*15 September 1925 in Tours, France
+8 March 2008 in Antibes, France
James Coignard was born in 1925 in Tours, France. Shortly thereafter his family moved to Paris, where he later became more interested in art galleries and the “bouquinistes”, the booksellers on the banks of the Seine, than in his studies. His admission to the École des Beaux-Arts in Tours being refused, he began to work for the tax office in Langeais, where he became friends with the painter Marchand des Raux and, despite the bombing during the Second World War, painted motifs in the landscape of Touraine after the school of Cézanne, van Gogh and Gauguin. In 1948 he finally decided to become an artist and attended evening classes at the École des Arts Décoratifs in Nice. The following year already, he organized his first exhibition with his old friend Marchand.
In particular his contact to Braque and Chagall later influenced his artistic development, the latter especially regarding his coloring. In the 1950s, during a trip to Spain, he discovered the country’s great masters, Catalan sculptures and frescoes and incorporated these impressions into his work. In 1986, Henri Goetz, the inventor of the carborundum technique, introduced him to this kind of embossed printing with colour. Thereupon Coignard became an engraver while his wife takes care of the printing of the works – today he is considered a master of carborundum etching.
In his oeuvre, collages, torn out pages and wrapping paper are used again and again, several overlapping layers on which symbols and numbers are placed in the following creative processes. His colour palette ranges from vivid red and blue tones, which highlight the individual characters, to beige and ochre and dark brown tones.
The artist died in March 2008 in Mougins, France.