Aublet, Félix Tahar Marie
French, 20th century, male.
Born February 1903, in Tunis; died 24 January 1978, in Aix-en-Provence.
Painter, architect, decorative designer, designer, poster artist. Wall decorations, stage costumes and sets, furniture, advertising art.
Art et Lumière.
Félix Tahar Marie Aublet was the son of the Orientalist painter Albert Aublet. He was brought up both in Neuilly, France, and in a Moorish palace in Tunis, where the family spent six months of the year. His second forename, Tahar, means 'blessed one' in Arabic. In 1935, with Robert Delaunay, he founded the group Art et Lumière, whose projects attracted the collaboration of a great many young artists, including Survage, Bissière, Gleizes, Herbin, Manessier, Villon and Estève. In 1954 he settled in Aix-en-Provence. A serious accident in 1959 left him paralysed for life.
As a painter, Aublet exhibited in Paris at the Salon des Artistes Français from 1925, at the Salon des Indépendants from 1928, and at the Salon d'Automne in 1932. As a decorator, he took part in many specialist events in Paris, such as the Salon International des Arts Décoratifs in 1929, the Exposition Coloniale in 1931, the Salon de la Lumière et de l'Art Mural in 1934-1935, and the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques in 1937. As both decorator and painter, he participated in group exhibitions throughout France and abroad, and especially in the south of France following his move to Aix-en-Provence. In 1938 he exhibited with Bissière, Bertholle, Le Moal and Manessier at the Galerie Breteau in Paris. The Galerie Spinazzola in Aix-en-Provence organised a solo exhibition for him in 1961.
Aublet was a truly modern artist of the inter-war years. From 1925 he worked in collaboration with Robert and Sonia Delaunay. While he designed furniture units, Sonia created fabrics and Robert produced decorative panels. Of the many creations of the Art et Lumière, which he led, the Palais de l'Air (Air Palace) and the decorations of the Palais des Chemins de Fer (Railway Palace) at the 1937 Exposition Internationale are the works most frequently mentioned. After 1939 he created many stage sets and costumes for cinema and theatre, notably for the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, where he involved Bissière and De Staël in creating the theatre bar. In the 1950s he devised the concept of 'advertising on wheels' with Astra, Cinzano, Perrier, Mazda and Bic vehicles. Following his accident in 1959, he concentrated mainly on painting Abstract works and portraits of friends.
After his death, Aublet's work featured in several group exhibitions, including The Thirties in France ( Les Années 30 en France) at the Musée d'Art et d'Industrie in St-Étienne in 1979, and Paris-Paris at the Centre Georges Pompidou in 1981. In 2001 Aublet's career and work, still relatively unknown, were explored in four exhibitions in Aix-en-Provence: Félix Aublet: Design, Furniture, Architecture, Theatre Sets ( Félix Aublet: Design, Mobilier, Architecture, Décors de Théâtre) at the Musée des Tapisseries; Artistic Friendships ( Les Amitiés Artistiques) at the Musée Granet; Fine Art ( Beaux-Arts) at the Pavillon de Vendôme;and 1937, International Exhibition ( 1937, Exposition Internationale) at the Cité du Livre.
- Ely, Bruno/Viatte, Germain/Brunhammer, Yvonne/Ernoult, Nathalie: Félix Aublet, exhibition catalogue, Direction de l'action et du développement culturels, Aix-en-Provence, 2001.
- Champenois, Michèle: ‘Felix Aublet, l'homme qui faisait bouger les couleurs de la modernité’ in Le Monde, periodical, Paris, 11 August 2001.