Augustin Lesage

Augustin Lesage, “The Mysteries of Ancient Egypt”, Date Unknown

In 1911, when he was 35 years old, Augustin Lesage claimed he heard a voice speak to him from the darkness of the mine and tell him, “One day you will be a painter”. The only contact Lesage had had with the arts at that point in his life was a visit to the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille museum in Lille during his military service.

The voice experience prompted him to explore communication with what he believed was the spirit world, and within a year of his first experience, Lesage was hearing more voices, this time specifically giving him instructions. The voice told him what to paint, what art supplies to buy and where to find them. It was his belief that the voice speaking to him was the spirit of his little sister who had died at the age of three.

On purchasing his first canvas, Lesage mistakenly bought one ten times as large as he had intended. His spirit guides instructed him not to be daunted, but to begin painting. Large canvasses became his chosen format. He went on to develop a unique, highly symmetrical style, drafting detailed patterns and monolithic constructions reminiscent of Egyptian and Oriental architectural forms. He is considered an outsider artist of the Art Brut (”raw art”).

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