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1898 – 1934


After leaving the minor seminary, my father left his parents' house with his brother Henri, leaving a sign hanging on the door of the apartment on which was written: "Death to the cows".

He had just met my mother. She then welcomed him to her home. He had an alarm clock for all luggage.

Jean Alfred Marie Grataloup

Jean Alfred Marie Grataloup was born in Lyon on June 22, 1910 into a very wealthy bourgeois family who owned many buildings in Lyon. His father is a pensioner. The family often goes on vacation to Nantua, in the famous Hôtel de France2. The eldest of a family of five boys, from the age of sixteen he was sent by his parents to study at the minor seminary. The other three boys of the siblings, Henry, Yves and Alain will follow the same path (François, born in 1917, died the same year, at the age of one). Revolted by these years of study which did not correspond to a choice on his part, he left the minor seminary and took certain distances with his family.

Adèle Joséphine Durochat, was born in Argis (Bugey) on October 27, 1898. She passed her studies certificate and became first in the canton but could not continue because her family was too poor and she had to work to earn a living. She left for Lyon and went to learn the trade of apprentice seamstress at Deux Passages in Lyon.

Adèle Joséphine Durochat


1935 – 1940


Nantua is my mother building a coat, cutting it and modeling it on the mannequin.  It is also the snow that I watch fall in winter on the fir trees in front of my window. And in summer, it's the lake with the adventure of a small celluloid boat called “Normandy”.

Little Rachel GRATALOUP in his father's arms in Nantua

Adèle is twelve years older than Jean. She's a country girl. His father, Émile Durochat, was foreman in a factory, until his death shortly after the First World War. His mother, Antoinette, was a winegrower at the time of Jean and Adèle's marriage. For Jean's parents, marriage is a misalliance and the family does not accept Adèle's age. But the latter is pregnant. The marriage therefore took place on December 22, 1934, in Argis. The couple moved to Nantua where Jean, thanks to his father's connections, went to work as a typographer in a printing house. Adèle, for her part, will work as a cutter-model maker in the small apartment rented by the couple, not far from the Hôtel de France.

Rachel Guy Grataloup was born on June 4, 1935. A strange first name, Rachel's! His father indeed declared it in an unusual way for a male child. Did he regret not having had a daughter? It would appear that this is indeed the case. The many photos of Rachel as a child show him with a barrette in his hair. His father will be the only one to name him thus until his death in 1953. His mother will always call him by his middle name: Guy.

The child will spend the first five years of his life in Nantua whose landscapes will remain etched in his memory forever. The lake, the pine forests, the mountain, will always be for him a perpetual source of inspiration for his painting.


1940 – 1944


With my grandmother, in the afternoon, we would go either to the vineyard or to the garden. It was obligatory and the kids who were waiting for me to play, made a hedge until I was released from the field work. The two things - the work in the fields and that of the games - were a joy.


When war was declared, Grataloup was four years old. His family leaves Nantua for Dijon, where his father is mobilized. From this stay in Dijon, the young Grataloup will keep the memory of the bombardment of the station and the railroads by the German air force. Hidden under the arch of a bridge with his mother, he sees the incendiary bombs and their geysers of fire, which will strike his childhood imagination. Later, in his painting, there will be the transposed memory of these expressive fires.

GRATALOUP's maternal grandmother

While drama and war enveloped France, Europe and the entire planet, Rachel, like many other little French people of that time, lived partly in the countryside, in the Bugey. He attended the Argis municipal school where his maternal grandmother lived. In his company, he learns to work in the fields. He does the harvest at his side, cuts and reattaches the vines, goes fishing in the Albarine1. He will describe these years spent with her as "the happiest of his life" and will always keep this much loved grandmother in his heart.

In Argis, he contemplates the Roche de Narce, an impressive cliff, traces of which can be found in one of the “archetypes” of his painting.


1945 – 1950


The family returned to Lyon and settled in Croix-Rousse, in a small apartment in a rather poorly frequented district. It was the era of food cards and long queues often made up of children - including the young Grataloup -. In his mother's workshop, who works as a model cutter, chalk drawings and fabric cuts fascinate the young boy.  

Then the family is accommodated in a large apartment in one of the buildings belonging to the paternal grandparents. Rachel and her mother are very happy there. It is a beautiful apartment, in one of the beautiful districts of Lyon.

Grataloup attended college and then high school. He is a very good student. Studies are no problem for him. His father entrusted him to a friend of his, Jovo Kneta, to provide him with a literary education. He will introduce him to Nietzsche, who fascinates him. At the age of fourteen, the young Grataloup created “Manuscrit le Journal des J32”, which was to be chaired by Édouard Herriot, then Mayor of Lyon.


"Manuscript the Journal des J3"

We were talking about high school, about life
after high school, work to come
and then news from J3.
We asked Edouard
Herriot to chair the newspaper
and he accepted. He found that
it was very interesting to have
a newspaper that spoke of the future
young people after the war.


1950 – 1953


For lack of money and a spirit of revolt against his environment, his father again decides to move to a small apartment in the third arrondissement of Lyon. This period is extremely difficult for the young Grataloup. The apartment adjoins a foundry. Small and noisy because of this neighborhood which prevents its occupants from sleeping at night, it is quite out of the way, in a working-class neighborhood. For the young man, between his father and his mother, life is difficult. The couple do not get along very well and are often taken to task during violent quarrels.

The young Grataloup joins the “Cercle des nageurs de Lyon”, which allows him to maintain his musculature. He has indeed a fragile back, due to the malnutrition of the war. He enrolled in evening classes, in an annex of the Beaux-Arts, at the Saint-Jean college. He rents an old grocery store, l'Économique, of which he makes his workshop. It was a time in his life that he would describe as “dark”.  

On October 5, 1950, his beloved grandmother died of cancer, plunging the young man into great sadness. 1953 was a terrible year for Rachel and her mother. His father dies. Grataloup is 17 years old. His mother earns little money and the young man has to stop studying to work.

GRATALOUP and Madeleine Lambert

At seventeen, during a student monomial, he met Madeleine Lambert with whom he became engaged two years later. Madeleine is also interested in painting and they both have a lot in common.


My father had been a little too close to my grandmother's vineyard and to the daily lead of the printing press ...


1953 – 1955

GRATALOUP (on the left) during an evening class at the Beaux-Arts in 1954


When I was 17, I had seen what hard work was. I went to evening classes in a Beaux - Arts annex with a teacher who made us draw plasters. Then I went to copy them in the attic of the law school.  That was my humanities.

He returned to the newspaper "Le Progrès" in Lyon, where he worked at night. He transcribed the sports results of the day there. During the day, he sleeps and continues to write his articles for the “Journal des J3”. Exhausted by this night shift, he decides to quit his daily life and enters as an employee of an engineer surveyor, from whom he learns practical mathematics through “works of art”. He goes to the building sites to check the standards indicated on the plans. This learning will allow him to familiarize himself a little more with mathematics. He was then employed at the Hospices Civils de Lyon as an accounting assistant. He is also a bodyguard, responsible for distributing pensions in town halls (they were then paid in cash and carried in a bag).


Then he worked for an architect from Lyon, as a perspectivist. He learns to construct a temporal perspective with the shadows and lights of each moment of the day, while attending evening classes in a Beaux-Arts annex.


1956 – 1959

GRATALOUP behind a decor for the officers' mess in 1956

From 1956 to 1958, he carried out his military service with the General Staff of the NATO forces in Germany. He creates sets for the officers' mess. He was then very influenced by Picasso and the surrealists. It is on this occasion that he signs the decorations of the first name of "Rachel" which he will adopt definitively from this date.

In Berlin, he frequents galleries and museums which are beginning to present the avant-garde and in particular the paintings of Soulages. In 1958, back in Lyon, he took lessons in the painting studio of René-Maria Burlet2 of the “Témoignage” group. It was there that he met Claude Long, who posed as a model and whom he would marry the following year.

He took part in a group exhibition of the Association des Étudiants Lyonnais, organized by Alain Crombecque, his childhood friend, who would later become the Director of the Festival d'Avignon and that of the Festival d'Automne in Paris. Alain Crombecque will also be the right arm of Michel Guy, Minister of Culture from 1974 to 1976.

I did not speak German. I am on Kurfürstenstrasse a few years after the war, in 1956.

I enter a gallery which shows lithographs by Pierre Soulages. What a pleasure !
Then, I go to the cinema to see Charlot's “Kid”. Art is in all languages.
There is no border in the understanding of works!


1959 – 1963


Tired of odd jobs, Grataloup decides to resume his studies and take the competitive examination for the École Normale Supérieure. He is received at the École Normale Supérieure de Cachan at the end of his first year of “prep”. He is 24 years old.  

At the ENS, he met Jacques Zwobada, sculptor and professor at the School of Fine Arts who was going to support him a lot. Grataloup considers him to be his master at drawing. It was he who encouraged him to take his Prix de Rome in 1967, when he left the ENS  


He also meets Claude Chevreuil, who will become one of his best friends. He is the creator of "La Butte", the events journal of the ENS de Cachan, where Grataloup does illustrations. One day, Claude Chevreuil will send the newspaper to Jean Cocteau who will respond with an unpublished poem punctuated by spelling mistakes…! Claude Chevreuil asks Jules Romains to put on the play, Volpone, for which Grataloup creates the sets.

When he left the ENS in 1963, Grataloup was appointed professor of drawing and applied arts at the Lycée technique de la Salle in Saint-Germain en Laye. On September 30, 1961, he married Claude Long, met in 1958, The marriage was short-lived. The divorce will be pronounced two years later.

Jacques Zwobada, sculptor and professor at l'École des Beaux-Arts in 1960

Zwobada would meet me at the “Café des Deux Magots” to talk about painting and sculpture.
When we separated, I always found a few bills he had slipped into my pockets.



GRATALOUP and Agneta Olu Munther at the time of their wedding

In 1962, rue de Seine, at the café opposite that of La Palette, Grataloup met a young Swedish girl, Agneta Olu Munther.  Agneta is on a study trip to Paris. She speaks several languages and does translations. He married her on October 21, 1966 at the French Embassy in Malmö (Sweden).  

In the family “stuga”, a small red house with white shutters on the edge of a small lake near Malmö, Grataloup has set up his workshop where he spends the summer months. The summers are marked by the feasts of Saint-Jean where dances and laughter mingle around bonfires. These are the same summer festivals that he will reproduce years later, with his students from the ENS, in Montvinot, the house he will buy in Seine-et-Marne.

She was passionate about literature. It was she who made me rediscover Dostoyevsky with "The Brothers Karamazov". It was in fact his bedside book.  With her, I read Strindberg, Chekhov, Tolstoy ...


1963 1965


Every week, during the correction session, there was "the boss" who came by.

One day, a painter friend lugged a two-meter canvas in the subway that depicted some dark mythology with a horse. Legueult made a correction by taking the example of a few centimeters on this large canvas and congratulating him for the quality of his work on this small surface. A little crestfallen, the author asked about the rest and the horse. The answer burst out: "Concerning the horse, it must be brought back to the stable".

And my friend brought home his canvas by the metro ...

GRATALOUP - Portrait of Anne de Menthon - 1964



Grataloup moved in with Agneta in one of the maid's rooms in a large apartment belonging to the Menthon family, located in Saint-Germain des Prés. His room overlooks the boxes of the National School of Fine Arts where Grataloup has just entered, in the studio of Roger Chapelain Midy. The Menthon family receives many artists. With her, Grataloup sometimes stays in Roussillon where the family rents a house. He will keep very happy memories of this period of life.

In 1964, wishing to discover other forms of painting, he changed workshops and joined that of Raymond Legueult then Roger Chastel. The latter really liked Grataloup's work. At that time, painting was changing the problem. There were all the events after 1968 and the art was founded on creative research. In Chastel's class, Rouan began his braiding, Daniel Buren proposed a protest painting by brandishing white and black stripes ... Alongside his painter friends, Viallat, Buraglio, Poli, Rouan, Kermarrec, Grataloup applied to a craft research and dreamlike of creation. With some of them, he took part in the creation of the Supports Surfaces movement.

“What I remember about Rachel are very beautiful stories, anecdotes of our lives in community, whether in Paris or Roussillon; reflections on joy, beauty, humor, the human being, the unusual, awareness… So many philosophical, humanist, spiritual and artistic points of view. This is the richness of this friendship which made life more bearable, even more wonderful than it would have been without Rachel ”.

Anne de Menthon


1966 – 1967


From a pictorial point of view, this period was the most inventive of my life. In Paris, I was stopped by the conceptual.

GRATALOUP in his workshop at the Casa de Velasquez in 1966

In 1966, Grataloup was laureate of the Institut de France for the Casa Velázquez in Madrid. He left France for Madrid, where he stayed for two years with Agneta. These years will be decisive. It was in Spain that he created a new form of painting, a complete break with that taught by the teachers of Fine Arts who only recognized the “classic” form of painting with painters such as Renoir, Bonnard or de Staël ... With his friend Antoine Tisné, they discover the marvels of Prado and Escurial, travel through Castile and Andalusia. He met the painters Millares, Villalba, Pablo Serrano and the composers Joaquin Rodrigo and and Luis de Pablo. He will remain at Casa Velázquez until 1967.

Grataloup's work is greatly influenced by the Spanish landscapes of the “Valle de los Caïdos”, “Venta de Baños” and Salamanca as well as by the luminous chromatic contrasts of the light of Spain. The quasi-deserts between Madrid and Toledo impressed him and gave birth to paintings such as The Fall of the Angel or The Temptation of Eve.  


Several exhibitions were organized in Madrid during these two years, at the Bibliotéca nacional (1966) as well as at the Museo del Arte Contemporaneo (1967). They will be very well received and will be the occasion for numerous acquisitions.




In 1967, at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Grataloup decided to take the competition for the Prix de Rome for Painting. He brought back from Spain a certain number of paintings made at the Casa de Velázquez which he will present in February 1967, with a view to the competition in Rome, to a group of professors of Fine Arts and members of the Institute including Rohner, Chapelain-Midy, Chastel, Legueux.

March 1967: The tests for the Prix de Rome begin. The subject given by the jury is "The Revolt of the Dark Forces". The pupils are confined in a small box and have one day to sketch the proposed subject. After passing a jury, a dozen candidates are selected, including Grataloup. The sketches are then sealed, at the end of the day or during rendering. It is no longer possible to rework them, nor to go back on them. The twelve selected candidates then enter the Grand Lodge for a period of three months. They must enlarge the sketch, in a format of 100 Figure, 100 Landscape, or 100 Marine, as they wish, and make ten canvases on subjects of their selection.

At the end of these three months, the candidates exhibit the enlargement of the sketch, as well as the ten works produced in one of the great halls of Fine Arts. Three-quarters of the jury is made up of members of the Institute, the remaining quarter by Fine Arts teachers, including Jacques Zwobada, who has always supported Grataloup. The latter awaits the verdict in a cafe in front of the school.

GRATALOUP: medal for the Prix de Rome in 1967

Zwobada is out. He looked at me raising two of his big sculptor's fingers and said:

You are second, the best; the first is a combination!



GRATALOUP in front of his Parisian workshop at 37 rue Henri Barbusse

My workshop at 37 HB is finally the “Workshop” with a capital “W".
It is the one who "Was", who "Is" and who "Will be".

In 1969, during an exhibition at the Salon de Mai in Paris, he met Marie-Thérèse Pinto, a Chilean sculptor student of Brâncusi, a friend of the surrealists, who told him that a workshop was going to be released next to his, at 37 rue Henri Barbusse, Paris 5th.

Grataloup moved there the same year. Thanks to Marie-Thérèse Pinto, he will meet César, Étienne Martin, Léonore Fini. The courtyard will also be the meeting place for many artists: Francis Bacon, Michel Leiris… It is in this “mythical” workshop that he will produce a very large part of his work.

When Marie-Thérèse Pinto dies, her studio will be transformed into a home. In 1990, Grataloup will acquire it, undoubtedly guided by the spirit of Marie-Thérèse… It still occupies it today and organizes there every year its ritual Brunch of end of the Year. Since 2010, he has received his friends on this occasion as well as his faithful and new collectors to whom he presents his latest paintings.



In February 1969, in Montparnasse, at the Restaurant des Artistes, Grataloup met a young Scottish girl, Frances Crabbie, who had just returned from a trip to South Africa. He then separated from Agneta and left with Frances to the Villa Medici in Rome, where he was invited by Anne and Patrick Poirier.  


In the first years of their life together, they will buy a motorhome and will travel around France during the holidays. It will be years of joy and questioning of freedoms. Grataloup will keep happy memories of these shared moments.

In 1968/1969, it was the year of the revolt but also that of meetings, endless discussions where Mao, Cohn Bendit, culture and official art of dictatorships dotted around the world mingled. This was happening in places that had already been involved in this game for a long time: “La Coupole”, “Le Sélect” or “Le Restaurant des Artistes”, where I met Frances.

Frances Crabbie 1969

“We met by chance and we never wasted time discussing why art was its necessary language. He continuously searched for original ways to express himself using a simple lead pencil to rub a stone, seaweed or later lacerated drawings with wax pastels to create multiple colored pictures. This experimentation took place on the Irish beach in summer 1969. It gave him a new technique to express himself until the present day. Bravo Rachel for your perseverance in searching beauty for our eyes and souls”.

Frances Crabbie




In the spring of 1970, Grataloup went to Rome to the Villa Medici, where he was invited by Anne and Patrick Poirier. Anne obtained a First Grand Prix de Rome in sculpture, Patrick, a Second Prix de Rome shared with Rachel. Her studio, within the walls of the Villa, overlooks the gardens of the cloister of the sisters of the Church of Trinita dei Monti. It is a superb room, adorned with band frescoes on the top of the walls. The equipment is basic: a large bed and a water point. To wash and reach the showers, the residents must cross a footbridge built in the 19th century, located on the first floor of the Villa and overlooking the gardens of the sisters, who kept their eyes on their cultures, the residents often wearing bathrobes. bath.

It was quite exceptional to live in the Villa itself. Other artists, such as sculptors and painters, worked in workshops located in the gardens. The garden of the Villa Medici is superb, filled with hundred-year-old palm trees. They are also the ones who will inspire the artist in his research, at this time, through the creation of the “Serial Paintings” and the first series of Palms at the Villa Medici.

Grataloup will only stay a few months at the Villa Medici because he will be offered a position at the National School of Applied Arts in Paris, which he will accept.

GRATALOUP in the gardens of the Villa Medici in Rome in 1970

At that time, the Villa was run by Balthus. When I arrived, it was draped in black. Balthus had just lost a child. Withdrawn in his sorrow, he hardly communicated with us.

At the Villa Medici, there was a wall of orange trees arranged in espaliers and which had a very beautiful ornamental effect. Frances, who had a practical mind, picked them and made them into jams which she distributed to the artists of the Villa. There was a great commotion there.



On October 15, 1971, Frances gave birth to Julien, the eldest child of Grataloup.

As soon as he knew how to hold a pencil, when I drew, he drew too. When I painted, he painted too.

He studied at the Estienne School and today he is an illustrator and continues
his inspired path ...

Julien Grataloup in his father's arms




Starting from the theosophical principle where all the forces of nature tend towards the light, I wanted,
as Hölderlin said, "Returning the principle of the effort of matter to light and vice versa".
As an indefinite reflection, it had no end. It symbolically starts from the dark to go to the light.


In 1972, on vacation, he went to the surroundings of Nice, to the Domaine de l'Étoile where he met the woman he called Aunt Marthe. She will introduce him to theosophy and theosophists with spiritual encounters like that of Jean Klein, disciple of Krishnamurti, Blavatsky and many others like Alexandra David Neel.

He then became a member of the Theosophical Society. Theosophy emphasizes the fact that matter and spirit communicate, while proceeding, according to this doctrine, from a circulation of energies in a cosmic communion of the mineral, the vegetable, the animal and human universe. . It is from this theosophical research that he will realize the first Awakening of the Mineral which will be followed by the Awakening of the Plant.

Invited to Belle-Île-en-Mer by a friend of his class at ENS, Grataloup discovers the wild coast and its rocks. These same rocks will be one of the triggers of this plasticotheosophical context, through the series of Awakening the Mineral.




In 1974, he acquired a set of buildings in Montvinot (Seine et Marne) belonging to a scrap dealer. It is an old farmhouse made up of two buildings surrounding a central courtyard. The house is then in a deplorable state. Scrap metal litter the ground, some of it buried. But what an extraordinary view from the house!

For Grataloup and Frances, Montvinot is the ideal place to return to nature. For years, they will work to renovate the buildings. Frances will make it the place of life for the education of her children, and Grataloup the source of her creation.

From 1974, it was the “Years of protest”. They are those which followed May 1968. It was also the refusal of the city for the countryside; challenge coupled with a renewed spirituality.

GRATALOUP in front of his house in MONTVINOT

The buildings, on either side of the central body, are transformed into workshops: winter workshop and summer workshop. Grataloup installs a chapel in their middle, decorated by himself as well as by his cousin, the architect Daniel Grataloup. It will serve as a place of meditation. The artist installs a Great Mineral Awakening there as well as stained glass windows representing a Tree of Life. His wish is to make this place an artistic phalanstery in the image of Moly-Sabata by Albert Gleizes.

The house will be sold in 1991, a few years after the separation of Rachel and Frances. It is now occupied by collectors, friends of the painter, who have kept the soul of the house intact.


1974 – 1986

Thanks to the ENS, with its promotion of twelve student teachers each year, I had the opportunity to seek with them a new teaching which corresponded to their personal research. It was no longer a question of systematically reviewing the three modes - compositional, ornamental and chromatic - but of searching for what Paul Klee said, "Making the invisible visible".

It's a story…

GRATALOUP: Invitation to the feast of the summer solstice in Montvinot in 1986

Then professor at the ENS of Cachan, Grataloup created in 1971, with his students, the group "Vision Création". The idea was to give another dimension to the classic work carried out during the year by the students. An exhibition of their work was hung every year in the great hall of the ENS

The Montvinot house will subsequently become a place of artistic expression available to the group. Every year, on June 21 and for three days, on the occasion of the great festivals of the summer solstice, great fires of Saint John were lit around choreographies and the icosahedron of Rudolph Laban. The idea of the light was not to fall asleep during the night of June 21 to see, in the middle of nature, the birth of dawn.



Anthony Grataloup in his father's arms

A bilingual Sorbonne / Cambridge European doctorate.

He has always been very British.

I saw him get involved in ecological and humanitarian causes.

It is a comfort and a hope for me.

“The first images of my father were initially symbolic. Indeed when we lived in Montvinot, in Seine-et-Marne, he returned from Paris like a knight with his mount (or rather his car)! My father, this hero who had defeated any enemy in Paris that I imagined without mercy ... Then, when we lived in Paris and after the separation from my mother, I often visited him at the workshop of 37, after my classes at Lycée Lavoisier. Everything was in the rue Henri Barbusse: my mother at 22, my father at 37 and the school at 17! My father, in his studio at 37, set up a drawing table for me, gave me a paper with the logo “ENS” in small characters (for École Normale Supérieure) and I drew with him next to an old gas heater ... At the time there were no toilets in the workshop and you had to cross the courtyard to access those in the building. I was obsessed with his gestures when he painted but especially when he completely emptied his tubes of colors directly onto the canvas to add a "material" effect; likewise, when he rubbed his sheets of drawings on the original matrix with bold colored pastels. It was at the same time the work of an artist but in a way also that of a craftsman. I also asked him questions about his students and how he graded them (I was fascinated by his notebook filled with out of 20 grades). This will also explain my passion today for higher education and this nobility
Republican of knowledge and excellence… On Wednesday noon, we went to the café restaurant Le Gamin de Paris (quite a symbol), located a stone's throw away, rue du Val-de-Grâce where we told about our past week and to come. It was a kind of father / son ritual. Finally, in Chevreuse, it is every weekend that I joined my father (still a little today) to find this magnificent nature that is the Regional Natural Park of the Haute Vallée de Chevreuse. The love of Nature, inherited from my childhood in Montvinot, has remained intact… “.

Anthony Grataloup



The Chevreuse workshop is my paintings in 3D.
It is placed in transparency with nature and in difference with the Paris studio, which itself has no new existence and which contains memories of the beginning.
This one arrived meaningless, and now is filling up with connections, inventions, anything a painter could want.

In 1989, Grataloup set up a house-workshop in Chevreuse, on plans drawn by his friend architect, Denis Sloan. The construction, strictly oriented on the cardinal points, is designed with all Cistercian rigor. Its layout is perfectly symmetrical with respect to a hall located in the east-west axis, from which the various volumes are organized. On the north side, the large workshop reigns over the entire height. On the south side are the apartments.

For the artist, this house is a kind of metaphorical transposition of certain themes used in his work. Through the many glass openings, we find the rays of light, so present in his work: the "V", for example, symbols of a rediscovered light.

Grataloup now works almost exclusively in this workshop in Chevreuse, where he can produce his large formats.



That same year, Grataloup will meet the one with whom he shares his life today, Mireille Cheynet de Beaupré, whom he will call Milena in reference to the Slavic origins of his family.


A few months after the meeting, she stops the theater which she has been practicing for several years at the Tania Balachova Theater School, to devote herself in particular to painting, which she considers to be a major art and which fascinates her. She discovers the canvases piled up in the small studio at 37 HB and spends hours observing the painter's work. Very quickly, she will become his assistant and help him in his creative work, for example carrying out the installation of backdrops and gold leaves.

Graduated in communication, she will, thereafter and throughout her life, participate in the organization of numerous exhibitions,
publication of catalogs and communication operations.

Their marriage was celebrated in Neuilly-sur-Seine on June 22, 1991.

I found that the first name of "Mireille" did not suit her at all. She didn't like him either. “Milena” stood out for me as obvious.
It was later that I learned that his grandfather was of Slavic origin ...

Mireille Milena Cheynet de Beaupré in 1989

“I had just arrived in Paris. Passionate about the theater, I worked with Vera Gregh, in her Theater-School in Montmartre. Every evening, I hastened to join her and, with a bunch of actors, some of whom are famous today, we worked until late at night. One day a friend asked me to go with him to a dinner after school. It was with art lovers, rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, in Paris. A huge apartment where everything seemed a bit out of place to me. It was already very late in the evening and we were expecting a painter who never arrived. By one of those coincidences that never are, I found myself seated at the table by his side. He told about painting, Impressionism, Cézanne, stories of plates and glasses that intersect in space, while making, between his fingers, small pyramids of breadcrumbs that he placed around my plate, without speaking to me at all. Shortly before the end of dinner, in front of the forbidden assembly, he turned to me and declared: “Tonight, I met the woman of life, the one I have always sought. She is sitting next to me ”. Then he got up and said to me: "Come on, we are going, I will offer you a glass of champagne at the Closerie". I especially remember the surprised look of the friend who invited me to this party. Customary in theatrical scenes, I was no longer sure whether this tirade belonged to fiction or to reality. “I came tonight with a friend and I think I'll go home with him,” I replied. “Give me your card; if I feel like it, I'll call you ”. A few days later, while I was telling this adventure to one of my painter friends who was doing my portrait (at that time I often posed as a model to make ends meet), I suddenly felt the impulse I needed dial the phone number he had scribbled on his card, on which you could see a photo of him. " It's you ? I'll be waiting for you at the Closerie des Lilas. Take a taxi, I'll pay you back. I know what student life is like ”. It was a feeling of urgency that made me interrupt the lunch I was sharing with my friend, propelled me into a taxi which took me to the Closerie des Lilas. Grataloup was waiting for me there. Two glasses of champagne were placed on the table in front of the bar. Our eyes met. Our hands touched. No words were exchanged. Everything was said. Later that night, while he had taken me to his studio in Chevreuse and shown the immense canvases of light in his large studio, while I was sleeping next to him for the first time, I felt a a form of disincorporation which transformed me into a ray of light, a ray that my mind must have unconsciously captured when discovering his paintings in the large studio… From that day on, we never left each other ”.





On May 25, 1994, Milena gave birth to Constant. Grataloup will then create a whole series of paintings to celebrate the birth of his son.

Constant Grataloup in his father's arms

As her first name says,
Constant does not let go. Her
pugnacity leads him to
countries to discover.

His voluntary path leads him towards his passions, that of being the best.




I have never stopped looking for pictorial adventure. I have always been certain that teaching was a chance for me to support my thinking, to give an answer to the questions of the permanent demand of the students, thus to open the research channel, to give what I knew, what the I had already been given this living chain.


Thank you to all, I will not leave you, I remain by my work and my presence.

At sixty-one, Grataloup decided to retire from National Education. He left the ENS where he had entered as a student teacher in 1960, joining it again from 1970 to 1992, successively as a lecturer then as Director of Studies of the Art and Design section. In 1992 and until his departure, he was jointly Research Director of the Art and Industrial Creation department, founder and Director of the Center for Research in Art and Industrial Creation (CREACI).  A ceremony is organized at the ENS of Cachan in the presence of Bernard Decomps, director of the school and his teacher friends.


For the artist, this is a difficult decision, but dictated by his desire to pursue his pictorial research full time.

A few years earlier, Grataloup had been elevated to the rank of Commander of the Academic Palms, in recognition of his teaching career.


2005 – 2006

November 2003: while painting in his studio in Chevreuse, Grataloup is called by a journalist from Nantua who offers him to reconnect with his hometown through a foundation project led by an industrialist very involved in local cultural life, Hervé Vion Delphin. Very quickly, a support committee was created including personalities such as Jacques Rigaud, Michel Tournier, Jacques Julliard, the lawyer Paul Lombard and industrial patrons: Miguel Sieler, Pierre Richard as well as friends among whom Denis Sloan, who quickly designed a foundation project for buildings. A subscription is launched in order to collect the necessary funds. The following year, Bruno Pellegrini, mayor of Port, a neighboring municipality of Nantua and President of the Lac de Nantua community of municipalities, will join the support committee and will provide significant assistance to the project.

The foundation project will not succeed, much to the disappointment of its instigators. The funds collected will be used to create a large mural mosaic, inaugurated in 2014 in the presence of the mayor of Nantua, elected officials from the region, the inhabitants of Nantua and the surrounding municipalities, as well as all those who had collaborated in this great adventure.

I cannot say enough good things about the natural beauty of my native country, Haut-Bugey. However, a contemporary cultural place is missing. There is indeed the Cluniac abbey from the 10th century with its magnificent “Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian” from 1836 by Delacroix, with its organ classified as a historic monument. The idea came to create a foundation on my pictorial and urban work.


Unfortunately the project could not be completed. I think that we will have missed an ideal cultural route: the abbey, the foundation of contemporary art and the very beautiful monument to the dead of Leygue who was my sculpture teacher.

GRATALOUP mosaic in Nantua



On March 12, 2019, Grataloup was named "Chevalier des Arts & Lettres" by the Minister of Culture, Franck Riester, for his contribution to the influence of the Arts and Letters in France and around the world.



In 2020, an association chaired by Milena is created to create a museum in Chevreuse.  


In July 2021, an agreement to make the Priory Saint-Saturnin available was signed with the town of Chevreuse to house the museum.

This cultural project is designed to show Grataloup's plastic research in its different forms: paintings, objects, drawings and urban art. 

GRATALOUP museum at the Saint-Saturnin Priory in Chevreuse


January 16, 2022

He rode right into the light.


He was very fond of all of you who helped him in his painting.


Where he is, he continues to watch us.


He took his brushes to the stars.


Near Death Experience - 2007 - ADAM'S DEATH
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