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Joachim Costa

Joachim Costa

Sculptor of the school of Fine Arts of Paris
He is the author of numerous artists and poets? busts. In the same way, he sculpted Deux Jaguares, Tigre à l?arrêt, Deux singes dormant,...
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Biography:
Born in 1888, Joachim Costa belongs to the artists? generation hardly injured by the Great War. Jean Cassou speaks about "sacrificed generation" in order to evoke to these young people, still idealist, thrown themselves into the horror of the war. Like in the case of others, Joachim was mobilised since 1914. The young artist had already finished one year of military service and he knew the daily routine of barracks. His mobilization had impeded the return to the School of Fine Arts and his entrance into the degree. Instead of freeing himself from the military service, Costa was ordered to go to the front, where he carried out the functions of corporal and, later, of sergeant. Brave combatant of the Marne, he was decorated with the Cross of war on behalf of his heroic actions.

The experience of the Great War supposed, without any doubt, a hard trauma for future youth. On the contrary of the older people, such as his master Jean Boucher who participated in the great battles of Verdun, the generation to whom Joachim Costa belonged had not yet won its reputation or founded a family when it was enlisted to the Great Test. When they came back from their terrible task, in 1919, Joachim Costa had to make himself a place in the artistic world of his time. At that time, the Exhibitions were still essential bases for the trade and statutory representation of painters and sculptors. The activity of the Fine Arts was in full recovery and the academic Hall of French Artists exhibited over its cymas innumerable figures of soldiers and a great quantity of monuments for the dead. France was immersed in the demands of the national commemoration and patriotic feeling. Costa took part in the Autumn Exhibition, the best with respect to art Exhibitions, which a lot of independent young artists visited. In 1920, Joachim Costa exhibited a masterpiece: his Poilu, which reached a great success.

The monumental figure made of silver, Poilu, bathed in broze, referring to the Rochelle?s dead, expressed a new vision of the combatant. It was opposed to the Epinal?s imaging, those hairy of operetta which were the most exhibited in the official exhibitions and which appeared in the newspapers of that time. The figure of Costa?s figure, synthetic and rigid, with a helmet and a pullover and covered by his cloak, embodied the last soldier. "His square and solid Poliu in his lamb skin, over a short pedestal which decorates a frieze of figures carefully treated, consists of a monumental elegance, desired and expressive", summarized Paul Vitry in Art and Decoration.

This sincerity was due to the artist´s personality and his experience in the front. The work, because of its outlined and synthetic form voluntarily, involved a critical character for a long time. Emmanuel de Thubert remembered the exhibition of this sculpture with emotion. "Costa?s sculpture stood out among the best sendings of the Exhibition, both in inspiration and in height, and with a full aesthetics, it touched me even more due to my leaving of the war, where I needed my Poilu (meaning hairy and also a rank among soldiers); so I was absolutely impregnated with the grandeur and humility to which we got used, and I was indignant about the statutory because it showed our own inside".

Joachim Costa also carried out another figure of Poilu included in the monument of Pézenas conceived by the architect Jean Béraud in 1925. It was exhibited in the Hall of Autumn in 1922 (number 557).

These two Joachim Costa?s works embody the renewal of an imaging limited for a long time to the anecdote. La Guerre (Paris, MAMVP), work of another expressionist from the Fire Generation, Marcel Gromaire, which was exhibited in the Hall for Independent Artists in 1925, and the two Costa?s Poilu constitute an unique figure in the iconographic scenery of the Great War.

1 SOUBEYRE, 1st June 1920

2 VITRY, 1920, p.177, mentioned in RINUY, 1990, p.295-307

3 THUBERT, 1925

The author of this article: Claire Maingon, is doctor in History of Art and author of a thesis entitled "Les Salons du rappel à l?ordre, Paris 1914-1925: des Artistes Français aux Artistes Indépendants".

COSTA Joachim

Lèzignan 1888 Narbonne 1971

French nationality, French school

Joachim Costa starts his artistic training in the School of Fine Arts of Montpellier before going to the capital where he is enrolled in the School of Fine Arts of Paris, in Injalbert?s workroom. His beginning takes place in the Hall of the National Society of Fine Arts, from which he will be a member.

Besides the Hall of the National, from which he will be always a faithful exhibitor, he exhibits his works in the Hall of Autumn, a hall of French artists where he exhibits since the year 1912, just like in the Hall of Independents. In 1925 he is granted the Great Prize of Sculpture at the International Hall of Decorative Arts of Paris. He is the author of numerous artists and poets? busts. In the same way, he sculpted Deux Jaguares, Tigre à l?arrêt. Deux singes dormant, Singe... he was gentleman of the Legion of Honour.
Joachim Costa
Tiger up
Nineteenth-century bronze sculpture...
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