in the Netherlands for his whole childhood and teenage years. During this
period, his passion already being drawing and painting, he studied on his
own and became inbued with the Dutch painting school. With his mother, a
genuine accomplice, they settled in Nice, France.
Nice, he registered at the Art school in which he was taught by Auguste
Clément Joseph Herst. He therefore received a classical teaching, from
learning how to draw to learning how to paint. A skilled pupil to say the
least, he got his first order at the age of sixteen and he was entrusted
the mural decoration of the great theatre of Geneva.
up in Lyons
settled in Lyons around 1900, at n° 44 rue Raulin, but at twenty one years
old, he had to provide for his needs and live in this brand new city for
him. He got a job at Delaye et Hermelé, a photo-chromo-engraving firm in
Lyons where he retouched photographs.
Then he moved at Arnaud’s “and we remember the success
of this firm the day when the whole range of the Bénédictine menus
throughout the world were published thanks to Villon’s talent, who created
and signed them”.
On October 31st 1914, he married Clotilde Muller in the
2nd district of Lyons. She was a young lady from Swezerland, widow of a
former marriage who had earlier given him a daughter called Marthe, born
on June 21st 1899 in Caluire et Cuire.
his studio n° 50 rue de la République, in the heart of the “presqu’île”,
he had up to about eighty students. Among them were Yvonne Récamier, Louis
Rosa, Georges Combet, Anthelme Bergeron, Hubert Gaillard and his own
daughter Marthe Chambard-Villon. There were many more, famous or unknown.
This studio was opened from 1910 to 1920.
at the Fine Arts Society of Lyons (S. L. B. A.)
exhibited for the first time at the SLBA show in 1898 and then
each year till his death. He paid his subscription as an associate member
from 1905 to 1951.
The exhibition of his works at the
different shows didn’t prevent Villon from accepting his responsibilities.
His good name and his talent were recognized.
From 1913 to 1945 he was a member of
In 1926 he entered the SLBA managing
committee and he kept this job until his death.
From 1939 to 1944 he was vice –
president. We have to point out that despite numerous solicitations,
he always refused to be president of the show, in order to be free for his
art and his students.
1927, Villon found his first job again, the engraving, a technique he
employed at Hemerlé. He realized a great number of etchings, in addition
to his paintings.
As an illustrator, he
realised some engravings which were published in a 1933 edition of the
famous book from Lyons “Calixte or introduction to life in Lyons”
(Calixte ou introduction à la vie Lyonnaise).
the example of many artists from Lyons, and as something that must be
accomplished in an artistic career, Villon left for Paris. He exhibited
for the first time at the Grand Palais in 1907 for the French Artists
Society show. Three years later, he became associate member of this
Villon was made Chevalier
of the Legion of Honour in August 1937. This decoration was given to
him by President Albert Lebrun. The critics praised his talent and J.
Etievant wrote as early as 1914 “I don’t think that any artist could
be at this point as close as he is from absolute mastery and perfection.”
of the Lyons Society of Watercolour Painters
human qualities earned Villon reliable and precious relations which he
succeeded in protecting thanks to his sense of loyalty. Among the artists
he frequently saw, some became allied to him and supported him for the
creation of his main work : the founding with Antoine Barbier of
the Society of
Watercolour Painters from Lyons in 1934. On December 16th
1934, at the Pouillé-Lecoultre Gallery, the brand new society proudly
presented its members’ works for the first time to the public from Lyons.
It’s for the sake of this science of the drawing and the technical and
emotional qualities required by watercolours that these two artists wanted
to gather a group of painters only specialized in watercolours.
end of a carreer
died on November 7th 1951, in his house rue Terrasse, of
an embolism due to cancer. His sudden death came at the height of his
fame. He left behind his society and the tradition maintained by his
daughter, Mrs Chambard Villon, heir of a regional technique and memory.