Robert Combas is a French painter, sculptor and illustrator born in 1957 in Lyon. Passionate about music, he participated in the birth of the free figuration movement in the 1980s. Considered one of the most important French artists of his generation, he has been part of the Artprice ranking of the 500 most popular artists for several years. in the world. He currently lives and works in Île de France.
As a child, his family moved to Sète. On leaving high school, he went to study at the School of Fine Arts in Montpellier. It was at this time that he defined his artistic style in opposition to conceptual art, predominant on the art scene of the time. The idea of concentrating on the concept of the work alone does not appeal to the artist, who on the contrary enjoys drawing shapes and contours. Not belonging to any artistic movement, he advocated freedom of creation. He began a series of paintings, "Battles", then dealt with underdeveloped countries with irony and sarcasm, creating the movement of "Arab Pop Art". His style is then very brutal. In 1979, when he was freshly graduated, Bernard Ceysson offered him to present his paintings in Saint-Etienne as part of the exhibition "After Classicism".
In the early 1980s, an artistic paradigm shift loomed on the horizon. Robert Combas and Hervé Di Rosa grew up together in Sète. A time separated because of their studies, they find themselves once graduated in the same Parisian salons. They meet Bernard Lamarche-Vadel, art critic, Rémi Blanchard, Jean-Charles Blais, Jean-Michel Alberola, Denis Laget and Catherine Viollet - all five artists - with whom they organize an exhibition in the apartment of Vadel in 1981. Free figuration was born. The name echoes the American artists of the time, and is characterized by an unbridled joviality. For these young artists, there is no question of crying stupidly in front of a work or of entering into a romantic and romantic contemplation. Their paintings inspire happiness and laughter, joy and good humor. The movement contrasts sharply with the art of the 1970s, serious and austere, and is instead devoid of any negative feeling. Pessimism, nostalgia for the past, fear of the present, anxiety for the future... So many states that are prohibited in free figuration! These artists are part of a new generation at ease with their time, tired of feeling guilty about a bygone past, and they translate this feeling into painting. In parallel with graffiti in the United States, the development of street art and the advent of rock, a new world is emerging, adept at popular culture and freedom. Themes such as sexuality, love, comics, music, are approached with simplicity and naturalness.
In 1987, Robert Combas fell in love with Geneviève, whom he made his muse. In 2010, the artist had the privilege of entering the Lacan collection, thanks to a series of remarkable engravings.