Pierre de Belay


Pierre de Belay was born in Quimperle, France, December 11, 1890 and died in Paris in 1947. In 1919, following the War, Pierre de Belay took up residence in Paris, and stayed there for the rest of his life. His quarter was Montparnasse. In 1925, he found a studio on rue de L’Armorique. Then in 1937, he moved to rue Proidevaux where his studio over looked Montparnasse.

Painters and writers had left Montmartre several years before for Montparnasse. The life of “Montparnassians” during this “wild age” has often been recounted through the destinies of Chagal, Soutine, Modigliani, Pasein or Kisling, and through life in numerous studios of the 14th district, particularly at the Ruche, nightclubs like Bal Negre and the Jockey at the Vavin intersection and cafes like Rotonde, the Coupole, the Dome on the boulevard Montparnasse, which was invaded by artists and socialites. Pierre frequented this motley milieu, which for him would be an extraordinary source of inspiration.

From 1923-1926, he illustrated the magazine Harlequin, periodical of arts and spectacles, particularly the column Pairs sups and Dines. He was already making the most of his virtuosity in drawing. At the same time, through painting he was beginning to treat various subjects that would be his for years.

In the same year, after exhibiting at the Rontonde in 1930, he would have a great success at a private exhibition at the Gulot Gallery. Belay exhibited 50 works depicting Scenes of Parisian Life. The State bought At the Cobbler’s. It was this exhibition that established Pierre de Belay’s reputation and insured him a successful career.

Museums:Bordeaux, Brest, Orleans, Ostende, Paris, Quimper

Gerald Schuss: Pierre de Belay (Revue Modern, Paris, 1972).