Anna Quinquaud

Anna Quinquaud
Anna Quinquaud

Biography of Anna Quinquaud ( 1890-1984 )

Anna Quinquaud begins very young to handle the clay next to her mother, Thérèse Caillaux, sculptor and pupil of Rodin. At the age of 12, she realizes a small bas-relief in terra-cotta entitled « The Shepherdess and her sheeps », still presented in the family house in Lafat.

At the age of 22, she presents two busts at the Salon of the French Artists. In 1914, she receives the prize of sculptures of the women painters and sculptors. She obtains on July 23rd, 1924 the First second Grand Prix of Rome. In award, she prefers the discovery of the African Continent instead of the stay which was offered her in the Villa Medicis in Rome.

She is then going to discover Black Africa: Niger (in 1925), Guinea (in 1930-1931) then Madagascar and Ethiopia (in 1932). In 1925, she goes through Mauritania, Senegal, Sudan, Mali, in dugout on Niger, accompanied only with her Sudanese "boys" which carried her her boxes of sculptures, earth, instruments, clothes and accessories of life. She returns in France in 1926, and is back to Niger in 1930, in Fouta-Djalon, in Timbuktoo, in Guinea. She brings back of this journey sculptures and totally new watercolors that she exposes, with an immense success, to the Gallery Charpentier, street of the Faubourg St-Honoré in Paris.

In French Guinea, she lives in the middle of the Fulanis settled by the mountains of Fouta Djallon. Seduced and fascinated by their traditions, she above all intends to get the essence of these peoples: « Is it not the role of the artist to indicate to the layman what he does not know how to see? », she asserts. The artist is going to restore their rangy silhouettes, their haughty look, their gestures and their movements through her drawings and sculptures. She uses indifferently the wood, the bronze, the cooked earth and even the plastics.

In her return, she exposes her major works to the international colonial exhibition of 1931, which proposes a retrospective of creation of artists travelers, among whom Gauguin. The public is going to discover « The woman of the Fouta Djallon » of Anna Quinquaud. This sculpture in cooked, recognizable in its hairstyle, its jewels and its ornaments of skin, can be at present admired in Boulogne as well as the « Young woman Foulah ». In the works of the artist, jewels and hairstyles are very present and treated with realism. Maybe she benefited on this point of the help of her brother, colonial administrator, who studied the means of seduction of the woman African and realized a study on jewels.

In 1932, she is awarded with the Prize of Madagascar which gives her a grant of journey. She visits Ethiopia, makes Negus Hailé Silassié’s acquaintance, stays in his palace and realizes his bust there.

Anna Quinquaud becomes famous from the 30s, and is decorated with the Legion of Honour. The Illustration, one of the most important magazine of that time, published « The woman of the Fouta Djallon » in cover page. This piece is also edited in stoneware by the Famous House La Hubandière.

In 1937, the city of Paris orders her, on the occasion of the international exhibition of the arts and techniques in the modern life, monumental sculptures to give a tone Art deco to the capital. So she produced the bas-relief of the Palais de Chaillot. Curiously, while she has never travelled in Asia, she chooses the theme of Indochina.
She also realized a statue for the square of the museums of modern Art.

From 1925, the factory of Sèvres, in search of novelty, is interested in the work of Anna Quinquaud. It retains from the first exhibition of the artist just returned from Africa two sculptures « Moorish Woman in Chandora » and « Negress carriing some water ». The artist gives up the exclusive right to edit these works in some ceramic material, and saves herself the free arrangement concerning their reproduction in not ceramic material, particularly in bronze.

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