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Georges Villa

Georges Villa, 1883-1965, son of a general, was a prolific painter, engraver, lithographer and illustrator of political and sports themes for some of the most prominent newspapers and magazines of his time: Artes et Sports, l’ Assiette au Beurre,  Comedia Illustre, etc. He was also a well-known portrait artist whose subjects included aviation, fencing, gastronomy and aristocratic ladies of the 18th century. Between 1944 and 1946 he did illustrations of Montmartre songs including “Avec les lorettes, Mimi Pinson et Pierrot.”  

Many of Villa’s outstanding illustrations can be found in limited edition collectors’ books, including 12 erotic lithographs to accompany the poetry of Edmond Haraucourt, Poemes hysteriques, an eroticized parody of the poems of Victor Hugo. Georges Villa cut his own copper and stone plates for his engravings. 

He illustrated 26 menus between 1925 and 1964 and painted a “masterpiece” Pierrot postcard for Wague in 1930. He was a member of Les Humoristes as well as a Knight of the Legion of Honor. In 1929, Georges Villa and Roger Braun started the Bibliophiles of Cornet, an appendage of the Cornet Society. Villa remained a Cornet Society member until his death. 

In an interview in 2001, Nicole Sebline, Georges Villa’s daughter who is now in her 80s, described her father as a passionate man devoted to art and to friends of the arts. She further expounded by affectionately sharing a memory from her childhood that was indicative of his character. One snowy and cold winter day a Cornet artist, apparently down on his luck, visited her father on foot, wearing a thin jacket. When the visit ended and the anonymous gentleman said his farewells, Villa convinced him to accept a winter coat. Both men were warmed: one in body and both in spirit.

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Written by Jason Smith
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