André Bicât 1909-1996

Born in Essex to French and Anglo-Irish parents, André Bicât was a painter, printmaker and influential teacher.

 

From 1966-74 he worked as a tutor in the Printmaking Departments at the Royal College of Art and the City and Guilds Art School in London, where he was known as an inspiring and committed teacher. Bicât’s attention to the details of his craft and the intensity with which he passed on these skills, helped many younger artists to find their feet. As his fellow artist, Merlyn Evans remarked:

 

‘In neither his painting nor his gravure is there any danger of his being caught up in the trivia of technical virtuosity, the parlour tricks of texture and matiere, pursued as ends in themselves…. Both painting and etching, however abstract, are rooted in things seen and they create their own ambience with rich glowing colour.’

 

Music was a major feature in Bicât's life, and his wife had been a concert pianist. The artist, who would frequently make connections between music and art, tended to listen to music as he worked. His daughter Tina remembers his studio resounding to the music of Béla Bartók.

 

Bicât exhibited widely in the UK and Europe, with one-man exhibitions in London, Paris, Dublin, Reading, Colchester and Swansea. From 1947-85 he lived in a converted barn at Crays Pond, near Reading, before moving to London. His work was regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition and the Redfern, Wildenstein, and the Leger and O'Hana Galleries, London, and he had numerous solo shows at the Leicester Galleries, London (1949-1970) and the Bohun Gallery, Henley (1975-1984).

 

His work has been bought internationally for many private and public collections, including the British Museum, British Council, Arts Council, National Gallery of Wales, Oxford University, Brooklyn Museum, Dallas Museum of Fine Art, and Cleveland Museum, Ohio. Nine of his prints are in the collection of the Tate Gallery and thirty-one are in the Government Art Collection, with the British Council’s example touring as part of the ‘Artists’ Choice’ exhibition, to Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Barbados, Jamaica, Croatia and Albania. Retrospective exhibitions were held at Reading Museum and Art Gallery in 1966, the Attic Gallery, Swansea in 1997 and the Merriscourt Gallery, Sarsden in 1999.