Jean Eve was born into a working-class family. Entering the Colonial School of Le Havre in 1918, he became involved in the colonial troop called Spahis and drew watercolours during his travels. Returning to Douai, he enlisted in the railways and then worked in a foundry workshop. Leaving painting , it was then that he had the revelation at the Petit Palais during the Gustave Courbet exhibition. But having a dependent family, he is only allowed to paint on Sundays.
In 1929, Jean Eve met Moses Kisling, who brought him closer to the editor of L’Art Vivant, who decided to organize a support committee for him to devote himself only to painting, which allowed him to quickly exhibit at the Salon des Indépendants. At the invitation of Henri Bing and Maximilien Gauthier, he participated in the exhibition “The Popular Masters of Reality” in 1936. This was the beginning of the fame for Jean Eve.
He then exhibited in New York and Switzerland and received the rank of Knight of the Legion of Honour and Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.
Jean Eve’s painting is characterized by its sincerity and simplicity. As Maximilian Gauthier said, “he painted what he saw, simply, with all his heart.”
“My real workshop is nature” Jean Eve
This self portrait is somewhat reminiscent of Lucien Freud’s earlier work currently on display at the Royal Academy. Eve’s work is on display in the Musee Maliol in Paris.