Edouard Chimot (French, 1880-1959) was a French artist, illustrator and editor whose career reached its peak in the 1920s in Paris. The crucial decade of his career was that between the end of World War I and the Wall Street Crash. It was during this time of frivolity and excess that Édouard Chimot created the haunting and compelling images by which his name will endure.
In the 1920s, Édouard Chimot also made at least two films, L’Ornière (1924, also known as Micheline Horn and as Sur le Chemin de Vrai) and Survivre (date unknown). During the glittering Jazz Age, Chimot was forming not just artistic but literary alliances, with writers such as the Surrealist Gilbert Lély, who dedicated the first publication of Ne tue ton père qu’à bon escient to Chimot in 1929. On 23 October of that year, Édouard Chimot must have felt gloriously launched on his late-started career. At the age of 49, he was a significant figure in the Paris art world, a generous patron of his fellow artists, and himself an artist with a public hungry for his late-Symbolist nudes, "soumises à leurs passions mortelles et délicieuses", as André Warnod put it.
The following day came the Wall Street Crash, which wiped out the market for fancy limited editions. When the last of the books in production for Devambez, Chimot’s own edition of Parallèlement, was published in 1931, the game was up. That year a monograph on Chimot by Maurice Rat was published, with a preface by Maurice Magre, in the series Les Artistes du livre, putting the full stop to the glory years of Édouard Chimot.
Chimot’s work in the last three decades of his life shows a sad falling-off from his pinnacle of activity and achievement in the 20s, though inevitably in an artist so richly talented there are flashes of grace and brilliance. In the last year of his life appeared a collection of 16 drawings of female nudes, Les Belles que voilà : mes modèles de Montmartre à Séville, which he regarded as a summary of his lifelong devotion to the female nude.
Chimot had fallen in love with Spain while researching the illustrations for his edition of La Femme et le Pantin by Pierre Louÿs in 1928. During the Second World War, he and his wife Loulou (19 years his junior) took refuge from the war in the holiday house they had bought in Barcelona. Hence Chimot’s publications afterwards, appeared in Barcelona, and mostly illustrate Spanish-language texts. Chimot died in Paris in 1959.
Artist: Edouard Chimot (French, 1880-1930)
Title: "Portrait of a Nude Woman"
Media: Pencil and conte crayon on paper.
Size: 13 1/2 by 10 1/4 inches (34.3 by 26.0 cm) (sight). Framed 20 3/4 by 17 1/4 inches.
Signed lower right: Chimot
Condition: Light overall toning; minor rubbing, possibly inherent to the work. Minor foxing. One repaired tear approximately 5 inches long extending from the lower right edge toward the image.