robert tatin d'avesnière
(1925-1982) Robert Tatin was born in the small town of Avesnières, near Laval. His work was mostly done in Oceania where he came aged 25. He is deeply influenced by his father’s work. Tatin’s father, a painter and a ceramist, creates an artistic workshop in Paris in 1947 where yong Robert meets Prévert,Breton, Cocteau, Giacometti. The escape… The overpowering father image is soon felt too heavy to cope with and Robert leaves for the Pacific region permanently cutting all links with his family. He adds “d’Avesnières” to his surname which may give an air of nobility to his own but mostly is homage to his home town. He sets foot in Tahiti in 1950 on board the Ville d’Amiens. He settles in Hamata and makes a living as a sign writer. In his free time he paints days and nights when Elisa, his Tahitian girlfriend, is away. From New Caledonia to the New Hebrides In 1957, most probably after an unhappy love affair, he leaves for New Caledonia and makes his first exhibition in 1962 in the old Noumea Town Hall. After a few years of a lonely and disheveled life with work as his only benchmark, he decides he wants to know more about Oceania and sails for the New Hebrides a then French-English condominium. Free from the need to be a sign writer, he devotes himself to painting only. He builds a hut by the seaside at Erakor in Port-Vila and becomes renowned as an artist A detour and back to his first love His health declining, he decides to go back to France via Djakarta, Bali and Bangkok. In November 1976, he arrives in Cossé-le-Vivier, near Laval, where lives his father, a father so distant and so near to Robert’s life. In February 1982, friends from Tahiti kindly invite him to join them for an art exhibition. He finds again an island he never truly left and which is always present in Elisa’s many portraits. On May 25th 1982 his last exhibition opens in Papeete. Never had he painted with so much clarity and happiness as in the last few months in Hitiaa. On June 4th he is taken to the Mamao hospital where he dies, in solitude, on the evening of June 9th. He is buried in the Uranie graveyard. His father, Robert Tatin (said de l’Epine), dies the year after.
« J’ai connu, dans ce pays, tout ce que dans la vie un homme peut espérer connaître »
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