Bernard Lorjou was born in Blois (Loir-et-Cher) in 1908, into a modest family of agricultural workers. Going to Paris as a young man, Lorjou worked initially as a baggage handler at the Gare du Nord, and subsequently in a range of similar jobs, all the while studying at the private art academies in Montparnasse, and in the evenings at the École de Dessin de la Ville de Paris. From 1927-1932 Bernard Lorjou designed fabrics in the silk studio of Ducharne in Montmartre. In 1931 Lorjou travelled to Spain, where he first encountered the work of Goya. From 1933, Bernard Lorjou devoted himself to art fulltime. In 1936 he exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants and at the Salon d'Automne, receiving encouragement from the sculptor Charles Despiau. After WWII Bernard Lorjou aligned himself with the progressives in French art, exhibiting at the first Salon du Mai in 1945. In 1948 Lorjou was one of the founders of the group L'Homme Témoin (The Witness), which also included his wife Yvonne Mottet and his disciples Bernard Buffet and Paul Rebeyrolle. This group rejected abstraction in favour of a figurative art that stood witness against suffering and injustice. Bernard Lorjou continued to exhibit at the major Paris salons, notably the Salon d'Automne, which in 1989 mounted a posthumous exhibition of his work. The art of Bernard Lorjou, influenced by his admiration for artists such as Goya, James Ensor, George Grosz, and Chaim Soutine, divides into small-scale works on conventional themes (still lives, flowers, clowns) and monumental campaigning works on political themes, from La Conquête d'Abyssinie in 1934 to L'Age atomique in 1949 to Bâches pour la lutte contre le SIDA in 1985. Among his controversial works was a series of 60 paintings exhibited in Paris in 1970 on the theme of L'Assassinat de Sharon Tate.