Sunday, September 2, 2012

Jean Paul 'Pablo' Tillac

Jean Paul, often called 'Pablo', Tillac, was born in 1880 in Angoulême and  died in 1969 in Bayonne (Pyrénées-Atlantiques).

Tillac was a French Basque painter, printmaker, sculptor and illustrator who lived and worked mainly in the Basque Country.
 Tillac took classes at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he had  Gerome , Cormon , Jacquet, Waltner and Roty as teachers.
From 1903 to 1910 he lived in New York and after that in Cuba . He taught drawing in  Texas, went to England and returned to Europe in 1911, settling permanently in Cambo-les-Bains in 1919.
Tillac was passionate about the Iberian world, to the point of adopting the name Pablo, but also to the Greek and Latin culture. His erudition is vast, in addition to French and Basque, he spoke Arabic, Greek, English, Hebrew and Castilian.
He worked in a large variety of techniques: oil, watercolor, charcoal, pastel, chalk, graphite, printmaking, sculpting. His subjects are scenes of life, human behaviour, the Basque Country in all its aspects, sites, monuments, markets, and similar. His works have big ethnographic value (and depict many, many berets!).
Moreover, he wrote articles and gave ethnographic lectures. He illustrated many books, including Legends of the Basque Country according to the tradition of Father Jean Barbier (1930).
Much of his work during his lifetime joined the Basque Museum of Bayonne . Another part, after his death, returned to Cambo.


  1. Please find hereby the link to the french Editions Atlantica, a book has been printed in his honour :

  2. Hi - Would you know details of the first profile image - I came across a painting of the same face in a country market in central France - and your image matches it closely. Any connections to identify the year etc and where that sculpture is located would be great! Regarsd

    1. Hi Peter,
      I am sorry, but no more details available than the artist's name... However, during the middle of last century images of country folk (typically wearing a beret) were very popular in France, often depicted on wooden tableaus, plates or on table-gongs. Some of the gongs look actually remarkably similar to Tillac's work.