‘Be a painter if that’s what you want…’


Young Robert Micheau copying the masters at the Brest Museum of Fine Arts
Robert Micheau was born in Brest in Brittany on October 16th 1907. He went to school in the same city, completing his secondary studies at the Collège St-Louis and being awarded his final Baccalaureate in 1928. He then went to the Brest School of Fine Arts where he attended night classes under the direction of the painters Paul Léonard and Charles Lautrou.
His father, a Naval officer, wanted him to go to Naval school but his son steadfastly refused. Unable to change his mind, his father finally told him: “Be a painter if that’s what you want, but you’ll have to make your own way!”
The young artist then began his training, earning a medal from the Nantes School of Fine Arts (October 1928/June 1930) as a student of the painter Emile Simon.
He then went on to Paris, to the National Higher School of Fine Arts and the studio of the master, Lucien Simon. He also worked at the AcadĂ©mie de la Grande Chaumière and frequented Maurice Denis’ sacred art workshop.

Robert Micheau in 1932

The consequences of the 1929 crash convinced him to make sure of a regular income by earning a teaching degree. He taught drawing in secondary schools in Brest, Bastia, La Roche-sur-Yon, Quimper, Brest again, ParignĂ© le Polin during the war, Lannion, Grasse, Pont l’AbbĂ© and Quimper once more.

itineraire_ecole_ba While pursuing his teaching career, he never ceased painting, though he rarely exhibited in galleries or shows.
Extremely knowledgeable about art history and pictorial techniques, he gave several conferences on the great Masters.

Paris National Higher School of Fine Arts – Lucien Simon and his students. Standing to the rear left in a white smock : Robert Micheau

In December 1932, Robert Micheau married Lysa-Mina Vernez, a medal-holding graduate of the Nantes School of Fine Arts. From this date, he always signed his work with the name Micheau-Vernez. Three children were born to the couple.

When he retired from teaching, Micheau-Vernez first settled in Grasse, then Cannes. In 1985, he returned to Brittany, moving to Le Croisic where he died on June 8th 1989. He now rests in his boyhood home, the Recouvrance quarter of Brest. itineraire_professeur

The professeur with his pupils in Grasse – 1951