François Arnal

Biographical data

Born in La Valette-du-Var, southern France, in 1924. He lives and works in Arcueil and Pradet, in the Var. François Arnal studies law and literature in the University of Aix-en-Provence. He starts painting in 1947. His first individual exhibition takes place in 1950, in Paris. The following year, he participates in Signifiants de l’informel, an exhibition organized by the art critic Michel Tapié. Later, he starts working with different ways of expression, through paint, sculpture, as well as through furniture and object design, and even through writing.Died in Paris , 28th October 2012

Brief Chronology

At the beginning of the 50’s, François Arnal follows the Informal art movement and produces non-figurative landscapes and silhouettes. He spends periods of time in Mexico, United States, lives in Tahiti and produces very colourful paintings in which he uses “a sort of primitive language” (Teri tane note miti, 1957). Back in Paris, he works in his Bombardements series, and imprints the outline of objects on his paintings using spray paint (1965-1968). Later, he launches Atelier A (1968-1975) with the purpose of democratizing art and “inserting the artist in life”. He commissions artists, architects and designers to create objects and pieces of furniture which are mass-produced. The Atelier’s A products are, nowadays, acknowledged as emblematic design pieces of their time. Arnal returns to painting in 1975 with the series Voyeurs (1975-1976), Champs Voilés (1978), Élémentaires (1980), Blessures (1980-1981), Émerveillements (1983), canvases spattered with simple, expressive signs. He creates the world of the Meeps, imaginary beings who belong to a lost civilization in an invisible world; all they do are “stains and dots” and they have always lived in his work. He discovers their traces on canvas or on wood (La Bibliothèque des Meeps, 2001) and writes their stories. He also creates sculptures using wood, plastic or tires (Ensemble des Meeps, 1994-1995). In 1997, the Department of Culture commissions him to work on the liturgical decoration of the cathedral Saint Gassien of Tours.



Du dégoût ressenti, 2005, Paint on wood, 100 x 100 cm / 39,3 x 39,3 in.