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back to summary of biography                         War and after-war days 1939 - 1948


Those war days broke up this happy existence. Having to leave everything overnight, Raphael Pricert first takes refuge in the South of France, where he was later joined by his wife and daughter, Liliane, born in May 1942. He continues to travel around on the Côte d’Azur in search of landscapes and characters, and paints portraits.

1943 : Having escaped the Gestapo by miracle, he manages to find paints and canvases to continue his drawing and painting, travelling around the region, painting numerous landscapes, modest homes and portraits of humble and picturesque people.

1944-1946 : shortly after the Liberation, he exhibits his paintings in Vixouze, Polminhac, Vic-sur-Cère and Aurillac – sponsored by the National Intellectual Committee. Inspite of the difficulties and shortages of those times, he gains a reputation in this beautiful region of France. Well-to-do and even more modest people want to buy his works.

From September 21st to October 5, 1946 the Gallery Giraudo on Avenue de l’Opera in Paris puts on an exhibition of his Auvergne paintings. This exhibition was a success and it was warmly praised in the art press.

He reappears in the Salon des Tuileries in 1946 with two of his Auvergne paintings : the ‘Auvergne tramp’ and the ‘Old Salers’, and he later exhibits several canvases and watercolors at the Hotel de Bordeaux in Aurillac from December 17 to December 30, 1946.

This latter exhibition proves very successful, very warmly prefaced by Raymond Cortat, a leading personality in the Cantal region.

As a result of this tremendous success, Raphael Pricert decides to dedicate himself full-time to his artistic creation, and stops his work for Mr. Faivret’s advertising agency.

At this time, he must rebuild everything in his life. He discovers that his appartment on Rue Besnard is occupied by a war-widow. All his paintings have disappeared. He is told that the German soldiers had to get the paintings out of the window as they were so large that they did not fit in the lift before being taken away by lorry !

Given the situation, his landlord offers him an artist studio on the outskirts of Paris in Issy les Moulineaux. This is a large apartment on the 8th and 9th floor of a 1936 building, previously occupied by the Milicia, this  penthouse is painted in red and still displays the pictures of Hitler and Mussolini. Once cleaned out, this flat became his working studio.

He did not find out what happened to his many paintings which had disappeared. However two years later, it was one of them which caused him to find again one of his cousins who had settled down in New York some 30 years ago, and this is how he exhibited for the first time in the USA.

In May 1947, Raphael Pricert and his wife acquire French nationality. He returns to the Auvergne and exhibits his Auvergne works at the Galerie de la Cité in May 1947, at the Chamber of Commerce of Aurillac in February 1949, at the third Salon des Beaux Arts et lettres of the Massif Central region, and on the Faubourg Saint Honoré in Paris from February 25 to March 15, 1950.

From 1947 he is insearch of new inspiration : in Belgium at a joint exhibition, in the summer on the Côte d’Azur and in Corsica, in Italy, in Venice, Florence and Rome to which he returned frequently as of 1948, and of course always Paris.

From end 1947 to January 3, 1948, he puts on a exhibition in Paris, rue La Boetie at the Gallery Cambaceres, where he shows his paintings of Bruges and Corsica.

In 1948, his cousin Irving, long lost since the First World War, and who since then settled in New York, comes to hear about him. An American journalist contacted him to find out if he knew of a certain Raphael Pricert, the painter of a painting he purchased in Berlin, and at the back of which was the address of rue Besnard in Paris. Irving came over to Paris to find his cousin, and this is how he was introduced to a Gallery in New York « the Associated American Artists ».

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