XXth Cent Painter

About Guy de Montlaur

I want to shout: “Just look! Look at the mystery! It is piercing your eyes.”

And no one sees it. Nobody but myself. People see colours, shadows, lights, forms. They see (what do I know?) the canvas, the stretcher nails. And I don’t understand they can’t guess all the distress here, under their eyes, as it was during the war: the clamour, death, love, treachery; the lies and the fear. And still more that I cannot say, but I know how to do it.

Yes I say: I know how to do it.

His biography More on Wikipedia


Date Location & description

Permanent exhibition

Memorial Pegasus (Ranville, Normandy)

Permanent exhibition of the painting « Pegasus before landing »

To exhibit Guy de Montlaur's paintings: contact us.

Passed exhibitions

Pegasus before landing
Pegasus before landing
huile, 81cm × 65cm
Fontainebleau, 1956

Paintings selection

Oranges and bananas (Oranges et bananes)
Oranges and bananas (Oranges et bananes)
54 cm × 65 cm
Railway (Chemin de fer)
Railway (Chemin de fer)
100 cm × 65 cm
Nice 1950
Untitled (Sans titre)
Untitled (Sans titre)
65 cm × 100 cm
Fontainebleau 1950
146 cm × 114 cm
Fontainebleau 1953

More paintings

Virtual exhibit

Oil on canvas, 100 cm x 81 cm
Fontainebleau, France, March 1955



This painting is representative of the period when Montlaur lived in Fontainebleau. This characteristic style follows his abstract-geometric period of the early 50’s where shapes and colors were well defined and perfectly delimited. Here, in a first stage, the painter “covers the canvas” (in his own words), then, he substitutes the palette knife for the paintbrush. He breaks the shapes, scrapes the thick layers of paint to reveal the underlying color(s). The resulting shapes become ghostly, fantastic creatures, dark inhabitants of his never-ending nightmares, his war memories.

The title of the painting comes from Guillaume Apollinaire’s poem “Les Sept épées” (The Seven Swords). Sainte-Fabeau (Saint-Faggot) is the fifth of these swords.

Fifth, the Saint-Faggot is bright
and is the fairest of distaffs.
A cypress on a tomb, alight
where four winds kneel and force their draughts
in torches’ flaming, night on night.

(Guillaume Apollinaire, La Chanson du mal-aimé,
The Seven Swords -Translated by C. John Holcombe)

This stanza is about death: the distaff in the hands of the Fate, the cypress, the tomb. The sword is one that pierced the heart of the Virgin Mary and maybe also one of the seven deadly sins. As always, Apollinaire plays on the meaning of words, in the same way, the painter plays on the colors and the shapes of his creations.

One can see, lying at the bottom of the painting a gray shape with a red cross, is this the tomb? White forms fall from the sky, others, black and blue are kneeling. Montlaur was perfectly acquainted with the poems of “Alcools”, it is certain that he wanted to faithfully reproduce in his painting the hermetic words of the poet.

See the virtual exhibit

Last Blog post

La liberté qu'on espère rendre aux pères-peinards. Le sacrifice de George Gicquel

Il y a une chose parfaitement essentielle qu’il ne faudrait jamais oublier, même quand on parle d’une chose aussi dégoûtante qu’une guerre : c’est la liberté qu’on espère rendre aux pères-peinards et à leur infecte famille. Je sais que cette guerre, que je n’ai même pas faite pour “le bon motif”, n’a servi de rien. Ma seule fureur (c’est cela qui sert de courage à ceux qui n’en ont pas) m’a seulement fait remarquer que je ne trouvais pas à mon goût que des gens habillés en verdâtre, à 11h.00 du matin se promènent dans les Champs Élysées avec une musique (il faut être fritz pour ne pas se rendre compte qu’il arrive d’être ridicule) - cette musique comprenait deux “chapeaux chinois” : je ne sais pas si l’on sait ce qu’est un chapeau chinois - tant pis.

Je me suis dit qu’il fallait, le plus vite possible, quitter un pays si peureux.

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