Yan' Dargent ( - )

Yan' Dargent

Jean-Edouard Dargent, known as Yan' Dargent, was born in 1824 in Saint-Servais. His mother died when he was only two years old. His father had to leave the village, leaving little Yann with his grandparents who raised him. In 1840, Yan was hired by the railway company to survey the land. As he was very good at drawing, he quickly rose in rank and became a public works engineer.

In Troyes, he met Mr Schitz, a drawing teacher; this meeting marked a turning point in his life: it was certainly Mr Schitz who pushed Yan' to make a living from his art.

In 1850, his company offered him a new job in Spain, which he refused, and he settled in Paris, where he tried to live from his painting. At the same time he became the father of a son, Ernest, given to him by Aimée Crignou. From 1850 to 1861 he worked tirelessly, exhibiting one or two paintings each year at the Paris Salon, where he distinguished himself. During these eleven years, he lost the mother of his son, whom he adopted and with whom he strengthened his ties.

Then in 1861 he became famous: Théophile Gautier noticed his painting: "Les lavandières de la nuit". He wrote a glowing article about it and immediately a crowd of journalists rushed to interview the artist! In the end, it was in book illustration that Yan' Dargent found a saving grace, as he was no longer able to sell his paintings. From 1869 to 1878, he was commissioned by the clergy to decorate several churches in Brittany. He is the artist who best loved, best understood and best translated Brittany. His work is filled with a very particular poetry.

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