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Author photo. Élie Faure (1873-1937) Historien de l'art et essayiste français

Élie Faure (1873-1937) Historien de l'art et essayiste français

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Élie Faure trained as a physician, and worked as a surgeon for several years, serving as a medical officer with the French army in World War I. He obtained his first job in the art world with the help of Émile Zola, who got him appointed editor of L’Aurore, the liberal paper in which Zola had published his famous article "J’Accuse." Faure was self-taught in French art history. He wrote a 1904 pamphlet on Velasquez that led him to undertake a series of public lectures on art history. The lectures were later compiled into five volumes, entitled L'Histoire de l'art (published 1920-1921), his most famous work. It was one of the first art histories to examine art primarily in relation to civilization. Faure pioneered the study of primitive art, and recognized the aesthetic potential of the modern age, seeing film, with its collective appeal and its technical resources, as the art of the future. L'Histoire de l'art was highly popular both in France and the USA and remained available in paperback reprints long after the author's death. Faure later published works on Paul Cézanne (1913), André Derain (1923) Chaim Soutine (1929) among others, as well as a biography of Napoleon (1921). From 1931 to 1932, he went on a world tour, and stayed with Diego Rivera in Mexico. André Malraux popularized many of Faure's ideas in his own work. The Lycée Élie Faure in Lormont, a suburb of Bordeaux, is named in his honor.
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