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Augustin Lesage 1876-1974

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Augustin Lesage was born into a mining family near Lille, northern France. While working at the coal-face, he became aware of voices telling him of his spiritualist powers. The voices became a central factor in his art; Lesage followed their orders and bought materials in response to their instructions. With no previous knowledge or experience of painting and no technical skill, his hand was guided by the voices. On purchasing his first canvas, he mistakenly bought one ten times the intended size, but his spirit guides instructed him not to be daunted and to begin painting. 

Huge canvases became his chosen format. His first painting, made with small brushes, starting in the top right-hand corner, was covered with architectural motifs, stylised vegetation and organic forms. He went on to develop his unique highly symmetrical style, drafting detailed patterns and monolithic constructions reminiscent of Egyptian and Oriental architectural forms. Lesage initially left his paintings unsigned, then began adding the name “Leonardo da Vinci.” It was only later that he added his own signature. In later life he became a respected artist, with spiritualism remaining at the core of all of his work. He painted right up until his death in 1954, leaving around 250 paintings.

Image: Augustin Lesage, Composition of the Spiritual World, 1923, Collection de l'Art Brut, Lausanne.Image: Augustin Lesage, Les grands oeuvres ne s’élaborent que dans le recueillement et le silence, 1925, Collection de l'Art Brut, Lausanne.

As seen in The Outsider Art Sourcebook

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