Born in 1900, in Rouen (France), René Crevel was an important figure of his times. He led an eventful life, being a painter, designer, decorative artist and a writer. Crevel studied English at the University of Paris. He is commonly recognized as one of the representatives of the surrealistic movement, which he joined in 1921. That time he also met André Breton.
René Crevel had diverse talents. Besides being a member of the Societe des Artistes-Decorateurs, he designed carpets, ceramics and jewelry as well. His artistic debut with portrait and landscape paintings was in 1920 at the Salon d’Automne. Crevel worked for several manufacturers, for instance Manufacture Francaise de Tapis et de Couvertures, Grands Magasins a la Place Clichy and Coupe a Bourganeouf.
In 1925, René Crevel began decorating for the Sèvres firm, together with other prominent designers and artists, including Félix Aublet, Anne Marie Fontaine, Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann, and Henri Rapin. They used bold shapes and decorative schemes as they were supposed to create a modern vision of the firm. His cooperation with Paul Follot is also worth mentioning. They designed the modernist tapestries for the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Moderne in Paris.
In Crevel’s works we can notice various influences. He was highly inspired by the painters associated with Fauvism – a group of modern artists, whose style was characterized by strong color and wild brush.
Crevel’s childhood reverberated through his short life. Not only did his father commit suicide, but his whole upbringing was generally rather traumatic. Moreover, he suffered from ill health, and in 1926 he was diagnosed with tuberculosis.
As he died at the age of 35, what he left behind is not so ample in numbers, nonetheless very impressive as far as the quality and skills are concerned. Today, we can still explore his style in the domains of tapestry design, ceramics and literature.