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Georges Lacombe


The simplified forms of Georges Lacombe’s (1868–1916) suggestive imagery and the two-dimensional approach of his paintings remind one of Japanese woodcuts. He joined the Nabis group after meeting Emile Bernard, among others, at the Académie Julian in Paris. He is also known as a sculptor.

Lacombe was born in Versailles, into a distinguished and artistic family. He received drawing lessons from his mother, the painter and printmaker Laure Lacombe, and continued his training in Paris with the painters Georges Bertrand, Alfred Roll and Henri Gervex, who were family friends. Lacombe’s friendship with Paul Sérusier and the other Nabis in 1893 brought about a radical change in his style and he began painting in tempera, in order to achieve a matt finish.

At Camaret on the Brittany coast, where he spent the summers from 1888 to 1897, he painted stylised Breton figures and seascapes with unusual compositions and anthropomorphic imagery. After encountering the work of Gauguin, to whom he was introduced by Sérusier in 1894, he became interested in wood carving and employed a deliberately crude technique. Known as ‘le Nabi sculpteur’, Lacombe explored symbolist themes such as the cycle of life and death and the forces of nature.