Clovis Trouille was born on 24 October 1889, in La Fère, France. He worked as a restorer and decorator of department store mannequins, but is remembered as a Sunday painter who trained at the École des Beaux-Arts of Amiens from 1905 to 1910.
After his work was seen by Louis Aragon and Salvador Dalí, Trouille was declared a Surrealist by André Breton – a label Trouille accepted only as a way of gaining exposure, not having any real sympathy with the artistic ‘movement’.
The simple style and lurid colouring of Trouille’s paintings echo the lithographic posters used in advertising in the first half of the 20th century. His understandable utter contempt for the Church as an archaic and corrupt institution provided Trouille with the inspiration for decades of work:
Dialogue at the Carmel (1944) shows a skull wearing a crown of thorns being used as an ornament.
The Mummy shows a mummified woman coming to life as a result of a shaft of light falling on a large bust of André Breton.
The Magician (1944) has a self-portrait satisfying a group of swooning women with a wave of his magician’s wand.
My Tomb (1947) shows Trouille’s tomb as a focal point of corruption and depravity in a graveyard.