Ernest Amas (Landrecies 1869 - Landrecies 1959)

* Painter *

Self-portrait : Ernest was 34

Ernest Amas was born in 1869 in a little Landrecian hamlet named "le Sambreton". On the very same year, the famous painter Matisse was born in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, only 10 miles from Landrecies. Both men decided to devote their lives to fine arts : they first studied in a school in Lille but then went to Paris.

In Paris, Ernest Amas regularly attended classes at the prestigious Julian Academy. He enrolled in Paris Fine Arts School (inside Le Louvre museum) and became a disciple of the famous French painter Gustave Moreau (1826-1898). The school gave him a free hand to prepare for an artistic contest in Rome. He failed, but was awarded the Chenavard Prize twice. After World War I, Ernest eked out a living in Paris as a portraitist. His works had a lot of success among Paris upper classes, and he became an important member of the French Artists' Salon. Besides, he also got the Rosa-Bonheur Prize in 1921.

This paint represents the heroic resistance of the Landrecian woman Marguerite Grumiau during the 1794 siege. (cf history)mmm"Les Moutons" (Sheep), by Ernest Amas

In spite of his successes in Paris, Ernest Amas never forgot Landrecies, his native town. He went back there to spend the last years of his life, and retired to his quiet little house of Le Sambreton hamlet, occasionally painting animals for local and undemanding customers. He died there in 1959.

"Nu féminin allongé" (Naked woman lying), by Ernest Amas

Today, of course, the fame of Amas suffers a lot from the proximity of Matisse's birthplace. He didn't become as famous as his prestigious neighbor because he was a little too attached to what his masters had taught him, without experiencing different methods by himself. Yet, as you can see on these samples, Amas was undeniably talented : he really did know how to make people and animals look surprisingly real. Some of his works are accessible in Landrecies Town Hall (Self-Portrait, Marguerite Grumiau, Benoîte's Laundry, Sheep...), in the church (St-Sebastian Rescued by Two Holy Women) and in the houses of a lot of Landrecians for whom he worked.

Suite : Philippe Lamour (1903 - 1992)