Camille Clovis Trouille, was born on 24
in La Fère, France. He
worked as Sunday painter and a restorer and decorator of department store
mannequins, and trained at the École des Beaux-Arts of Amiens from 1905 to 1910. He died
on 24 September 1975 in Paris.
His service in
World War I gave him a lifelong hatred of the military, expressed
in his first major painting Remembrance (1931).
The painting depicts a pair of wraith-like soldiers clutching white
rabbits, an airborne female contortionist throwing a handful of
medals, and the whole scene being blessed by a cross-dressing
This contempt for the church as a corrupt institution provided
Trouille with the inspiration for decades of pictorial blasphemies
including Dialogue at the Carmel shows a skull wearing a crown of
thorns being used as an ornament. The Mummy shows a mummified woman coming to life as a
result of a shaft of light falling on a large bust of André Breton.
The Magician (1944)
has a self-portrait satisfying a group of swooning women with a wave
of his magician's wand. My Tomb (1947)
shows Trouille's tomb as a focal point of corruption and depravity in
Trouille's other common subjects were sex, as
shown in Lust (1959),
a portrait of the
Marquis de Sade sitting in the foreground of a landscape decorated
with a tableau of various perversions, and a "madly egoistic bravado"
employed as self-satirism.
His portrait of a reclining nude shown from behind entitled
Oh! Calcutta, Calcutta! - a pun in French - was chosen as
the title for the 1969
musical revue. (The French phrase "oh quel cul t'as" translates
roughly as "oh what a lovely backside you have".)
After his work was seen by
Louis Aragon and
Salvador Dalí, Trouille was declared a Surrealist by
André Breton - a label Trouille accepted only as a way of gaining
exposure, not having any real sympathy with the
Surrealism movement.The simple style and lurid colouring of Trouille's paintings echo
the lithographic posters used in advertising in the first half of the
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