The Death of Paul Amar

30.11.2017 - vie

The Collection de l'Art Brut is sad to announce the death of Paul Amar (1919 - 2017), at the age of 98.  

Having spent his childhood in Algiers, Paul Amar left for Paris to learn the hairdressing profession. As a married man and father of two children he returned to the city of his childhood in 1945, only to leave again after the outbreak of the Algerian war. At the age of 55, he came across a souvenir shop selling shell objects, inspiring him to also create three-dimensional pictures out of seashells. To ensure he kept a steady supply of the latter, he took to consuming them in a variety of fashions. His creations are in high- and low-relief: they are illuminated from within thanks to lightbulbs hidden among sea urchin shells. Ornamentation in bright and pearly colors saturates the scenes he built up, rendering them nigh to sacred. He was so-to-speak inhabited by his oeuvre: nights, he would get up to write down the ideas he dreamt of, and each of his pieces took him several months of work.

The Collection de l’Art Brut owns eight of Amar's works: these it displays permanently in a room specially devoted to his oeuvre. His work was also shown at a major solo show in 2004. Philippe Lespinasse wrote up this creator's oeuvre in the Art Brut fascicle no. 22 (2007); in 2004, in coproduction with the museum, he also produced the documentary film "Paul Amar, le pape des coquillages" (Paul Amar, the Seashell Pope).

Image: Paul Amar and his wife Rose Amar during the Opening Reception of his show at the Collection de l'Art Brut in 2004 (photo: Denise Barbezat)