Pierre Sicard

Pierre Sicard was born in Paris in 1900, the son of the famous sculptor François Sicard.

Sicard began sketching when he was 10 years old, even at that young age his work shows his curiosity with the atmosphere of the nightlife in dance halls and bars. He did not have any special training in art, but attended a typical French public school. Later he expressed an interest in architecture, but gave up his studies to work with some decorators. He collaborated with his father for a while, and then in 1924 he began to paint seriously.

Sicard’s style and technique has much in common with the Postimpressionists, but his subjects were the wild and romantic scenes of Parisian bars and nightclubs. Sicard’s Paris was filled with jazz scenes, with black musicians at the Casino de Paris, elegant sophisticates dancing, confetti flying. He captured the stage performances of Josephine Baker and Le Revue Négre. His paintings of the 1920’s had titles like Le Pigalls, Le Dancing, and Charleston; these were “Les Années Folles.”

Sicard had a long, successful career that spanned more than four decades. His first exhibition in Paris was in 1924 at Galerie Durand-Ruel. In 1929 and 1930 he exhibited at Galerie George Petit in Paris. One of his works was purchased for the Musée de Tours.

In 1930 he traveled to London, Marseille, Turin, and Venice. He then traveled to Spain, and had an exhibition in Madrid in 1931, where one of his works was purchased for the Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona. In 1932 he exhibited again in Paris at Galerie George Petit, and one work was purchased for the Museum of Luxembourg.

In 1934 Sicard spent time working on a documentary film of his own conception, the subject was the Paris Opera. He spent time later that year in Provence painting landscapes and in 1935 he exhibited those works at Galerie Bignou.
Sicard traveled extensively. He visited Hong Kong, Bali, Sydney, Manila, and in 1936 and 1937 he traveled to the United States. He had an exhibition in New York in 1936 at the Marie Sterner Gallery. Later in 1936 at Galerie Bignou in Paris he exhibited scenes of New York.

In 1938 he had an exhibition at Galerie Bernheim Jeune, the preface of the catalogue was written by Fernand Fleuret. In 1939 he was mobilized into the army. He was a Sergeant in the Engineering Corps. During the war he was captured by the Germans but managed to escape back to his house in Saint-Raphaël. He continued to paint during occupation, but severe restrictions were put on artists. He managed to exhibit works from Bali at Galerie Gaffié in Nice, in 1943. In 1944 he was named the “Official Artist of the War” by the Ministry of War, in 1945 he worked on tapestries for the French Army.

In 1946 he exhibited at the Galerie Durand-Ruel in Paris, the preface of the catalogue was written by Florent Fels. This exhibit encompassed many years of Sicard’s work.

Sicard made frequent trips to New York and Los Angeles, and in 1950 he settled in Los Angeles. He and his wife Suzanne build a house in Bel Air. In 1951 he had his first exhibition at the Dalzell Hatfield Galleries, he achieved immediate success, critics praised his paintings and collectors consumed them. Jean Renoir, the son of the famous painter, himself a successful film director, wrote glorious things about Sicard’s paintings. Later that year when Sicard had an exhibition in New York at Castais Galleries, Jean Renoir wrote the introduction. Sicard also painted a portrait of Jean Renoir in is house in Beverly Hills.
A year later Sicard exhibited again in Paris at Galerie André Weil. His works included scenes of Los Angeles and New York, he had the same exuberance in these painting that existed in his works from Paris in his early career.

Sicard’s career continued to flourish. He had exhibitions at galleries in Los Angeles, New York, and Paris throughout the 1950’s. In 1955 Dalzell Hatfield Galleries published a book on Sicard’s work. Also in 1955 the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art hosted and exhibition of Sicard’s paintings. Included in that exhibition was a portrait of Edward G. Robinson on the set of “The Ten Commandments.”

In 1960 the Musée de L’Athénée in Geneva exhibited Sicard’s paintings, this exhibition included paintings from every period of Sicard’s life. In 1961 he had an exhibition in Berne, Switzerland.

In 1963 the Dalzell Hatfield Galleries had an exhibition of Sicard’s images of Venice, Italy. In 1965 Galerie Durand-Ruel exhibited a selection of old and new paintings.

Sicard’s paintings are held by many museums, including the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris, and private collections. One of Sicard’s paintings hangs permanently at the Carnavalet Museum in Paris, it is large painting of a nightclub in 1925, titled “Le Pigalls.” This painting was loaned to an exhibition in 1991at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the exhibition was called “The 1920’s, The Age of Metropolis.” By his inclusion in this exhibition Sicard achieved some measure of his rightful place in the history of 1920’s Paris, alongside Marcel Gromaire, Tamara de Lempicka, Moïse Kisling, and Leonard -Tsuguharu Foujita.