The art of Gilles Rimbault


The relaxing of constraints in the 1960s produced a breed of artist which hardly seems to exist any more, invariably male and equally at home illustrating generic fantasy as producing delicately-rendered and frequently weird erotica. French artist Gilles Rimbault is one such, as was British underground artist Jim Leon, and another Frenchman, Raymond Bertrand. Unlike Leon and Bertrand, Rimbault’s work and information about the artist is frustratingly scarce. The first examples here are from covers of French science fiction magazines—also a source of work for Bertrand—while the samples below are a pair of intriguingly androgynous pieces of erotica from this page which gathers a number of similar Hans Bellmer-like works. If anyone turns up more of Rimbault’s drawings, please leave a comment.






Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The fantastic art archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
The art of Jim Leon, 1938–2002
The art of Sibylle Ruppert
The art of Bertrand

9 thoughts on “The art of Gilles Rimbault”

  1. I just encountered Rimbault’s work on Thursday at the World Erotic Art Museum (Miami. South Beach. Of course.) I see some A. O. Spare influence; do you?

  2. Wow, never heard of this guy before. Will definitely be seeking his work out. Thanks for posting!

  3. Evan: What a strange coincidence. I don’t know who would have seen Spare’s work in the 1960s outside occultists and rare book collectors, his reputation didn’t start to rise until Kenneth Grant began to use his pictures in his own books and in Man, Myth & Magic magazine in the 1970s. I have a big French book of occult images from 1964 which features all the things you’d expect but no Spare.

    I should have mentioned that there has been at least one book of Rimbault’s work. I think I may have to track down a copy.

  4. This is funny.

    I’m a long time reader and I wrote half an email prior to this post with the question if you had any knowledge of this artist or “Studio 69” in Cologne.
    So this is a pleasant surprise!

    From what I understand, Gilles Rimbault was active at ‘Studio 69’ in Cologne from at least ’69 til ’71 and associated with Galerie Satyra.
    Then at earliest (with the exception of some book and magazine illustrations) his name pops up again in Paris ’76 with Gabrielle Wittkop as a cover artist for her book “Les Holocaustes” and Wittkop herself being an enthusiast of his work.

    Also in ’76 he has his work exhibited at Galerie Alain Schoffel which produced a catalog with what I suspect is the biggest amount of his work featured and I assume focuses on his paintings (airbrush?).
    Gabrielle Wittkop writes two texts for this:

    There is also the book “La nuit de Walpurgis” by Gustav Meyrink which he illustrated:

    The book “Le sexe de la femme” by Gérard Zwang (La Jeune Parque 1967) has one image:

    It’s becoming an obsessive search, but expect more info and images to follow.

  5. Just a side note : theres a psych/freakbeat song by the British group Bulldog Breed on their self titled 1969 album called “Austin Osman Spare”:

    Ive always assumed they thought of this after reading Man Myth and Magic, but since that wasnt published until 1970, perhaps not……

    Rimbaults drawings remind me somewhat of Rosaleen Norton and the prison art of Bobby Beausoleil (but infinitly more sophisticated)

  6. Drtenge: Many thanks for the links. I wonder whether he illustrated the whole of the Meyrink volume?

    LCP: I’d not heard about that psych single before, that’s rather fascinating. Spare’s peak of popularity while alive was his youth circa 1910–20. After that he retreated into poverty and his own obsessions until being discovered by the Grants at the end of his life in the 1950s. Prior to MMM and Grant’s own The Magical Revival in 1973 he seems unknown and unmentioned outside small press occult works. It’s possible that Grant might have got him mentioned in other books before MMM appeared although I wouldn’t know where. Alternatively, works by Beardsley, Harry Clarke, Ricketts and others were being produced as posters at that time so some of Spare’s pictures may have been featured among these. I’ve never seen any however, and don’t recall seeing him mentioned in any of the underground mags either.

    Rosaleen Norton is another fascinating character, I wish there was more work of hers to see online.

  7. I have discovered Gilles RImbault’s work through Gabrielle Wittkop’s books. They were firends at a point and you can tell she was inspired by his work for some of her own drawings.
    I know he still lives in Paris but I don’t think he participates to any exhibition anymore.
    I am going to Miami this November and I will go to the Erotic Art Museum to see what pieces they have there. Thank you for the information.
    It is difficult to see his drawings appart from catalogues or copies and they are so much more impressive in real.

  8. Mickael,

    The Erotic Art Museum is definitely worth a look, but as I recall there was only one of his pieces there.

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