Combat Gallery Sunday: The Martial Art of Albert Brenet
Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, and the like that produced them.
Combat Gallery Sunday : The Martial Art of Albert Brenet
Born June 25, 1903 at Harfleur, a small coastal town on the Normandy Coast, Albert Victor Eugene Brenet was almost delivered into saltwater. As a youth, he sketched the fishing boats and coastal craft that frequented his city and by 1920 at age 17 had earned a place at the École des beaux-arts in Paris.
However, the young rake soon left school and arranged passage on the leaky old three-masted barque Bonchamps, one of the last French sailing ships in commercial service, and spent several months aboard her on the Australian run with an extended stay in the French West Indies.
This undoubtedly influenced his paintings even more. More travel was offered him when he ventured to equatorial Africa with a prize funds from awarded by the Salon des Artistes Français.
By the late 1920s he was a regular with the magazine L’Illustration and soon took to other commercial work than included much travel advertising for Air France, Imperial Airways and Air Algeria in the 1930s.
By 1936 he was named an official illustrator of the French Department of Marine and in that line painted French warships, sailors, aircraft and Marines.
Caught in London in June 1940 on business, he was effectively exiled from France for the war but contributed to the war effort through illustration.
In 1946 he was awarded the Legion of Honor for his service to the country and was made an official artist to all three service branches.
He continued his work, specializing in Gouache board, and moved into illustrations for books (illustrating a release of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days, in 1976), models, and continued his duties to the Republic, venturing out on the carrier Foch as late as the 1991.
He died in 2003.
A number of his works are at the Musee National de la Marine at Toulon, the Musée portuaire de Dunkerque, the Gallimard National Maritime Museum, and elsewhere and are available on the Portail des collections des musées de France (for example here) and there are numerous online galleries that host his images.
Thank you for your work, sir.