ARMAND COUSSENS (French / 1881-1935)

The Provençal painter and printmaker Armand Coussens was born in Saint-Ambroix (Gard) in 1881. He studied at the Beaux-Arts, Nîmes, under Alexis Lahaye. Ambitious for his talented student, Lahaye encouraged Coussens to go to Paris to enter for the Prix de Rome. But the 7 years he spent in Paris from 1900 to 1907 were frustrating for the young artist, who spent his time studying the Impressionists and painting on the banks of the Seine, rather than following the stultifying course at the Beaux-Arts, Paris, which even at that date was still focussed on copying antique casts and producing a new generation of history painters. Coussens left in disgust, and returned to Nîmes, where he lived and worked until his death in 1935. Coussens became professor of drawing at the Beaux-Arts, Nîmes. In 1912 Armand Coussens took up etching, finding his first success with the sale of a plate to the master printer Vernant, for a society of print-collectors. In 1919 the Musée du Luxembourg - where Coussens had spent to many days studying the Impressionist masters - bought eight etchings and a painting, as well as two watercolours by his wife, Jeanne Coussens, who had also studied under Alexis Lahaye. As an etcher, Armand Coussens reflects the influence of artists such as Doré and Daumier in the satirical edge of his needle. Our etching Amateurs d'estampes, for instance, published in 1922, shows an urge to bite the hand that fed him, by showing the very print collectors who were supporting him as doddery old figures of fun. Although Amateurs d'estampes is in black only, Armand Coussens was an enthusiastic promoter of colour etchings, which were still regarded as inferior to black-and-white, despite the achievements of artists such as Raffaëlli in the previous generation.

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Selected prints by ARMAND COUSSENS

Amateurs d'estampes, 1922
Etching/aquatint •SOLD

View all available prints by ARMAND COUSSENS