About An Artist in War: The Art & Life of Andre Girard (1901-1968)

© Ellen Fernandez-Sacco & John D. Kysela

Few are aware of the life and works of the French artist André Girard. During the first half of the twentieth century, Girard pioneered techniques in advertising in Paris, experimented with painting on glass and film in the U.S., and was involved in Worlds Fairs on both sides of the Atlantic. During the Second World War, Girard created one of the first Resistance networks in Southern France linked to the Allied powers.

This is the website for the upcoming book, which examines Girard’s work and life in France and the United States during the conflict ridden years of the Second World War.

Girard was both a prodigious artist and correspondent. Based on new information gathered from archives and unpublished sources in France, England and the United States, the chapters move chronologically through Girard’s life — his early friendship with the painter Georges Rouault, and later, Pierre Bonnard to the art scene of pre-war Paris of the 1920s and 1930s. He then travels to the US to participate in the Golden Gate International Exhibition on San Francisco’s Treasure Island as Artistic Director of the French Pavilion, and to paint murals at the New York World’s Fair in 1939.  The next chapters deal with his return to France, the founding of his Resistance network CARTE, and the capture of his wife by the Gestapo in 1943 before turning to his post-war work, which transposed religious imagery directly onto the media of film and glass in the U. S.

This book is for anyone interested in the art and culture of the first half of the twentieth century.

12 Comments on “About An Artist in War: The Art & Life of Andre Girard (1901-1968)”

  1. richard louis james says:

    my dear friends ellen and john
    so very proud and happy for the both of you
    much success with this amazing project

  2. Stan Draenos says:

    Intriguing stuff. Good to see it on the way to fulfillment as a book.

  3. Tom Shea says:

    What a grand introduction to another of the cloud of witnesses against war. You both have touched me with your portrait of Andre Girard. Thank you.

  4. rachel longstaff says:

    Where is this book for sale?

    • artistinwar says:

      Hi Rachel,
      Thanks for your interest– we’re in the process of putting it together, and will announce its availability soon.

      • rachel longstaff says:

        Thanks, Ellen. Actually, I am Siri Hurst’s sister. I promised to help her find the book! I understand she has already contacted you. Sincerely, Rachel

  5. Michael Andrew Girard Schwarz says:

    Am excited about the publishing of the book that will further display and teach to the world – Andre Girard was an extraordinary man. My mother was a yound artist whose mentor and teacher was Mr. Girard. I would accompany her to his Nyack, NY home where all the walls and ceilings were covered with his drawings, sketches and religious art. His wife Andree would prepare meals showing off her French cooking skills. He was a kind man, a loving man, and a deeply spiritual soul who influenced my mother as well as a young boy. I am blessed to have a collection of his paintings, his drawings, his letters, and many fond memories of his life in Nyack. Much success to you.

    • artistinwar says:

      Thanks for your warm words and memories. I look forward to learning more!

    • Matthew Strong says:

      Hi Michael ,
      I have had the privilege of restoring panels on the out side of the Blessed Sacrament Church in Stowe Vt. that Andre painted in 1949. The windows he painted at that time are being replaced so the art work is now being sold. If you are interested in any of the windows look me up here in Stowe. I believe this is a rare opportunity I thought you might be interested in.
      Matthew H. Strong

  6. Jay Lesley says:

    I just purchased a Damon Petrik 16 gauge shotgun. The gun was engraved with the name A. Girard, Poitier. The gun was made from 1898 to 1923. I bought it from the son of a US soldier who brought it back from WWII. He grabbed it out of a pile of confiscated guns in a German warehouse. Any chance this could be the same guy? Any help would be appreciated.

    • artistinwar says:

      Thanks Jay,
      I suspect not, as there are several unrelated Andre Girards, and the artist was born in Chinon in 1901. Given the dates of the Petrik, perhaps the gun was a WW1 holdover, rather than WW2. Also, the A could stand for a number of first names. You might try searching in a Poitier census of the time for someone with that name. By any chance, do you know where the warehouse was located?

  7. Bill Kysela says:

    Am eagerly awaiting the publishing of this work! I spent three years as a US Army Officer stationed in eastern France in a town originally founded by the Romans called Toul (Toulum) “pres de Nancy” – our base was set up on the very airfield that Jimmy Doolittle and other WW I pilots used during that war. Also a short distance away was the original home of Joan of Arc at Domremy, through which town I passed often as we delivered Ordnance parts and service to 12 different US airbases in Eastern France.

    I developed a great love and admiration for the French people, who despite vicious attempts to invade their land, have made every effort possible to retain an optimistic “joie de vivre” at living life. They suffered through horrible slaughter of their young men and women that has cost the world a huge loss of genius and talent.

    I dealt with many French Mechanics and workers and was always impressed by their wonderful kindness to me and the ease with which dealt with very difficult problems ( I was the very first person to train them in the use of computers in our American supply system in 1960) and their creativity and willingness to learn new things and ways impressed me greatly.

    One French friend would come every Sunday to my home and take me fishing and share a cognac and coffee and pastries. Another made me an honorary member of the Hunt Club in Vaucoulers. Along with Ireland and Scotland, I would rate France as a #10 for places to see beautiful scenery, colors and skies, art treasures and best of all, really genuine persons who care!!! A beautiful country with beautiful people and many treasures of all types to enjoy!

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