Claude Venard was born in Paris to parents from Burgundy. He attended the École des Beaux-Arts for just two days, followed by six years of study at the École des Arts Appliqués. In 1936 he worked in the Louvre as a restorer.
As with André Marchand, Tal-Coat and Gruber, the strict disciplines of the New Forces ( Forces Nouvelles) group, to which he contributed, did not suit him for long, and he and the members of the movement abandoned it one by one. In 1945 he became a friend of Gruber, André Marchand and Civet, the group which put so much energy into post-war painting, and participated in their joint efforts and in their successes. Determining the influence of one or another of them, since they were always together and worked with the same creative exhilaration, would be as pointless as it is impossible. Venard became enthusiastic easily and deeply absorbed that which he admired. He said: 'Works which are at first overly seductive should not be trusted. I do not mean by that that ugliness is the greatest of virtues but that a work should impose by its power, without the aid of pleasing artifices.' Remaining faithful to Post-Cubist spatial composition, he accentuated the colour range of his palette progressively until he obtained the rawest of colours, always applied in very thick layers, often with a knife.
From 1935 Venard showed work at exhibitions devoted to modern art around the world, particularly in Paris. From 1936 he participated in the exhibitions of the Forces Nouvelles with Humblot, Gruber, Tal-Coat and other artists, and also exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants, the Salon des Tuileries and the Salon de Mai, of which he was a founder member, from 1945 to 1963. His career was punctuated by solo exhibitions, including at the Galerie Félix Vercel in Paris from 1969, and in London. He held other solo exhibitions all over the world from 1952 at New York, Milan, Geneva, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Düsseldorf, Munich, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Canada, Belgium, The Netherlands, Dallas, Beverly Hills and Lyons, among others. A retrospective of his work was shown at the museum of Reading in Pennsylvania in 1969.
Museum and Gallery Holdings
London (Tate Collection): Still-life (1955-1956, oil on canvas)