Renee de trois quarts, 1911
Charcoal on paper
24.7 x 18.8 in.
62.7 x 47.7 cm
b. 1875, Damville, Normandy, France
d. 1963, Puteaux, France
Jacques Villon was a French Cubist painter and abstract printmaker. Born Gaston Duchamp, he later changed his name to distinguish himself from his siblings: Marcel Du-champ, Raymond Duchamp-Villon and Suzanne Duchamp. Villon began his artistic training under his grandfather Emile Frédéric Nicolle, who taught him the art of engraving and printmaking. In 1894, Villon began studying law at the University of Paris, but was soon drawn towards artistic pursuits. He moved to Montmarte with his brother Raymond in 1895 and began studies at L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He became a graphic artist, contributing posters, cartoons, and illustrations to Parisian magazines and newspapers. Remaining an active figure in Montmarte, in 1903 he helped to organize the drawing section at the first Salon d’Automne in Paris and from 1904–05 he studied at the Académie Julian.
Villon moved to Puteaux in 1906, where he would meet frequently with other art-ists, including Frantisek Kupka, Albert Gleizes, Robert Delaunay, Fernand Léger, Francis Pi-cabia, Jean Metzinger, and Guillaume Apollinaire. Later called the Puteaux Group, the gathering would debate the on-going artistic developments of the capital and share their ideas on new innovations. Villon helped to organize their first show, the Salon de la Section d'Or, held at the Galerie La Boétie in October 1911. The following year, Villon exhibited at the Armory Show in New York City, where his works proved popular and all his art sold.
In his later career, Villon worked prolifically as a printmaker, maintaining an inter-est in abstracting form from observation in a colorful, geometric style. He received honors at a number of international exhibitions, including the Grand Prize for Painting at the Ven-ice Biennale in 1956. Today, Villon’s work is found in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, among others.