Michel Nedjar

b. 1947, French

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Michel Nedjar’s acrylic, wax, and oil pastel works on paper feature animals, figures, skulls, and masklike faces reduced to a few elemental, highly textured shapes. He also makes figural sculptures out of cloth and has a long history in fiber-related crafts.

Nedjar grew up in a large Jewish family in Soisy, a suburb of Paris. His father was a tailor. At the age of fourteen, he left school to become an apprentice tailor, qualifying for a fashion diploma four years later. He contracted tuberculosis while serving in the military.

Once he recovered, Nedjar traveled to Morocco, Algeria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Belize, Guatemala, and twice to Mexico, where the dolls sold in markets particularly fascinated him. When he returned to Paris in 1976, Nedjar worked at his grandmother’s stall in a flea market. There he started making dolls and animals out of rags, tree roots, and other found materials. He went on to create papier- mâché figures with glass bottle bases, paintings on everything from canvas to record sleeves, and experimental films. In 1982 he cofounded a museum dedicated to art brut, which is now the L’Aracine collection at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Lille Métropole. Nedjar continues to work in Paris.

Portfolio of Work

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Untitled, n.d.

Acrylic on cardboard pizza box

French

Untitled (gold figure), 1991

Mixed media on paper

French

Untitled, n.d.

Mixed media on paper

rench

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Untitled, n.d.

Acrylic on paper

rench

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Untitled, n.d.

Acrylic on paper

French

Untitled, n.d.

Acrylic on paper

French

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Untitled, n.d.

Acrylic on paper

rench

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Untitled, n.d.

Acrylic on paper

French

Note from Michel Nedjar to Tony Petullo

French

Untitled, n.d.

Acrylic on paper

French

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum

Untitled, n.d.

Acrylic on newspaper

French

Donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum