Fleury Joseph Crépin (1875-1948)


No. 11 1945. By Fleury Joseph Crépin

One day while writing music, he became aware that his hand was no long obeying him, and that instead of clefs and staffs, he was drawing geometrical shapes which were surprising to say the least. He was sixty-three ...
But already before he had discovered that he possessed a talent for healing and as a diviner, able even to heal people at a distance. A single hair from the sick person was sufficient; Crépin would place it on a heart which he himself had cut out of cardboard, and the sufferer had only to place it on the spot which hurt. Quantities of letters attest to the authenticity of these facts, to such a point that he was even brought to trial by the official Order of Medicine, but acquitted by the Tribunal. Crépin even considered his own paintings to have a beneficial effect.
The proof? The country had greatly suffered from the war, but anywhere there was a painting by Crépin, the houses had remained intact. Furthermore, he often painted at night, to the sound of his daughter's violin, or while listening radio concerts on T.S.F. But no one ever saw him paint.
Also, during the war, he heard a voice which said to him, "When you have finished three hundred paintings, that very day, the war will be over". And he signed his three hundredth painting on May 7th 1945. He also predicted his own death-again, this was to occur when he had finished a certain number of paintings which he himself qualified as wonderful.
André Breton discovered the work of Joseph Crépin in 1948 when Art Brut first appeared on the art scene.
"His method is as follows: he limits himself to transferring to canvas the drawings in his notebooks, enlarging them as necessary. He is convinced that he is not responsible for the choice or distribution of colours; it is as if he were guided to place this or that colour in this or that spot. Because of this, he never hesitates and suffers no regrets: this also means, as he himself has observed, that he has never "botched a painting".

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