Jean-Emile Laboureur (French, 1943)

Jean-Emile Laboureur (French, 1877–1943) was a painter, graphic artist, engraver, and illustrator, and founder of the group Les Peintres-Graveurs Indépendants. Born in Nantes in the west of France, he went to Paris in 1895 to study at the Académie Julian. His mentor, industrialist and art collector Lotz-Brissoneau, introduced him to printmaker Auguste Lepère, who taught him wood engraving. In 1897, he published his first woodcut, and later created his first etchings and lithographs, under the guidance of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Though Laboureur was initially inspired by Lautrec, as well as by the Primitivism of artists such as Paul Gaugin, he is considered to be the first printmaker to be strongly influenced Cubism. Between 1899 and 1911, Laboureur lived in Dresden, the United States, Canada, London, Italy, Greece, and Turkey. While in the United States, he produced his first series of prints, Ten Etchings from Pittsburg, and taught at the Art Students League in New York.

In 1911, he returned to Paris and began to develop what would become his signature style. By the end of World War I, Laboureur had gained wide acclaim as a successful book designer and illustrator. His service in the war led him to experiment with copper engraving, which was easier to execute outside of a studio. His style gradualy became more fluid, moving away from the rigid aesthetics of Cubism.

In 1923, he founded the Peintres-Graveurs Indépendants, which led to the creation of the Comité national de la gravure française (National Committee of French Etching), and whose members included Georges Braque, Maurice de Vlaminck, Marie Laurencin, and André Dunoyer de Segonzac.

Following the outbreak of the Second World War, he retired to Pénestin, where he died at the age of 65.


Born in Nantes, France
Traveled to Paris intending to study law at the Sorbonne; wood engraver Auguste Lepere taught him woodcutting
Invented his own Cubist style
Began experimenting with engraving
Died in Pénestin, France