Jacques Villon was born Gaston Duchamp in 1875. He was the oldest brother of the artists Marcel Duchamp, Suzanne Duchamp-Crotti and the sculptor Raymond Duchamp-Villon. Initially a law student, in 1894 he went to Paris to study art. It was there that he met Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and other influential artists in Paris, and changed his name to Jacques Villon, after the poet. Villon made prints of some of the most well-known belle-é poque portraits and genre scenes of the early twentieth century. Around 1911, he came under the influence of Picasso and other cubists, and became a leading exponent of the style, exhibiting in the 1913 Armory Show in New York. In 1922, the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune commissioned Villon to produce a series of color aquatints after 38 major nineteenth- and twentieth-century paintings. This series included works by Pierre Auguste Renoir, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, Georges Braque, Raoul Dufy, Amadeo Modigliani, Edouard Manet, Pierre Bonnard, and others. Artists who were alive at the time of the printing collaborated with Villon, and signed the prints. The project took ten years to complete. Several of these prints are valued highly today, and some went on to be reproduced by the Louvre Museum as photo-etchings. Villon's 'cubist' etchings, with their characteristic cross-hatching, are amongst the most renowned prints of the twentieth century. Jacques Villon's long career brought him fame. The diverse nature of his paintings, from end-of-the-century portraits to cubist and abstract styles to graphic works, made him a major figure in twentieth-century art. He was made a Grand Officer of the Lé gion d'Honneur, and upon his death in 1963, and he was given a state funeral.
Jacques Villon, Jacques Villon Nu, 1923, Aquatint printed in colours on wove paper, Edition 200, 28" x 21 Sheet Size