Louis-Joseph Soulas

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A newly arrived book contains selections of the work of a little-known French engraver  named Louis-Joseph Soulas (1905-1954): Soulas by Christiane Noireau (C201.b.8053).

He was born in Orléans and died in Paris. The book provides an excellent overview of the impressive range of his subjects. Ranging from a series depicting the ruins of Orléans (1942-1947) to a very human series of prisoners of war (1942), his work also encompasses bucolic scenes of country life, along with some dark and foreboding engravings dating from the war years.

The Orléans municipal archives provide a good biography and overview of his professional career.

Soulas is not terribly well-known: this is the first book in the University Library about him (indeed, we needed to add his name to the list maintained by the Library of Congress for the benefit of libraries worldwide), while a number of his works are available to view online (not least at his ‘official’ website, maintained by André and Marine Soulas), and the BNF lists only two catalogues of exhibitions of his (one from 2009, and another from 1958). Most of the 85 works listed at the BNF are prints of his in their collections, including one ‘printed on the occasion of the marriage of his daughter’. The publisher’s summary states that this is the first book written on this artist.

A number of his engravings are reminiscent of those contained in the Literature of the Liberation Collection. For instance, he had a series of scenes of life inside concentration camps, such as the following accordion player in Theresienstadt, and bootmaker prisoner:

However, his engravings also included many more bucolic scenes (such as these French landscapes, available on the website mentioned above), which makes this book a real pleasure to examine.

Josh Hutchinson

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