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Lucien Labaudt

Theme/Style – Modernism, Post-Surrealism, figurative art

Media – Oils, murals

Artistic Focus – Born in Paris and considered a pioneer of Modern Art in America, Lucien Labaudt was largely a self-taught artist who was influenced in his early years by Cezanne and Seurat. He also was enlisted by the founders of the Post-Surrealist movement, Lorser Feitelson and Helen Lundeberg, who felt his style of painting complemented the group. Labaudt’s later work moved the artist further toward Post-Surrealism, with its structured and cubist-inspired melding of elements both real and imaginary.

Career Highlights –

• In 1906, after studying and working in Paris and London, he moved to the United States, where he found work as a costume designer and painted for pleasure.
• By 1910, he had settled in San Francisco, where he quickly became an arbiter of high fashion and a sought-after costumer for the City’s many costume balls.
• In 1919, he began teaching art at the California School of Fine Arts, and later, founded the California School of Design, a fashion design institution that no longer exists.
• Chosen as one of the muralists for the Coit Tower Public Works of Art Project, Labaudt created a work that was popular for its attractively-rendered inclusion of many San Francisco personalities of the time, and for its careful depiction of urban life on Powell Street.
• In 1936, after the Coit Tower project, Labaudt created the WPA mural at the Beach Chalet in Golden Gate Park, and the work remains one of the largest WPA murals currently extant.
• While working as a war correspondent-artist during World War II, Labaudt was killed in an airplane crash in India.