The Musée d’Art Moderne in Le Havre’s centenary exhibition of Reynold Arnould brings together a large collection of the artist’s work from his prodigious early portraits to the avant-garde post-war dynamist works, alongside archival material relating to his curatorial activity re-establishing the museum after he war, and in later life at the Grand Palais in Paris.
Born in Le Havre in 1919, Arnould’s family settled in Rouen in 1925, where he quickly developed into a young prodigy of painting. He trained at l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Rouen under the guidance of Jacques-Emile Blanche and at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris. He was awarded the second Grand Prix of Rome in 1938, and the first Grand Prix of Rome in 1939. In 1945, he married Marthe Bourhis and embarked for the first time on a journey to the United States until 1946. After returning to Paris in 1947, he joined the Puteaux artist group around Jacques Villon and Frantisek Kupka with the support from the collector Camille Renault. In 1950, Reynold and Marthe Arnould moved to Waco, Texas, where he lectured in Fine Art at the University, following which in 1952 he was commissioned to help re-construct the art museum in Le Havre to which he committed himself with great ambition in accord with the goals of the radical culture minister André Malraux, subsequently leading to his appointment as curator of the Grand Palais in Paris in later life. He continued to paint during the 1950’s and undertook his most acclaimed “dynamist” series inspired by the rapid expansion of post-war industry, which was exhibited in a ground breaking exhibition “Forces et Rythmes de l’Industrie” at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 1959.