Bernard Rancillac
(1931 - Paris, France)

Bernard Rancillac was born in 1931 in Paris. He studied at the Atelier Met of Penninghen and became a drawing teacher. In parallel to his work as a teacher, he opened his art studio in Bourg-la-Reine (France) in 1955.

In the 1960s, after having experimented the abstraction, Bernard Rancillac, introduced colour and figuration in his paintings, thus aligning himself with the emerging Narrative Figuration movement. Thanks to his work, he obtained the painting prize at the Paris Biennale in 1961. In 1964, he organized the Mythologies quotidiennes exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art of Paris with Gérard Gassiot-Talabot and Hervé Télémaque, making official his begining in the creation of the Narrative Figuration.

Bernard Rancillac’s paintings combine influences from movies, comics and photography, with formal innovations such as vinylic paint with a glazed finish, Plexiglas, fabric, or the cutting of paintings (Shattered Images). They create a strong impact for the viewer. Politically and socially involved, the artist wishes to transpose the urban reality and the world’s current affairs with a corrosive humor, through his cadenced paintings, with effective figures and bright colors.

Bernard Rancillac declared « I then understood that I was a political animal, not a mundane columnist ! At the root of any artistic creation, there is a need for an emotion. For me, it is often a politically charged emotion, even when I paint Mickey, jazz musicians, cars or movie stars. The journalist and the photograph are more often present during the event, and quicker for communication. The painter, on the other hand, has more time to work, to sink into the flesh of time. That is what we call history. »

Intense, critical, and loaded with emotion, Bernard Rancillac's work is the subject of many international exhibits. This year, The Musée de la Poste is displaying a retrospective of his career at the Niemeyer space in Paris.

Exhibitions selected

Solo exhibitions
2017 - Rancillac, Rétrospective, Musée de la Poste – Niemeyer space, Paris
2016 - La peau du monde, Jean Brolly Gallery, Paris
2015 - Rancillac « Récits », L’Aspirateur, Narbonne
2003 - Rétrospective, Museum of Modern Art, Saint-Etienne
2001 - Morceaux choisis, Sonia Zannattacci Gallery, Geneva
2000 - Rancillac, Palais des Congrès de Paris, Paris
1997 - Jazz, Hervé Lourdel Gallery, Paris
1996 - Extrême Occident, Villa Tamaris Pacha, La Seyne-sur-Mer
1989 - Cinémonde, 1900-2000 Gallery, Paris
1985 - 20 ans de peinture, French Institut of Athens, Athens
1980 - À la mémoire de… , Museum of Modern Art of Paris, Paris
1977 - Les Années Vitamines, Krief, Gallery, Paris
1969 - Pornographie, Daniel Templon, Gallery Paris
1965 - Bernard Rancillac : Série Walt Disney, Mathias Fels Gallery, Paris
1963 - Rancillac, La Roue Gallery, Paris

Group exhibitions

2017 - Ailleurs est ici, École des Filles-Espace d'art, Huelgoat
2008 - Figuration narrative, 1960-1972, Grand Palais, Paris.
2001 - Les Années Pop, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
2000 - La Figuration Narrative, Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland
1999 - Pop Impressions, Museum of Modern Art, New-York
1997 - Pop 60, Cultural Center of Bellem, Portugal
1990 - Nouvelle Figuration, Schwartz Gallery, Los Angeles
1989 - Art en France, National Museum of Taïwan, Taipei
1977 - Mythologies quotidiennes II, Museum of Modern Art of Paris, Paris
1975 - Paris- New-York, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
1968 - Peinture en France 1900- 1967, National Gallery, Londres
1966 - Le Monde en question »,  Museum of Modern Art of Paris, Paris
1964 - Mythologies quotidiennes », Museum of Modern Art of Paris, Paris
1960 - Salon des réalités nouvelles, Paris
1958 - Salon de la Jeune Peinture, Museum of Modern Art of Paris, Paris


Museum of Modern Art of Saint-Etienne, France
National Museum of Modern Art, Centre Georges-Pompidou, Paris
Museum of Modern Art of Paris, Paris
Museum of Modern Art, New-York, Etats-Unis


B. Rancillac, Devenir peintre : journal 1956-1968, Edition Hermann, 2016.
B. Rancillac, Le regard idéologique, Rancillac, Edition d’art Somogy, 2000.
B. Rancillac, Voir et comprendre la peinture, Edition Bordas, 1994.
S. Fauchereau, Bernard Rancillac, Editions du Cercle d'art, 1991.
S. Wilson, Bernard Rancillac, Rétrospective (1962-2002), Editions Fage/ Les presses du réel, 2003.