Jean Bruneau

Painter, 1921 / 2001

Jean Bruneau loved to paint women, childhood, horses and the sea, and enjoyed music, reading and destiny.
He thought it was possible to be both artistic and cultured.

Its cultural activities

Jean Bruneau, painter and historian, dedicated the second half of the 20th century to promoting Nantes' heritage. His creative commitment mobilised decision-makers to reveal the city's treasures, leaving a significant mark on various cultural initiatives.

Friends and meetings

He has met them all, faithful or talented friends, official or singular personalities, who have supported him in his cultural and artistic endeavours.

Key dates

3 September 1921

Born in La Baule.

1928 - 1937

Schooling at the Lycée Jules Verne then studies at the Lycée Clemenceau in NANTES.

1938 - 1943

NANTES School of Fine Arts. He joined Paul Deltombe's studio, then that of Robert Villard.


Illustration of the Permission Holder's Guide, Cards for arms vouchers and decoration of the Soldier's Home


Premier article de presse parlant de Jean Bruneau


Grand Prix de Peinture of the city of Nantes


At the end of his artistic studies, he was awarded the Grand Prix by the École des Beaux Arts.


Creation of the sets and costumes for Snegourotchka, an opera by Rimsky-Korsakoff for the Ministry of Education's first attempt at artistic decentralisation. Théâtre Graslin, Nantes.


Exhibition at the Bourlaouën gallery in Nantes.


Participation in the French painting exhibition in Sao-Paulo (Brazil). Selection for Art Vivant at Drouant David in Paris. Sets and costumes for Carmen - Schola Cantorum at the Graslin theatre in Nantes.


Exposition d'Art Sacré au Musée de Nantes. Décors et costumes pour la Guerre de Trois de Giraudoux jouée au théâtre Graslin à Nantes. Exposition à la galerie Bourlaouën (Nantes),catalogue préfacé par Albert Gavy-Beledin.


Lafont Prize. Participation in the Salon de Nantes. Purchase of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes. Sets and costumes for Vogue la Galère (Marcel Aymé). Graslin Theatre in Nantes.


Exposition particulière galerie Bourlaouën, catalogue préfacé par René-Guy Cadou.

Jean Bruneau's canvases have the fatal character of autumn days full of the blood of leaves, carried by a violent wind towards the gypsies' resting place, somewhere on the edge of Meaulnes's domain.

For this painter, colour seems to be no more than an ornament of the mind, like a lantern with painted windows that habit carries at arm's length into the catacombs of childhood.

Under the smiling exterior of the line, on the flip side of a day that's too beautiful, a solitude and a bottomless sadness appear, providing a hopeless pretext for worrying characters.

Que Jean Bruneau ait choisi de s’exprimer en poète, ce qui signifie point que sa peinture encourt la disgrâce du lyrisme, c’est qu’il puise en son cœur une encre lumineuse et savamment mélangée qui donne à ses dernières œuvres un accent de sincérité capable de le rendre, entre tant d’autres, reconnaissable.

I would like to draw the visitor's attention in particular to these tapestry boards that we would like to find in some antechamber of art.

I am pleased to bear witness for Jean Bruneau to his truth, to his poignant search in today's singularly overpopulated, unbreathable field.

René Guy Cadou

Édition d’un album de 30 reproductions (peintures, gouaches, dessins), avec présentation de l’artiste par F. Charamat (Sté Parisienne d’édition de Presse).

Participation au Salon des Artistes Bretons de Nantes (3 peintures). Expositions estivales galerie du Casino à La Baule (1949 et 50).


B/W photo of the portrait of J.P. Auriol,

The aviatrix Jacqueline Auriol asked Jean Bruneau to paint a portrait of her son, the grandson of Vincent Auriol, then President of the French Republic.

Illustration of 8 tales by Voltaire, as well as 3 chapters of the Caractères by La Bruyère.

1951 - 1952

Illustration of "Solitude" then "Adolescence" by Jobic Le Bihan. Watercolours and drawings of Nantes Elseneur. Ten gouaches on poems by René Guy Cadou.

1952 - 1957

Regular exhibitions at Galerie Bourlaouën, Nantes.


Participation in the Exhibition of Breton Artists at the Château des Ducs de Bretagne in Nantes.
Décor for the Nantes Château-Bougon terminal.


  • Rencontres d'Octobre de Nantes
  • Exhibition at the Beaux-Arts gallery in Rennes


Exhibition at Galerie d'Art Decré Nantes
Sets and costumes for The Tempest (Shakespeare), Théâtre Graslin, Nantes.

"Jean Bruneau's canvases have the fatal character of autumn days full of the blood of leaves and carried by a violent wind towards the resting place of gypsies, somewhere on the edge of Meaulnes' domain" (René-Guy Cadou 1949).


Participation in the Regards sur la Peinture Contemporaine exhibition in Nantes


Decoration of the chapel at the children's home in Saint-Sébastien (Loire-Atlantique). Exhibition at the Galerie des Beaux-Arts in Rennes.


Exhibition on the theme of the circus at the Arte Ita gallery, São Paulo (Brazil). Participation in the Rencontres d'Octobre de Nantes at the Musée des Beaux-Arts. Sets and costumes for Joan of Arc (Péguy) in the gardens of the Musée d'Obrée, Nantes.

1959 - 1965

Exhibitions at the Decré Art Gallery in Nantes. Participation in the Rencontres d'Octobre 1960.


Exhibition at the Pierre Lhote Gallery in La Rochelle. Sets and costumes for Le Cid (Corneille) Château des Ducs de Bretagne, Nantes.


Participation in the exhibition 20 Peintres de Nantes devant la Nature.


Sets and costumes for the Nantes Drama Festival.

Annual series of eight drawings with texts on a specific theme for the Cahiers de l'Académie de Bretagne.


Participation in the painting exhibition at the Saarland Museum in Sarrebrück (Germany). Group exhibition at the Galerie des Beaux-Arts in Rennes.


Private exhibition at Galerie d'Art Decré.


Portrait of Henry Orrion, Mayor of Nantes.


Participation in the Cardiff exhibition (Wales)

1969 - 1971

Private exhibitions at the Decré Art Gallery.
Participation in the Rencontres d'Octobre 1971.


Pineau-Chaillou Prize


D'Ilion et d'Ithaque: set of 20 paintings and 22 drawings based on Homer's poems.

Jean Bruneau retrospective at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nantes. Private exhibition at the Arpège gallery in Nantes.

Following this major retrospective, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes purchased the painting "Portait d'Alain".


Private exhibition at Galerie Arpège, Nantes.


Illustration of the book "Nantes du Bon Vieux Temps" (texts by H. Bouyer).


Illustration of the book "Jules Verne de Nantes" (texts by H. Bouyer), and a series of 4 Epinal pictures about the novelist (Imagerie Pelerin, Epinal). Production of a pack of cards on Jules Verne (Maitre Cartier Grimaud) and a Jules Verne medal (Editeur de Médailles Pichard, Saumur).


Illustration of the book "Jacques Cassard" with texts by Armel de Wismes.
Creation of a P. Abélard and J. Cassard (OTSI Nantes ) and a J. Cassard medal (Pichard).


He was awarded the medal of the city of Nantes. Illustration for the book Vendée Militaire (text by J. Pageot).


Illustration for the book "La Chasse Gallery" (text by A. Sorin). 4 "Bicentenary of the birth of R.T. Laënnec" (OTSI Nantes). Creation of a Guillaume and Théophile Laënnec medal (Pichard).


Creation of a card game on the Vendée Wars (Grimaud). 4 "Imagery of the Nantes Navy" boards (OTSI Nantes)


Illustration of 4 "Imagerie des Transports Nantais" plates (OTSI Nantes), and 4 "Ordre des Chevaliers Bretvins" plates.


Illustration of 4 plates "Nantes "Bouquet d'Outremer"" (Nantes Tourist Office), card game "Pirates and Corsairs" (Grimaud). Creation of a Jean-Jacques Audubon medal. The Nantes tourist office orders seven different medals illustrating the city: Nantes, Favet Neptunus Eunti, Ligeria, Porte Océane, Lycées Jules Verne et Clémenceau, Général Cambronne (Pichard).


Illustration of 4 "Nantes Architecture" plates (OTSI Nantes)


Illustration of 2 plates "les Floralies Internationales de Nantes" and "Biscuiterie Lefèvre-Utile". Les Chevaliers de la Table Ronde card game (Grimaud) and Breton Tarot game (Le Diouris publishing house).


Jean Bruneau retrospective 1975-1987 Maison du Tourisme Centre- Expo de Nantes.
Illustration of 4 plates "Nantes en ses Jardins" (CHM). 2 plates "La noce en pays nantais" and "Un marché à Nantes en 1900" (AMS). Summer exhibition at La Bernerie-en- Retz.


Illustrations and texts for the book "Nantes l'Imagerie de son Histoire" (Editions C.M.D.).
Special exhibition at La Baule, organised by the town's cultural department.


Summer exhibition at La Bernerie- en-Retz.


Died in Nantes on 20 May.