André Hambourg studied sculpture with Niclausse at the École des Arts Décoratifs in Paris from 1926 to 1930. He then entered the studio of Lucien Simon at the École des Beaux-Arts, before leaving to work in studios in Montparnasse. In 1931 he visited Normandy and Honfleur. In 1933, Albert Brabo and Jean Launois put him forward for the Villa Abd-el-Tif prize and he then lived in Algeria and Morocco for nearly ten years. Called up in 1939 in Morocco, he was demobilised in 1940. Between 1942 and 1945, under the pseudonym André Hache, he became a reporter and draughtsman for the newspaper of the French army, under Colonel Raoul Salan. He took part in the liberation of France and in the German campaign, was decorated with the Croix de Guerre and produced two works about the campaign, Berchtesgaden Party ( Berchtesgaden-Party) and From Algiers to Berchtesgaden ( D'Alger à Berchtesgaden), in 1947. From 1946 he took up his career as a painter again, painting portraits, nudes, landscapes, still-lifes and compositions, spending much time in Normandy. In 1948 he married Nicole Rachet, the grand-daughter of Eugène Boudin's doctor and friend. From 1961 the Galerie Paul Pétridès represented him in France, and the Wally Findlay Gallery represented him in the USA from 1962. At that time he set up a studio in a Normandy farm, and in 1972 he set up another studio in St-Rémy-de-Provence, in the middle of an olive grove once painted by Van Gogh. His large output includes Civilisation 37 (1937), Refugees from St-Dié (1944), Sunday in the Great Courtyard (1956), Breakfast (1957), Venetian Bedroom (1958), Bosphorus in December (1966), Western Wall in Jerusalem (1970), and Outdoor Market in Abidjan (1973). He painted crowds and scenes with people in Paris and Trouville, and Maghreb, Jerusalem and Abidjan markets, and also took inspiration from the special light emanating from the large expanses of water under the skies of Honfleur, London, Venice and Istanbul.
From 1952 he was the official painter of the Navy and, from 1963 onwards, he undertook many voyages, some aboard vessels of the French Navy, to Venice, the Soviet Union, Israel and Britain; to Ivory Coast (1971-1972); to the USA (1973, 1978 and 1979); and to Mexico (1978). He joined round-the-world missions aboard the Commandant Bourdais and Jeanne d'Arc (1983-1985), and visited Venice again in 1989. From these travels he brought back many sketches and preparatory drawings for subsequent paintings and for use as illustrations in collectors' editions of books.In 1951 President Vincent Auriol bestowed on him the insignia of Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur, and in 1960 he was made Officer of the Légion d'Honneur, in 1986 Commandeur des Arts et Lettres and Commandeur of the Légion d'Honneur, and in 1996 Grand Officier de l'Ordre National du Mérite. He held many other French and foreign distinctions.
He was also a lithographer and engraver and, above all, an illustrator of collectors' books, including Georges Duhamel's La Pierre d'Horeb ( La Pierre d'Horeb) (1953), Kipling's The Return of Imray (1956), Léo Larguier's St-Germain-des-Prés (1958), Henri de Régnier's Venetian Life ( La Vie Vénitienne) (1959), Sully Prudhomme's Private Diary ( Journal Intime) (1960), Honfleur Lights ( Lumières de Honfleur) by Lucie Delarue-Madrus (1964), Joseph Kessel's Land of Love and Fire ( Terre d'Amour et de Feu) (1967), Henry de Montherlant's Gypsum Flower ( La Rose des Sables) (1967), A Way of Looking at the Gardens of Versailles ( Manière de Montrer les Jardins de Versailles) (1974), based on a text by Louis XIV, Robert Pariente's Venice Notebook ( Carnet de Venice) (1979), Posthumous Works ( Œuvres Posthumes) by Albert Camus (1979), Robert Pariente's Paris in Full ( Paris en Toutes Lettres) (1985), with André Dunoyer de Segonzac, and Provence ( Provence), by André Suarès (1993).
He also produced mural decorations for ships, and in 1972 a mural decoration 195 feet (60 metres) square for the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Other works include mosaics for the Lycée André Maurois in Deauville, and the École Hans Christian Andersen and Collège d'Enseignement Secondaire Charles Mozin in Trouville.
From 1929 onwards he participated in the main Paris salons, including the Salon des Tuileries, the Salon des Artistes Indépendants and the Salon d'Automne, of which he became a member. He also took part in many national and international groups in Algiers, Oran, Casablanca, Rabat, London, Brussels and New York. His work has been shown posthumously in thematic group exhibitions, including Official Naval Painters ( Peintres Officiels de la Marine) at the Galerie St-Hubert in Paris in 2003, and Luminous Algeria, Through the Eyes of Seascape Painters (1830-1960) ( Lumineuse Algérie, sous le Regard des Peintres de Marines (1830-1960)) at the Musée National de la Marine in Toulon in 2003.
Encouraged by Derain, Kisling, Friesz and Favory, he gave his first solo exhibition in Paris in 1928, at the Galerie du Taureau. Subsequently, many exhibitions of his work were held, including in Beverly Hills and New York in 1976, Palm Beach and Beverly Hills in 1978, Chicago in 1979, Drawings of Venice ( Dessins de Venice) at the Galerie Varine-Gincourt in Paris in 1979, Illustrated Books ( Livres Illustrés) at the museum in Vire in 1981, Bonjour New York ( Bonjour New York) at the Wally Findlay Gallery in New York in 1985, The Presence of André Hambourg ( Présence d'André Hambourg) at the Salon du Dessin et de la Peinture à l'Eau in Paris in 1986, André Hambourg in the Ivory Coast ( André Hambourg en Côte-d'Ivoire) at the Galerie Guigné in Paris in 1987, André Hambourg in Venice ( André Hambourg à Venice) at the Galerie Apestéguy in Deauville in 1989 and at the Galerie Apestéguy in Deauville in 1995. Retrospectives of his work were held in Trouville in 1964 and 1973, at the Maison de la Culture in Bourges in 1970, at the Musée d'Antibes in 1974, at the Musée de la Marine in Paris in 1977, in Trouville at the inauguration of the Salle Hambourg in the museum in 1979, in Honfleur at the inauguration of the section dedicated to the Hambourg-Rachet endowment in memory of their son Pierre, who died in 1980, at the Musée Eugène Boudin in 1988, at an exhibition of 65 works of 1926-1988 at the salon of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1989, an exhibition of his St-Rémy work in 1942-1990 and illustrated books at the museum and municipal library in St-Rémy-de-Provence in 1991, an exhibition of works from 1926-1991 at the Galerie Étienne Sassi in Paris in 1991, André Hambourg, Works from the Museum Collection ( André Hambourg, Œuvres des Collections du Musée) in Trouville in 1995, and Paintings and Drawings from 1947 to 1995 ( Peintures, Dessins de 1947 à 1995) at the Musée de la Marine de Seine in Caudebec-en-Caux. A posthumous exhibition, André Hambourg: Life in the Open Air ( André Hambourg: la Vie au Grand Air), was held at the Musée Olympique in Lausanne in 2001.
Museum and Gallery Holdings
Honfleur (Mus. Eugène Boudin)
Paris (Mus. des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie)