Lhote was born in Bordeaux, France in 1885. He left grade school at
age thirteen to become an apprentice at a local sculpture studio while
formally studying sculpture at l’École des Beaux Arts.
Lhote supported himself by repairing antiquities and giving drawing
lessons. At age twenty, in order to devote himself to painting, he set
up a studio in the attic of an old house in Bordeaux. In those days,
Lhote often visited the home of collector Gabriel Frizeau. It was here
that he met among others, Jacques Riviére the literary critic
of Nouvelle Revue Français, who took a great interest in painting.
Lhote’s early works similar to those of the Fauvists, exh
ibit a sense of rhythmic
gesture, simplification of shapes, and intense color. Several of these
works are illustrated in Jacovsky’s André Lhote. The Cézanne
Retrospective in the Salon d’Automne of 1907 profoundly affected
Lhote’s development. In 1908 the Groupe du Bateau-Lavoir was formed,
of which Lhote was an early member. This was the original Montmartre
Cubist Society, so named, for the tenement in which Picasso was living.
In 1910, Lhote's work was exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants,
the official launching of the Cubist movement in Paris. The response
to his paintings was so favorable that he was soon offered his first
solo exhibition at the Galerie Druet. Critics, contemporaries, and writers
in Paris such as André Gide, André Salmon, and others
contributed their full support to Lhote at this time. Following this
triumph, his work was exhibited at the Salon in 1911 and 1912 with the
major Cubists of the era.
Lhote soon joined the independent Cubist group Section d’Or along
fellow pioneers Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger, Fernad Léger,
Francis Picabia, Frans Kupka, Juan Gris, and Alexander Archipenko.
Lhote contributed to the development of Synthetic Cubism in his writings
as well as with his paintings. He often defended his ideas in Nouvelle
Revue Française. Indeed, Robert Rosenblum in his Cubism and the
Twentieth century Art has called Lhote “the official academician
publications are numerous and include the important monographs on Corot
and Seurat, Traité de la Figure et du Paysage, and Chefs d’Oeuvres
de la Peintre Égyptienne.He
also contributed to the French and foreign journals throughout his life.
His illustrations appear with the writings of Jean Cocteau, Paul Eluard,
François Mauiac, and Blaise Cendrars.
Lhote was a dedicated teacher for decades, his style and technique was
passed on to hundreds of young artists that flocked to Pairs. From Tamara
de Lempicka, his most famous student to a mass of yet overlooked artists,
his contribution to Modern Art in incalculable.
André Lhote has been honored in France on a number of occasions.
He was awarded the National Grand Prize of Painting in 1955 and was
honored in 1958 as Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.
Lhote’s work were held at the Musée d’Art Moderne
in Paris in 1958, and at the Musée Toulouse Lautrec in Albi,
1962, the year of his death. His paintings are in museum collections
throughout the world.