Robert Combas (French, born May 25, 1957) is a painter and sculptor. He is recognized as being an originator of the Figuration Libre movement. Combas was born in Lyon, France. At the age of four, Combas and his parents moved to Sète. The artist took art classes from age nine to 17. In 1975, Combas attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Montpellier, France. He attended the school until 1978, the same year that he created his first paintings out of recycled materials.

In 1980, Combas held his first exhibition at the Galerie Errata in Montpellier. He also helped start the Figuration Libre movement in Paris that same year. The movement was a reaction to both Minimalism and Conceptual Art. Figuration Libre is often linked to other art movements, including Neo-Expressionism, and typically includes influences of pop culture. During the 1980s, Combas drew inspiration from fellow artists, such as Jorg Immendorf and Georg Baselitz. Combas started to gain international recognition as the Figuration Libre movement grew. In 1983, he held a solo exhibition in New York at the Leo Castelli gallery.

Although Combas was formally trained in art, he gained notoriety for his less sophisticated and more direct style of art. He is known for paintings such as Panique and Les Gaulois et les Romains. These paintings were created with the idea of doodling in mind. However, Combas went a step beyond doodling and turned his ideas into full-scale art. Many of his paintings also include writing. Combas often uses street language in his paintings in an effort to help convey his message. Combas continues to produce artwork that draws from popular culture. Many of his paintings reference famous people and cartoon characters.

Combas has also started to incorporate autobiographical elements into his work. In 2012, an exhibition was held in Lyon, France, that featured over 300 of Combas's paintings. Certain pieces featured in the exhibition were made on site.

Combas lives and works in Paris, France.

Timeline

1957
Born in Lyon, France
1975–1978
École des Beaux-Arts. Montpellier, France
1979
Co-founded the Figuration Libre movement
Currently lives and works in Paris, France

Exhibitions

2010
Robert Combas, Fondation Mudima, Milan, Italy (solo)
Robert Combas, Galerie Hélène Trintignan, Montpellier, France (solo)
Sans filet, les Goulamas sont de retour, Galerie Guy Pieters, Paris, France (solo)
2009
Qu’es aco?, Fondation Vincent Van Gogh, Arles, France (solo)
Blow your mind, Opera Gallery, London, UK (solo)
Robert Combas, Le frimeur flamboyant, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France (solo)
2006
Rétrospective, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Corea (solo)
Œuvres croisées Combas Kijno, Galerie Hélène Trintignan, Montpellier, France (solo)
Robert Combas, les années 80 l’invention d’un style, Musée de Louviers, France (solo)
2004
Galerie de portraits, Hélène Trintignan, Montpellier, France (solo)
Œuvres récentes, Galerie Guy Pieters, Saint Paul de Vence, France (solo)
2003
Robert Combas, peintures des années 80, Galerie Pop Laurent Strouk, Cannes, France (solo)
Galerie Guy Pieters, Knokke le Zoute, Belgium (solo)
2002
Combas 2002, Galerie Serge Laurent, Paris, France (solo)
Oeuvres récentes, Art Curial, Paris, France (solo)
Robert Combas, Galerie Hélène Trintignan, Montpellier, France (solo)
Robert Combas ‘Les vieux dégueulasses, voici où en est la liberté d'expression’, Galerie Métropolis, Lyon, France (solo)
2001
Galerie Rachlin, Lemarié, France (solo)
2000
Maryilin-Combas, Bruxelles, Belgium (solo)
Gallery Dewart, Geneva, Switzerland (solo)
Galerie Charlotte Moser, Paris, France (solo)
1999
Boisrond, Combas, Di Rosa, Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki, Finland
Tronche d'habits, Espace Cardin, Paris, France (solo)
1998
Dans le tiroir, il y a trois couilles et une bite, Musée de l'Érotisme, Paris, France (solo)
1997
Galerie Bergold, Manheim, Germany (solo)
Portraits Glitters, Galerie Strouk, Paris, France (solo)
1996
Sanguines, Galerie Strouk, Paris, France (solo)
1995
La maison Combas, Galerie Beaubourg, Paris, France (solo)
Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris, France (solo)
Sculptures, Galerie Matignon, Paris, France (solo)
1994
Recent paintings, Institut Français du Royaume Uni, London, UK (solo)
1993
Du simple et du double, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France (solo)
1991
La Bible, Galerie Beaubourg, Paris, France (solo)
Les Saints, Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris, France (solo)
1990
Galerie W.Schultz, San Francisco, CA (solo)
1989
Galerie Blue, Seoul, South Corea (solo)
1988
Yvon Lambert, Paris, France (solo)
Krings Ernst, Cologne, Germany (solo)
Galerie Pierre Huber, Geneva, Switzerlands (solo)
1987
Musée d'Art Contemporain, Bordeaux, France (solo)
Stedlijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (solo)
1986
Léo Castelli, New York, NY (solo)
Yvon Lambert, Paris, France (solo)
1985
Retrospective, Abbaye Sainte-Croix, Sables d'Olonne, France (solo)
1983
Léo Castelli, New York, NY (solo)
1982
Yvon Lambert, Paris, France (solo)
Galerie Swart, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (solo)
1981
Galerie Eva Keppel, Düsseldorf, Germany (solo)
Galerie Swart, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (solo)
1980
Galerie Errata, Montpellier, France (solo)