Sunday, 7 April 2013

QUILLIVIC, René Marie

René Quillivic (born 1925) was born into a family of artists. His mother painted and his father, René senior, was rather famous for his artistic talents which ranged from painting to sculpture to ceramics to engravings. No wonder then that René junior would also choose the arts for his career.

He enters the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris where he gets his training in Robert Cami’s engraving workshop. There, two teachers were responsible for moulding the budding artist, albeit in two almost opposite ways. Robert Cami teaches Quillivic the precise and rigorous composition needed when engraving the more sensual of materials. The other teacher at the engraving workshop which would leave his mark on Quillivic was Galani, who taught him poetic licence when it came to woodcuts.

In 1950, Quillivic wins his Prix de Rome. But instead of going to Rome to submit himself to its artistic influences, Quillivic accepts an invitation by engraver Albert Decaris to join him at the Casa de Velazquez in Madrid. Decaris, having seen Quillivic’s work, considered Rome to be too classical an influence on Quillivic, and considered a more modern environment to be more conducive to Quillivic’s development as an artist.

Quillivic stays in Spain from 1952 to 1954, and on his return to France soon makes a career in engraving medals and monumental buildings. Quillivic’s preference at that time lies very much with the art of engraving in architecture. He feels the art form is perfectly suited for enriching monumental buildings, making use of a diversity of material, such as metal, marble and concrete, and he loves working on a grand scale.

But still, it is his work as illustrator and medal engraver which earns him his fine reputation, and when, due to the economic crisis of the 1970s, commissions in the field of architecture become few and far between, Quillivic is more or less forced to forego his love of monumental engravings and start to concentrate on works on a much smaller scale.

In 1969, Quillivic contacts the French postal authorities, hoping to find employ as a designer of stamps, rather than an engraver. But it is as an engraver that he starts working for them. His first engraved stamp is the 1970 issue of Monaco, marking the new UPU Headquarters Building. Many more stamps follow, and within years, in 1973 to be precise, Quillivic receives the Grand Prix de l’Art Philatélique for his work for the French overseas territories.

As is so often the case, it takes French engravers a good few years before they are allowed to work on French stamps. For René Quillivic, his breakthrough came in 1974, when his first French stamp was issued: a value in the Tourism series, depicting the Basilica of St. Nicolas de-Port.

Being used to working on a grander scale, Quillivic feels, maybe more than other engravers, the restraints of working on a tiny format, and the restraints of having to work on other artists’ designs. Throughout philatelic history, engravers have grappled with these issues, all trying to stamp their personality or authority on their work.

For Quillivic, the solution was twofold. Firstly, he made a point of only engraving his own designs, stating he could only express his art through the combination of the two mediums. Secondly, he fell back on what Cami had told him about precise and rigorous design.

During his long career, Quillivic engraved some 250 stamps for France and her territories. Of all these, the two French Europa stamps of 1977 stand out in that they allow Quillivic to come full circle. The Breton port shown on the 1f40 value of that set harks nicely back to the Breton roots of his father which were an important part of his work.

This article was first published in Stamp and Coin Mart of July 2013 and is reproduced with their kind permission.  

STAMPS

1970
Ivory Coast, World telecommunications day
Monaco, UPU headquarters
St. Pierre et Miquelon, Livestock breeding
Upper Volta, Inauguration of Austro-Voltaic centre

1971
Cameroun, Philatecam 71
Gabon, 10th anniversary of Social welfare fund
Mali Republic, 50th anniversary of first BCG vaccine inoculation
Mali Republic, 15th anniversary of Social Security Institute
New Caledonia, World Telecommunications Day

1972
Comoro Islands, Louis Pasteur
French Territory of the Afars and the Issas, Medical scientists
Mali Republic, Signs of the zodiac
New Caledonia, UNESCO
Niger Republic, Niger sports
Wallis & Futuna Islands,  Pacific explorers

1973
Cameroun, 12th anniversary of African and Malagasy Posts and telecommunications union
Chad, 12th anniversary of African and Malagasy Posts and telecommunications union
Congo, 12th anniversary of African and Malagasy Posts and telecommunications union
Dahomey, 500th birth anniversary of Nicolas Copernicus
Gabon, Inauguration of 2 Decembre satellite earth station
Gabon, Moon flight of Apollo 17
Gabon, 12th anniversary of African and Malagasy Posts and telecommunications union
Ivory Coast, 12th anniversary of African and Malagasy Posts and telecommunications union
Malagasy Republic, 12th anniversary of African and Malagasy Posts and telecommunications union
Mauritania, 12th anniversary of African and Malagasy Posts and telecommunications union
New Caledonia, Concorde
Niger Republic, 12th anniversary of African and Malagasy Posts and telecommunications union
Niger Republic, World savings day
Rwanda, 12th anniversary of African and Malagasy Posts and telecommunications union
Senegal, 12th anniversary of African and Malagasy Posts and telecommunications union
Togo, 12th anniversary of African and Malagasy Posts and telecommunications union
Upper Volta, 12th anniversary of African and Malagasy Posts and telecommunications union

1974
Comoro Islands, UPU
France, Tourism
Mali Republic, 21st chess olympics
New Caledonia, Discovery of New Caledonia
St. Pierre et Miquelon, World Meteorological Day.

1975
France, Tourism
France, St Nazaire bridge
Gabon, Concorde
Mali Republic, Ancient coins
New Caledonia, Arphila 75
Niger Republic, National tree week
Niger Republic, Ancient coins

1976
Andorra (French), American Revolution
Benin, Konrad Adenauer
Congo, Ships
France, American revolution
Mali Republic, Ships
Monaco, Olympics

1977
Benin, Space anniversaries
France, Europa
France, Red cross
France, Table tennis federation
Mauritania, Pottery from Tegdaoust
Niger Republic, World meteorological day

1978
Congo, PANAFTEL
Congo, World hypertension year
France, Handicrafts
Gabon, UNESCO campaign for preservation of the Acropolis

1979
France, Red cross
France, Tourism
New Caledonia, Chamber of Commerce
Togo, Philexafrique

1980
France, Red Cross
France, Tourism
Gabon, World tourism conference
Mali Republic, Birth millenary of Avicenna

1981
Andorra (French), Fencing championships
France, Philatelic congress
Wallis & Futuna Islands, Battle of Virginia Capes

1982
Andorra (French), Europa
Andorra (French), Football championships

1983
France, Meteorology
France (UNESCO), Sites
Wallis & Futuna Islands, Bangkok stamp exhibition

1984
Andorra (French), Winter Olympic games
France (UNESCO), Sites

1985
France, Charles Dullin
Wallis & Futuna Islands, UN

1986
France, Red cross
Wallis & Futuna Islands, Horn Islands
Wallis & Futuna Islands, Request for protectorate

1987
France, Blaise Cendrars
Wallis & Futuna Islands, First missionaries

1988
Andorra (French), Les Escaldes Spring
French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Geology
New Caledonia, La Pérouse's Expedition.
Wallis & Futuna Islands, La Pérouse

1989
French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Diving
New Caledonia, Protection of Heritage

1990
French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Ships

1991
French Southern and Antarctic Territories, L'Aventure
New Caledonia, Sandalwood

1992
New Caledonia, Navigators
French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Supply ship Tottan
Wallis & Futuna Islands, World's Fair Seville

1993
French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Italo Marsano
New Caledonia, Telecommunications cable
Wallis & Futuna Islands, Bruni d'Entrecasteaux

1994
French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Kerguelen de Tremarec trawler
Wallis & Futuna Islands, Uvean Princesses
Wallis & Futuna Islands, Grand Lodge of France

1995
France, French institute
French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Expedition of Heroine
Wallis & Futuna Islands, Charles de Gaulle

1996
France, Jacques Marette
French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Yves de Kerguelen

1997
France, Tourism
French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Icota programme

1998
French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Le Cancalais

1999
French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Artificial nests
Wallis & Futuna Islands, Le Wind Song

2000
France, Peynet painting

2002
France, Tourism

2003
France, Freemasonry

2006
France, Douaumont ossuary

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