Michel Ciry

French Artist; (1919-2018)

 Michel Ciry born in La Baule, France on August 31, 1919 and died at Varengeville-sur-Mer, Normandy France on December 26, 2018. Ciry was singular figure in modern French culture.  He was the composer of six symphonies for orchestra, mixed choir, and soloist. He published 36 volumes of memoirs. He was a master of the modern etching, who designed postage stamps and illustrated literary classics by authors ranging from Emily Bronte, Edgar Allen Poe to Franz Kafka. And if all these accomplishments were not enough, he painted portraits and landscapes of luminous simplicity. The extraordinary range of Ciry’s talent was not the only thing that sets him apart from his Western European contemporaries.  

Ciry was a committed Christian whose art was largely devoted to sacred themes. He also chose to remain celibate, living in self-imposed exile from the Paris art scene for over fifty years on the seacoast of Normandy in Varengeville-sur-Mer, where a museum an extension of his house opened in 2012 to display works in his personal collection from a career spanning over seven decades. 

A student at the Duperre School of Applied Arts in Paris from 1934 to 1937, Michel Ciry engraved his first copper in 1935 and made his debut at the “Artists of this Time” exhibition at the Petit Palais in 1938. He was appointed member of the Society of French Painters-Engravers in 1941. During the Occupation, he was part of the official milieu of artists close to the Vichy regime. Alongside his personal engraved work,  he produced many illustrations for bibliophile editions. From the 1960s, he lived and worked in Normandy at Varengeville-sur-Mer.

Ciry has been described as an “artist of solitude.” who lived to be 99 years old. His figurative studies are testimony to the solitary life he lived. They are like lone actors on a stage empty of all but essential props, similarly, his paintings of ships and landscapes are barren.

His painting titled “L’Epave” 1959 of a ship barren on dry land is an example of his connection to loneliness and an emptiness within himself that he lived with. He created in 1963 an drypoint aquatint etching of the same nautical ship released in an edition of 120. 

The record price for this artist at auction is $7,138 USD for “Arlequin à la Canne”, oil on canvas 63 3/4” x 38 1/4” sold at Millon Paris, December 2, 2017 – Lot 294.   


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