Bombois, Camille

Camille Bombois was born in1883 at Ve`narey-Les Laumes in the Cote d’Or. He spent his childhood on a barge and attended the village school, where he learned to read and write. At the age of twelve he left and went to work on a farm near Laroche. Here he started to sketch the life around him.

His gift for drawing was patent from the start. but the youth himself was more concerned with his gift of physical strength. At the country fairs he matched himself with the other youths. Soon he was the champion local wrestler and thus he Joined a traveling circus as a strong man. but his one desire was to go to Paris. The only way to fulfill this dream was by finding a modest job on the construction of the Metropolitan Railway. In 1907. he moved to Paris and there he married. Always thinking about art and planning his canvases. he did the rough work of a laborer. He could only paint in the evenings and on his rare Sundays of leisure. Finally he found a night job handling huge rolls of news print in the pressroom of a newspaper plant. Sleeping only three or four hours. At the first light of dawn he established himself in front of his easel and painted the rest of the day. During the next seven years he struggled to forge a technique. In 1914. Bombois went to war and was at the front four and a half years. He won three decorations for bravery. and was acclaimed a hero.

In 1922 Bombols began his true career. Concentrating only on painting. he began displaying his work on the sidewalks of Montmartre, facing “the judgments of the crowds” as he called it. Among the first to take notice of his work was Noel Bureau. the poet. Who bought tow canvases and wrote an article on Bombols in a magazine of the period called Rythme & Synthese. Art dealers. Critics and collectors began visiting him on the rue Caulaincourt. Soon every available Bombols vanished from both sidewalk and shop.

Many collectors and museums began to acquire his works Camille Bombois’ works are a part of his past. There is nothing on his powerful canvases that he had not experienced. His early pictures are generally in subdued colors resembling those of the old Dutch masters. In later works Bombols’ colors undergo a marked change. Recalling scenes from the circuses and carnivals he knew as a young man. he used brilliant pinks. greens and blues, and a superb black which glistens in the background of his portraits and surrounds the circus rings. In his landscapes. portraits and still lifes alike. Bombois is considered a brilliant colorist.

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