Robert Combas (French, b. 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 Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Montpellier, France. He attended the school until 1978, the same year that he created his first paintings out of recycled material.
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 (German, 1945–2007) and Georg Baselitz (German, b.1938). 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 off of popular culture. Many of his paintings feature references to famous people and cartoon characters. As his career continues, 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.