« My only concern is to give architecture a real breathing, to create space”
Louis Derbré was born in 1925 in Montenay, Mayenne (France). Son of a farming family, he settles from 1945 in Paris where he works in the Art Edition as a laborer. Soon, he learns how to be a sculptor and is awarded the Fénéon Prize in 1951, by Louis Aragon, marking the beginning of his ascent. Then, as assistant of the sculptor Emile Gilioli, he distances himself from strict Realism for a more personal Art. In fact, he excels in portraits. He becomes known to the general public in 1962 during the exhibition “Rodin, Maillol, Derbré” at the very famous Odermatt Gallery (Matignon avenue, Paris)
In 1970, he sets up his studio in Arcueil and creates a foundry. There he sculpts his early works. Many celebrities are already interested in his work (Yul Brunner, Antony Quinn…)
From 1971, his work is exhibited at the Katia Granoff Gallery, and then in 1976 at the Artcurial in Paris.
In 1972, he creates “La Terre” (The Earth) in Tokyo, a 1.80m diameter bronze. A replica of which still sits today in the district of La Defense in Paris.
In 1981, “l’Espace Culturel Louis Derbré” (Louis Derbré cultural space) is created in Ernée (Mayenne) where his monumental works can be exhibited in a verdant area of 7 ha. His work is borderless. He sculpted both “La Maternité” (The Maternity), for the Lariboisière Hospital in Paris inaugurated in 1996, and six monumental works for the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima. It will take him five years to achieve “Le Prophète” (The Prophet), 6.5m high and weighing 12 tones.
In 1991, he leaves his studio in Arcueil to return in Mayenne where he dies in 2011.
Insatiable worker, Nature has always inspired him a lot. This is one of the reasons why he loved coming regularly to the Basque Country. Especially for his work on horses and bulls. His wife and his daughter live there today.
Officer of Arts and Letters and then Chevalier of the National Order of Merit, he is made Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by René Ballayer in 1998.
Worthy successor of masters inspired by the Ancient Art, his name is among those of the Great ones of French Sculpture.