Jean Daligault, a detained artist

Jean Daligault, a detained artist

  • Detained in Hinzert.

    DALIGAULT Jean (1899 - 1945)

  • The flight from the baton.

    DALIGAULT Jean (1899 - 1945)

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Title: Detained in Hinzert.

Author : DALIGAULT Jean (1899 - 1945)

Creation date : 1942

Date shown: 1942

Dimensions: Height 8.5 - Width 5.6

Technique and other indications: Newsprint, oil painting

Storage place: Museum of Resistance and Deportation website

Contact copyright: © Center Pompidou Collection, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Philippe Migeat

Picture reference: 07-521366 / AM1728D (10)

© Center Pompidou Collection, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Philippe Migeat

To close

Title: The flight from the baton.

Author : DALIGAULT Jean (1899 - 1945)

Creation date : 1942

Date shown: 1942

Dimensions: Height 10.5 - Width 9

Technique and other indications: Oil on paper, newspaper

Storage place: Museum of Resistance and Deportation website

Contact copyright: © Center Pompidou Collection, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Philippe Migeat

Picture reference: 07-521364 / AM1728D (8)

The flight from the baton.

© Center Pompidou Collection, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Philippe Migeat

Publication date: February 2012

Historical context

The Resistance, from weapons to drawing

Born in Caen in 1899, Jean Daligault took orders in 1917 and was ordained a priest in 1924. Also a painter and engraver, he joined the Resistance in 1940, working for the Caen branch of the “Volunteer Army” network. After other stays in various German prisons, he was assassinated in Dachau on April 28, 1945, the day before the camp was liberated.

In his cell in Trèves, Daligault painted, with the few means at his disposal, various subjects and his memories of Hinzert. For the colors, he obtains warm hues with rust, white with soap, green and black with paint scraped off the walls then reduced to powder and diluted in soup.

Preserved by Father Jonas, chaplain of the prison of Trier, an important part of his work constitutes an exceptional historical, artistic and human testimony. Among these images are the two paintings Detained at Hinzert and Escape from the baton, both carried out at the Hinzert camp in 1943.

Image Analysis

Portraits of prisoners

Carried out in oil paints on newspaper, these two works show similarities due to the lack of color (in variety and quantity) and to the nature of the medium.

Detained at Hinzert is a bust portrait of an internment companion, recognizable by his clothes and cap. All in lines and edges, the emaciated face draws a triangle from which protruding ears emerge. The inmate stares at the viewer with painful intensity, and his eyes here are reduced to almost bottomless shadows.

More allegorical and less figurative, Escape from the baton shows the confused and rushed race of a group of inmates trying to escape the baton wielded by a guard barely visible to the right. A few more or less dark obliques are enough for Daligault to indicate the thinness of the bodies, the terror which the weapon inspires in these men.

Interpretation

Detainees in Hinzert: sketches and shadows

Detained at Hinzert and Escape from the baton First, give a testimony on the living conditions reserved for detainees in the camps. But these paintings also have a strong aesthetic, spiritual and symbolic value: through the representation of bodies, they question the soul, nothingness, death, evil and survival. Finally and as in other cases, artistic creation in captivity is also a means for the author to preserve spaces of individual freedom.

So, Escape from the baton where the bodies almost seem to have to decompose, to break, to dislocate in the panic of the flight. The confusion of the busts gives the impression of an indistinct mass in which souls and individuals disappear. However, in the very depths of this annihilation, the will to escape blows still evokes life, while the melee of bodies, also coming together, sends back to the thoughtless and instinctive solidarity of a survival reflex.

A worthy and whole individuality, a soul that expresses the reverse Detained at Hinzert. Here, the prisoner's gaze evokes darkness and death, plunging the viewer into the shadow of his eyes. This almost metaphysical experience of the anguished questioning of nothingness is coupled with that of cruelty and evil (which are also in this bottomless darkness) since the face also expresses a certain accusatory anger.

  • Concentration camp
  • deportation
  • Resistance
  • War of 39-45
  • engaged art

Bibliography

Centenary of the birth of Jean Daligault, 1899-1945, Department of Archives du Calvados, Caen, 1999 DE LA MARTINIERE, Joseph, My testimony as deportee N.N., volume II: Hinzert, Paris, FNDIRP, 1989.DORRIERE, Christian, Cinq Years of Hell and Fifty of Purgatory, Volume I: Jean Daligault, a page of the resistance in Caen, Caen, 1995.DORRIERE, Christian, Abbot Jean Daligault - A painter in the death camps, Le Cerf, “Epiphanie Collection”, 2001.Jean Daligault Paintings and Sculptures, introduction by Madame Lorach, Museum of the Resistance and Deportation of Besançon, editions de la Martinière, Paris, 1996.

To cite this article

Alexandre SUMPF, "Jean Daligault, a detained artist"


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