Aubusson tapestry woven in theTabard workshop.
A Benedictine monk and an illuminator, Dom Robert met Jean Lurçat in 1941 at the Abbey of En Calcat : while he never abandoned drawing (his watercolours, painted to life, would serve him as a reservoir of ideas for his tapestries), his work as a cartoonist (he was a member of the A.P.C.T. from its inception) would take on a considerable importance (at least a hundred cartoons, all numbered) and would be highly thought of. His immediately recognisable style, absence of perspective¸motifs inspired from the natural world (in a Paradisiac style) where stylised flora and fauna combine in a festive and extrovert exuberance, where the influence of mediaeval tapestry can be clearly felt ; poetic and colourful, Dom Robert’s cartoons are the incarnation of their author’s spiritual asceticism.
Inaugurated in the Spring of 2015, the musée Dom Robert opened its doors in in the monastery-school in Sorèze in the department of the Tarn.
“Inspired by the blinding experience of the revelation he received at Palaja when he was demobilised in 1940, this first work by Dom Robert, “l’été”, a veritable masterpiece, already brings together all the major themes which will be developed later in his work : peacocks, butterflies, trees, farmyard animals, poppies” (Multi-authors, Les Saisons de Dom Robert, Tapestries, Editions Hazan, 2014, p. 95), in brief, the splendour of Nature rendered in a style directly inspired by the illumination of manuscripts (cf. the watercolour which was used as a model (Multi-authors, Les Saisons de Dom Robert, Tapestries, Editions Hazan, 2014, p. 97). This first tapestry by Dom Robert (influenced by Lurçat who suggested the medium to him after being subjugated by his illuminations during his visit to the Abbey of En-Calcat), “l’été” was immediately considered a success by both Gromaire and Lurçat, and it won instant notoriety (as did “le Printemps” Spring in 1942 and “l’automne Autumn in 1943, which followed and inspired the rest of his career.
A similar tapestry can be seen at the Cité Internationale de la Tapisserie in Aubusson, a third version at the Musée Dom Robert;
lastly, it was shown at the exhibition “La tapisserie française du Moyen Age à nos jours” which was held at the Museum of Modern Art in 1946.
Multi-authored, Muraille et laine, Editions Pierre Tisné, 1946, ill. n°67
Multi-authored, Dom Robert, Tapisseries, Editions Julliard, 1980, ill. p.30-31
Multi-authored, Dom Robert, Tapisseries, Editions Siloë-Sodec, 1990
Exhibition Catalogue, Dom Robert, œuvre tissé, Angers, Musée Jean Lurçat et de la tapisserie contemporaine, ill.
Exhibition Catalogue, Hommage à Dom Robert, Musée départemental de la tapisserie, Aubusson, 1998
Exhibition Catalogue, l’art de durer, Aubusson, Musée départemental de la Tapisserie, 2000, ill p.26
Multi-authored, la clef des champs, Dom Robert, Editions Privat, 2003, ill. p. 48-49
Multi-authored, les saisons de Dom Robert, Tapisseries, Editions Hazan, 2014, ill. p.94
Special issue, La Montagne, une cité pour la Tapisserie d’Aubusson, ill. p.51