purchased some of his sculptures.
His works have been exhibited at the Salon d’Automne, Salon de la Jeune Sculpture ‘Formes Humaines’ and the Salon des Indépendants exhibitions in Paris.
From 1955 to 1960: collaboration with the sculptor Gilioli.
1962: Exhibition at the Odermatt Gallery in Paris, entitled ‘Rodin-Maillol-Derbré’.
1971: Exhibition at the Katia Granoff Gallery.
1972: Creation of La Terre for Ikebukuro Park in Tokyo; a replica of this sculpture adorns Place des Reflets square at La Défensein Paris.
He participated in the Groupe des Neufs for four years.
Louis Derbré’s work traveled from exhibition to exhibition, in France and overseas: Norway, Japon, Brazil, Ivory Coast, Canada, the United States, Indonesia.
- The Museum of Château de Vitré (Ile-et-Vilaine department) dedicates a retrospective exhibition to him: ‘20 years of Sculpture’.
- The Nathan Cummings Foundation acquired several works that now decorate the Mount Sinai Shrine Center in Vermont (USA).
1974: Exhibition at the Genot Gallery in Paris.
1976 to 1983: Permanent exhibition at the Artcurial Gallery.
1984: Monument in honour of French President Georges Pompidou, La Minute de Silence. This work is installed in the Jardins Gabriel gardens in Paris.
- Louis Derbré was decorated as Officer in the French Order of Arts and Letters. Later, in 1992, he was decorated as Knight in the French National Order of Merit.
- Commissions for the cities of Arcueil, Clichy, Sablé-sur-Sarthe (Sarthe department) as well as the Caisse de Dépôts [French public bank] in Villeneuve La Garenne and Laval.
- Exhibition at the Vasarely Foundation in Aachen.
- Exhibition in New York, Bale and at the Los Angeles Art Fair.
1992: Exhibition at the La Coupole restaurant in Paris.
- Exhibition at the Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne bank in Brest (Finistère department).
- Monument for the tourist office in Laval (Mayenne department).
- Monument in memory of Robert Tatin at Cosse-le-Vivien (Mayenne department).
- Memorial monument for the town of Ernée (Mayenne department).
- Monumental sculpture for the Rond Point Est roundabout on the ring road serving Laval (Mayenne department); public commission.
- Creation of an 8 m column for the Smith-Kline-Beecham Laboratories.
- Exhibition at the Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne bank in Rennes (Ile-et-Vilaine department).
- Creation of the Louis Derbré Cultural Centre, comprising a foundry and a fine arts training centre, in Ernée (Mayenne department). Le Mythe, an 18 m high sculpture, was the first to be installed at the Centre.
1994: Exhibition at the town hall of the 16th Arrondissment in Paris.
- Installation of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, composed of six 5 m high monumental sculptures.
- November 1997: Exhibition at La Coupole restaurant in Paris.
- 2 December 1997: sporting sculptures by Louis Derbré, La Coupole restaurant in Paris celebrates its 70th anniversary.
- March 1998: Louis Derbré was named Knight in the French National Order of the Legion of Honour.
- Close to artists, he organised the regional art exhibition at Ernée for 39 consecutive years. Each year, he offered a prize of 25,000 French francs to a young artist. At this event, he presented La Divinité, a spiritual sculpture that is a sequel to the Hiroshima Peace Monument.
- The theatre was expanded and can now host up to 6,000 people.
- September 1998: He received the Knight’s medal in the Legion of Honour from Senator René Ballayer.
- October 1998: A book entitled De Terre et de Bronze [Of Clay and Bronze] that recounts his 50 years of creativity was published.
- Selected for a very important exhibition: some thirty sculptures, including 20 sculptures, 5 m high, were to be shown at Place Vendôme square and Rue de la Paix in Paris in May 2000.
- Exhibition at Le Viaduc des Arts, Avenue Daumesnil in Paris in October and November 1999. A 5 m sculpture was also chosen.
- From 4 May to 24 June 2000: Exhibition of 35 sculptures, including 20 5 m high pieces, at Place Vendome square in Paris.
- From the end of June to the end of September, these sculptures were exhibited in the centre of the city of Laval. Some small sculptures were also exhibited inside the St. Julien Chapel in Laval.
Following that, all these works were exhibited from 7 October to 12 December at Acigne, Betton, Thorigne, Fouillard, Noyal sur Vilaine and Rennes (Ile-et-Vilaine deparment).
For the year-end holidays, all these sculptures were exhibited at Ernée and in surrounding towns for one month.
- From 26 January to 18 March 2001: The city of Montelimar presented ten of his monumental works along the Allées Provençales.
- From 5 March 2001: A large exhibition of some fifty of his works were presented at the Chatelet Victoria Centre. 19, Avenue Victoria in Paris, sponsored by UNESCO.
- From 21 May to 20 June 2001: Exhibition of sculptures at the town hall in Meslay-du-Maine (Mayenne), with small pieces displayed in the entrance hall and five monumental sculptures in the courtyard.
- Various exhibitions, cities of Laval and Sablé-sur-Sarthe.
- Creation of an altar cross, a representation of a resuscitated Christ and an Easter candle, all cast in bronze, for the Diocese of Laval.
- September 2002: Creation of a full-size sculpture of Alexis de Tocqueville installed at the Maison du Département, a local government building, in Saint Lô (Manche department).
- November 2002: Installation of the bronze sculpture entitled La Tauromachie commissioned by the city of Rennes (Ile-et-Vilaine department) for Maurepas Park.
- From 5 February to 25 February 2003: Exhibition of three bronze sculptures (from 3.60 to 4.50 m high) in the square of Saint Sulpice Church.
- Exhibition of small sculptures during the same period at the town hall of the 6th Arrondissement in Paris.
- Extension of the exhibition on the square of Saint Sulpice Church until 3 April 2003.
- From 4 April to 30 June 2003: Exhibition in Place René Cassin square at the town hall of the 1st Arrondissment in Paris.
- Addition of a bronze sculpture La Victoire (2.60 m high).
- From 12 July to 24 August 2003: Exhibition of eight small works in bronze at the town hall of Penestin (Finistère department).
- From 15 October to 10 December 2003: Exhibition of L’Amour (a 4.50 m high bronze sculpture) in front of the Plaza-Athenee Hotel in Paris as well as fifteen other bronze sculptures in the exterior and interior courtyards of the hotel.
- From 6 December to 14 December 2003: Participated in the Florence Biennale international contemporary art exhibition. Exhibition of three bronze works.
- From 4 December to 31 December 2003: Exhibition at the La Daurade Gallery in Toulouse.
- From 5 December to 24 December 2003: Exhibition at Hotel-Dieu for the 1st Biennial Sculpture exhibition in Toulouse.
- Acquisition by the city of Saint-Amand-Montrond (Cher department) of the sculpture entitled L’Amour, a 4.50 m high bronze sculpture. This sculpture was installed in November 2003.
- Exhibition at the Chatelet-Victoria Centre in Paris (1st Arrondissement), 15 works in bronze of intermediate size. The initial duration of the exhibition was to be 1 month.
- Exhibition at Beirut for one week, starting 25 May 2004.
- Commission by an association in Saint-Lô (Manche department) for two busts of Mr Urbain Leverrier; installation planned for the end of May-early June 2004.
- Commission of the sculpture entitled La Fontaine, a 6 m x 6 m bronze for the city of Sablé-sur-Sarthe (Sarthe department) (commissioned as part of the renovation of public parks in the Montreux quarter).
- Creation and completion of the sculpture project entitled Le Prophète. 7 m x 3.40 m plaster mock-up. The sculpture was later cast in bronze.
- Commission by the city of Balazé (Ile-et Vilaine department) for a war memorial. It was inaugurated on 7 May 2006.
This bronze monument represents a couple with a child.
- Also for the city of Balazé, a wall composed of faces. The completed cement bas-relief is inscribed with the names of 100 veterans from various wars.
- Commission by the city of Montenay (near Ernée) (Mayenne department) for five bronze sculptures (representing a teacher and 4 pupils) for the new primary school. Delivery was planned for March 2007.
- Commission by the Solidere Company in Beirut, Lebanon, for a full-size bronze sculpture of Mr Samir Kassir, a journalist who perished in a car bombing in June 2005. The inauguration of this work took place at Place des Martyrs on 2 June 2006.
- 15 December 2005: Installation of the sculpture Le Drakar at Sablé-sur-Sarthe (Sarthe department). This 7 m high bronze sculpture is located in the Montreux quarter of the city.
- Creation and installation of projects developed in 2005.
- From 7 March to 27 March 2006: La Daurade Gallery in Toulouse.
- From 5 May to 31 July 2006: Exhibition of 15 bronze works in Béziers (Hérault deparment), in the centre of town, on the Allée Paul Riquet and at the Mercure gallery.
- From 17 July to 11 September 2006: Exhibition at the Brittany Parliament in Rennes, 15 bronze sculptures.
- From 1 June to 31 July 2006: Exhibition of eight bronze sculptures of intermediate size at the Des Arts et Des Hommes Gallery in Vannes (Morbihan department).
- From 1 July to 31 July 2006: Exhbition of 15 bronze sculptures in Gandia, Spain.
- From 23 November 2006 to 10 February 2007: Exhibition of 10 large bronze sculptures in the centre of Ernée, during the year-end holidays.
- Creation and inauguration of the sculpture entitled Le Prophète in bronze, 6.5 m high, on 8 June at Alençon (Orne departement).
- Commission by the Solidere company in Beirut, Lebanon, for a bronze monument in memory of Mr Rafik Hariri, former Prime Minister assassinated in 2005.
- Commission by the Lancelin Corderie, a rope manufacturing company in Ernée, for a bronze sculpture entitled La Mer in collaboration with Isabel Coupeau.
- Creation of a 5 m high bronze sculpture entitled Le Clair de la Lune for the town hall of Ernée, installed late September in front of the new community hall of the same name.
- Creation of the sculpture entitled La Classe at Montenay (Mayenne department) in collaboration with Isabel Coupeau. Inaugurated on 6 September 2007, at Place Louis Derbré square where the new Montenay Nursery/Primary School is located.
- Commission by the city of United City, in California, USA, for three bronze sculptures 5 m high. Installation planned for Spring 2008.
- Alençon: From 6 June to 16 September 2007. at Parc des Promenandes: Le Prophète in bronze as well as some monumental sculptures including an excerpt of his bestiary. In parallel, an exhibition of small and intermediate sculptures at the Halle au Blé.
- Dax: Exhibition during Summer 2007 of three L’Eau Vive sculptures on the theme of water.
- National Heritage Day: 15 and 16 September 2007. Exhibition of small bronze sculptures.
- From 19 October to 11 November 2007: Exhibition of small and intermediate bronze sculptures in St. James (Manche department).
- From 4 to 11 November 2007: Exhibition of small and intermediate bronze sculptures in Pont Farcy (Calvados department).
Projects for 2008:
- Commission by the city of Gandia, Spain, for a 7 m high bronze sculpture.
- Exhibition of the monumental bronze Le Prophète in the Jardin du Luxembourg from May to September during the ArtSénat exhibition.
- Projet for the creation of an International Art Center.
Projects for 2009:
- Exhibition of sculptures and photographs at the headquarters of the Crédit Mutual de Bretagne bank in Rennes (Ile-et-Vilaine department).
- Exhibition at Madeleine Church in Paris.
- Le Prophète is to travel to Amsterdam and London.