Jean Hugo

Jean Hugo was born in Paris on November 19, 1894. He was the great-grandson of Victor Hugo. Painter, illustrator, decorator and writer, he died in Lunel in 1984.

Jean Hugo made Lunel a "humble and rustic Venice" (R.P Bruckberger).

He was 20 when the 1st World War broke out. Mobilized in 1914 and wounded, he was sent back to the front in 1915 and took part in several battles. Drawing and painting during the war were a kind of outlet for him (his sketches are kept at the Musée National de la Coopération Franco-Américaine, Château de Blérancourt).

Coming from a long line of artists, at the end of the war he returned to the Parisian artistic milieu in which he had been immersed. He rubbed shoulders with the great names of the time. His friends included Jean Cocteau, Eric Satie, Paul Eluard and Pablo Picasso .... During this period, he designed the sets and costumes for several shows. Yet he remained a modest man. The legacy of his name seems a little too heavy to bear? The artist in him needed more space to express himself.

In 1931, he left Paris and moved into his grandmother's farmhouse, Mas de Fourques, in Lunel. Here, he devoted himself exclusively to painting and to his family. The simple life of the countryside, the luminous, flamboyant landscapes of the Languedoc and the vast skies inspired his creations.

An ordinary Lunellois, his life is punctuated by a regular schedule: in the morning, he attends the first mass of the day, then does his shopping at the Halles, before returning to his studio. The course of this tranquil life was occasionally disrupted by visits from the many Parisian friends he continued to associate with. For example, Jean Cocteau and Jean Bourgouin regularly turned up at Mas de Fourques....

His paintings reflect the beauty and gentle way of life of the Languedoc region. His paintings are set in the surrounding villages: Lunel, but also Gallargues, Boisseron, Verargues, Villetelle.... They sometimes depict agricultural activities or work. For example, the vineyard worker, the ploughman or the manadier are depicted in their everyday gestures. His paintings reflect his spiritual vision of the universe. They exude a serenity that underlines the harmony between man and nature.

Jean Hugo's works are exhibited worldwide. Through his paintings, Jean Hugo is an inspired witness and enlightened ambassador of the beauty of our region.