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Augustin Lesage

September 14, 2010

Little Debbie by Herbert Freeman

Augustin Lesage (1876-1954) was from Auchel in France where he worked as a coal miner beginning at age 14.  At the age of 35 he heard a voice while in the mines telling him that he was to be a painter.  A year later Lesage becomes involved with a circle of friends who are exploring the claims of spiritualism, a religious movement that had begun in the United States and was winning supporters in Europe.  Through automatic handwriting Lesage receives a message from the spirits that the voice he heard in the mine was real and that he must paint.

He buys paint and brushes and orders what he believes to be a small canvas.  What arrives is a canvas that is three meters long.  The spirits tell him that he must not cut the canvas but paint the whole thing.  Over the next two years Lesage works on the painting after returning from long hours working in the coal mine.

Lesage begins to practice healing with the help of the spirits and is prosecuted by the authorities for practicing medicine illegally but is acquitted.  The following year he is deployed as a soldier in WW I.  After the war Lesage returns to work in the mines and paints everyday after work.  He develops a style of bilateral symmetry where the left side of the painting mirrors the right side.  He claims that his painting is directed by the spirits and that he acts as a medium for their expression.

In 1923 Jean Meyer the publisher of the spiritualist journal La Revue Spirite becomes Lesage’s patron and he is able to quit working in the coal mine and devote himself to his painting.  Lesage completed over 800 works in his career.

The First Painting

One Comment leave one →
  1. mihaela permalink
    January 15, 2012 4:44 pm

    strange and beautiful!

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