Front Cover – Camille Bombois – In the Bistro–-c1930
Camille Bombois 1993 - 1970
Despite his precocious attraction to painting, the family financial difficulties meant that Camille Bombois had to work from a very young age. Working as a farmhand and sailor, he then became a wrestler in a fun fair in order to be able to travel to Paris. On his arrival, he works in the tunnels of the Parisian Metro and then finds a job working nights at a printer's so he could spend all day painting. After military service in the First World War where he showed great courage and bravery, (he was awarded three medals), he discovers that his wife had sold some of his paintings in order to survive.
In 1922, he meets Wilhelm Uhde who opened the door for him to critical acclaim and success. He can at last spend his time as a full-time painter. He belongs to the inner circle of the five most reputed naive painters in France, named the 'painters of the Sacred Heart' by Wilhelm Uhde. His most famous paintings are without doubt those of the circus which are appreciated for their energetic drawing, their vivacity of tone and precision of line. His dynamic characters, his sword swallowers, his athletes, like Athlete at the Carnival, The Wrestlers, his fleshy women are all memories from his childhood.
Camille Bombois is without doubt one of the artists whose art resembles most, that of the Douanier Rousseau. Wilhelm Uhde said of him: "It is only in the work of Bombois that reality is a true raison d'etre, a goal in itself .. He paints true life, what he sees, what he loves spontaneously in daily life."Naïve Art – Nathalie Brodskaia