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.

THE MAYORS OF NANTES  As a participant in the artistic life of Nantes and a promoter of ideas and the enhancement of the city's heritage, Jean Bruneau has successively known five mayors, each of whom, in their own way, appreciated him, questioned him on specific subjects, listened to him, encouraged him, congratulated him and even decorated him. Almost all of them came to meet him in his apartment-workshop, which culminated in Sainte-Anne, offering one of the most beautiful views of the port and the town. When the rue de l'Hermitage was rebuilt after the bombings in 1943, the Nantes housing association had the foresight to reserve the flats on the top floor of two buildings facing the Loire for Nantes painters. Jean Bruneau was one of them, and in 1952 he moved into the artist's flat in the highest building for over fifty years.

Nantes as seen from the studio of Jean BRUNEAU

Henri OrrionDuring the breaks for his portrait, Bruneau spoke at length about Nantes during the war, which fascinated him, as he was a history buff. The mayor was present at the famous Danish Week and the visit of Prince George of Denmark.
André Morice inaugurated several of his cultural exhibitions at the Château and Decré, and personally congratulated him on the 100 Years of History exhibition.
Alain Chenard accompanied Jean Bruneau on a tour of the Musée des Salorges for France's First Lady, Madame Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. He inaugurated the Jacques Cassard monument designed by Jean Bruneau, and approved the choice of location for the planetarium proposed by Bruneau. He also inaugurated the Jules Verne Museum, the culmination of so much tenacity on the part of the artist who supported Luce Courville.
Michel Chauty awarded Jean Bruneau the medal of the city of Nantes for all his involvement in the various exhibitions he organised with the OTSI, and for his imagery which highlighted Nantes. Michel Chauty congratulated the master and gave a speech at the opening of the Jean Bruneau 87 retrospective at the Palais de la Bourse.
Jean-Marc Ayrault appreciated Jean Bruneau's maritime knowledge and the support he provided for the return of the "Belem" to Nantes. He personally thanked Jean Bruneau for his talent as an illustrator and cartoonist, in particular for his book "Nantes l'imagerie de son Histoire" published at the end of 97. It was Jean-Marc Ayrault who authorised the city of Nantes to name the esplanade overlooking the harbour after Jean Bruneau, at the foot of the artist's studio. His family was touched by the presence of Madame Ayrault at Jean Bruneau's funeral in May 2001.


Jean-Claude BATARD  In 1977, he asked Jean Bruneau to join him in suggesting and designing exhibitions in an original and attractive way. He often acted as Bruneau's interpreter with regard to the Nantes city council, and supported many of his ideas and directives. He was one of Bruneau's fellow travellers.

Alain Chenard, Mayor of Nantes, J.C. Batard and J. Bruneau

Henri BOUYER  Bruneau: a journalist from Nantes, an excellent caricaturist, full of humour and sensitivity, with a wealth of documents and anecdotes about Nantes, he was bound to get on well with Bruneau. The two men liked each other, and it was together that they produced the book "Nantes in the good old days", which was a great success with Nantes residents eager for memories and details about their city.

H. Bouyer, P. Gauthier (editor) and J. Bruneau

H. Bouyer, P. Gauthier (editor) and J. Bruneau

René-Guy CADOU It was around 1947 that Jean Bruneau met Cadou. The sensitivity of the two men led them to appreciate each other, and their exchanges soon became much more intense. In 1949, René Guy Cadou wrote the foreword to the catalogue of Jean Bruneau's paintings, and in 1950, the painter created 12 gouaches inspired by Cadou's poems. In 1957, Bruneau organised a René-Guy Cadou exhibition at the Galerie d'Art Decré. He designed the poster, which was used again for an exhibition in Nantes in 1981, produced by the Larousse bookshop.

CADOU designed by Jean BRUNEAU in 1952 for "la vie rêvée".

Sylvain CHIFFOLEAU Jean Bruneau was a printer and art publisher from Nantes, and an old friend of Jean Bruneau's. Together they became friends with the poet René-Guy Cadou, theatre people, musicians and many painters. In 1947, he asked Bruneau to illustrate 8 tales by Voltaireand 3 of the Characters by La Bruyère. He printed many of his imagery documents and luxury brochures. It was with him that Bruneau had his exhibition catalogues published.

with Sylvain Chiffoleau around 1958

Yves COSSON : A man of great sensitivity, he contributed to numerous reviews and edited the Literary Criticism and Painting sections. He met Jean Bruneau at the Académie Régence, and the two men, with their shared passions, quickly came to appreciate each other. While poetry was his favourite genre, he continued to write accurate commentaries on painters and their works. In 1986, he wrote the texts for the brochure on the Floralies Internationales de Nantes, which Jean Bruneau illustrated.

Yves Cosson

Luce COURVILLE Jean Bruneau: a woman curator at the Nantes municipal library, she was very receptive to Jean Bruneau's ideas. She worked with him on many projects, including the location and interior layout of the Jules Verne Museum. She was keen to sell cut-and-paste sheets of the Nautilus, Philéas Fogg's train and Jules Verne's steam house in the museum. Reprinted several times, some of these are still on sale at the museum.

Prince George of DENMARK In 1961, Jean Bruneau put on a fine exhibition at the Château des Ducs on the Danish navy, and succeeded in getting the Danish fast escort ship Willemoës to come to Nantes for an 8-day stopover. A Danish stand was set up at the Nantes trade fair, and a number of shops in the city centre displayed Danish products and colours. To add the necessary pomp to this Danish week, which was turning into a fortnight, Jean Bruneau managed to get Prince George of Denmark to attend the various inaugurations. His 3-day visit to Nantes was a success, and he wrote to thank Jean Bruneau personally for his mastery and success.

Prince George of Denmark

Charles FRIESE : A renowned architect, he rebuilt the Decré shops after the American bombings in 1943. A man of great intelligence, a great arms collector and a history buff, Charles Friésé was co-opted by Jean Bruneau as a member of the Brittany Academy, and his application was accepted.

Charles Friésé at the inauguration of the new Decré shop (1949)

Anne-Aymone GISCARD d'ESTAING France's First Lady was in Nantes in 1978, and Nantes' elected representatives, looking for a guide worthy of the occasion, asked Jean Bruneau to show this prestigious figure around the Musée des Salorges. He easily accommodated the visit, with his gift for making small details interesting.

Madame Giscard d'Estaing and J.Bruneau at the Château des Ducs

Roland JANCEL In 1987, as director of the Nantes Green Spaces Department, he called on Jean Bruneau to create a superb "green garden". four pages entitled Nantes en ses Jardins.

Roland JANCEL (left)

Dan LAILLER Jean Bruneau: a former friend of the Beaux-arts, a good draughtsman and passionate about the history of the navy, he became the curator of the Saint-Malo museum and called on Jean Bruneau to change various rooms. He frequently lent objects from his museum to exhibitions at the Château des Ducs, which the people of Nantes were able to admire.


LA MARECHALE DE LATTRE DE TASSIGNY In 1963, Jean Bruneau organised a very interesting exhibition entitled "Le Tigre et le Maréchal" (Georges Clémenceau and de Lattre de Tassigny). The exhibition was held at the Decré department stores. Madame la Maréchale de Lattre de Tassigny came specially from Paris to open the exhibition and thank Jean Bruneau for the tribute paid to her husband on this occasion.

Maréchale de Lattre de Tassigny and J. Bruneau in front of the Marshal's death mask (1963)

Jobic LE BIHAN A dermatologist from Nantes, he published a number of novels that Jean Bruneau illustrated ( The crossroads for teenagers). When he finished his medical studies in 1937, his first locums were in rural villages. In 1959, to promote the region, he organised the IXth Congress of Rural Medicine and asked Bruneau to illustrate the brochure.

Jobic Le Bihan in Jean Bruneau's office at Decré, circa 1956

Jean MAZUET Jean Bruneau: a sculptor from Nantes who taught at the Beaux-Arts, he created, among other things, the statues for the 50 hostages monument on the Pont Morand. As a member of the Nantes festival committee, he asked Jean Bruneau to join him. Bruneau accepted and generally designed the floats for the queens of novelty, and sometimes for the king. He embellished and standardised the tractors that pulled the floats by attaching a trumpet to the bonnet. For years, the floats were preceded by this festive emblem. In the 1960s, he designed the Mi-Carême poster several times. His last designs were produced in 1976 and 78.


Emile MEEUS A doctor from Nantes, he created the "Mai Musical Nantais" in 1952. Every year, spectators attended concerts at the Théâtre Graslin and song recitals in certain cinemas. After meeting Jean Bruneau at Decré, he asked him to illustrate the cover of his programmes and then added theatre to the music. The first play was Péguy's "Jeanne d'Arc", for which Jean Bruneau designed the costumes and sets, and came up with the idea of an open-air performance in the gardens of the Musée Dobrée to take advantage of the real appearance of the existing stone, sand and earth. Madame Péguy attended the performance, which proved to be a great success.

E. Méeus in J. Bruneau's office with journalists in 1958

Jean MILHES  He was in charge of the entire philately-digitizing and collections department at Decré. It was with him that Jean Bruneau produced the masterful 100 Ans d'Histoire and 100 Ans de Sport exhibitions at the Decré shops in 1967. To mark the occasion, a temporary official post office was set up so that anyone wishing to do so could have the various "first-day covers" relating the event, designed by Jean Bruneau, cancelled on the spot.

J. Milhes (right) in 1967 at the 100 Years of Sport exhibition

Jean PAGEOT Jean Bruneau, a specialist in the chronological history of the Vendée wars, associated him with his magnificent book "Vendée Militaire", letting him write the texts that he knew to be historically accurate. Published in 1980 by Editions du Bois des Dons, this luxurious book, which covered the whole of our region, was a great success. What's more, the civilian and military plates, taken separately and framed, made beautiful pictures that adorned many a wall.

J. Pageot (left) and J. Bruneau at the Coiffard bookshop

Vendée militaire book

Paul PLANTIVEAU This horticultural engineer, long-time director of the Nantes Green Spaces Department, was fully involved in everything to do with enhancing a street or a monument in the city with vegetation. In 1984, he helped to promote "Nantes Bouquet d'Outre-Mer" by opening the city's gardens and documents to Jean Bruneau.

Paul Plantiveau

René ROBIN  He entered the Beaux-Arts in 1941 in Jean Mazuet's studio. This discreet man was to blossom with sculpture. In 1943, he created a polychrome wooden statuette of the painter studying at the Beaux-Arts, as well as a portrait on wood of "Bab's", the woman who was to become Jean Bruneau's wife. In 1990, Jean Bruneau and the O.T.S.I. organised an exhibition for him, and Roland Jancel, director of the S.E.V.E. in Nantes, helped him by recreating a plant setting to showcase the works.

The sculptor René Robin and Jean BRUNEAU

Albert SORIN Jean Bruneau, a doctor and radiologist from Nantes, was fascinated by an old 17th-century Vendée legend that was gradually fading from memory and no longer being passed on. He researched the patois texts, translated them and asked Jean Bruneau to illustrate them. The book appeared in 1981 under the title "La Chasse Gallery", published by Pierre Gauthier.

Albert Sorin

Charles VIAUD A former student of the Beaux-Arts in Nantes, he has retained his excellent pencil and brush strokes. A keen sailor, he settled in Concarneau. He immediately called on his friend Jean Bruneau, who convinced the town's elected representatives of the usefulness of this project and designed the various rooms of the museum, which was inaugurated in July 1961.

Charles Viaud with the Mayor of Concarneau at the inauguration of the fishing museum

Armel de WISMES Jean Bruneau, a rigorous and much-appreciated historian from Nantes, asked him to share his book on Jacques Cassard by illustrating his very precise texts on the life of the Nantes privateer. Bruneau produced very detailed drawings, which we discover on each re-reading. The reunion of the two authors is an example of success and honours the great sailor from Nantes. A beautiful full-colour book by Jacques Cassard (Pierre Gauthier éditeur).

J. Bruneau and A. de Wismes in 1977

book Jacques Cassard

His friends, his accomplices

Jean CRUVEILHIER Jean Bruneau: a doctor from Nantes, a close friend, linked to Jean Bruneau by a true and unfailing friendship, which accompanied them throughout their lives. For Jean Bruneau, in addition to being the family doctor, he was often the one with whom we wanted to share the glowing moments, whether professional or friendly, always present in the dark or delicate days, never absent from an official moment of notoriety. A discreet man, it was with him that Bruneau enjoyed opening a good bottle of wine, listening to a piece of music or discussing a good book.

J. Cruveilhier in 1997, and fishing with Bruneau around 1962

Yves JALABER Jean Bruneau: a travelling companion, it was he who drove the 2CV on the roads of Germany, Belgium, Holland and Denmark in the 50s and 60s while Jean Bruneau took notes and drew sketches. It was with him that he often shared the summer rentals, and even if life separated them a little, the moments of reunion were always intense.

Jean Bruneau and Yves Jalaber in 92

Michel Le Gloahec, known as Le Chien

A childhood friend of Jean Bruneau, Michel Le Gloahec shared the adventures of scouting with him, and took part in all the outings and passionate discussions. He also took part in events organised by students at the Beaux-Arts, such as l'échappée, where they all camped for a few days in Champtoceaux, invited by their teacher Paul Deltombe to get away from it all during the war. On 26 March 1941, Michel accompanied Jean Bruneau and Paul Juge on a night out to paint victory Vs on the prefecture. Spotted, they were all arrested (and Jean Bruneau beaten up), but Michel was lucky enough to still be a minor at the time and escaped the court, which fined the other two. Michel became a dental surgeon and godfather to the Bruneau couple's first child.

Jean Bruneau and Michel Le Gloahec

To the whole of this page should be added all those, too numerous to mention, whom Jean Bruneau has met and appreciated over the years.