Neuilly 1937 – PARIS 2007
École Boulle. François Chapelain-Midy, son of the painter Roger Chapelain-Midy, created a taxidermy business in the 6th arrondissment in Paris, working there until 1973. He studied a range of crafts learning the techniques of restoration, and creating pedestals and bases for minerals as well as Primitive Art. Metal working: lathe spinning, forge brazing, lathe stone cutting. Decorator and sculptor for the Parc Océanique Cousteau, he also designed and realised the Aquarium de la cité des Sciences at la Villette. «To be an artist is to be useful»; in 1993, his sculptures bore witness to his complete commitment to the ecology movement. « Stop ou Encore » 1993 – shown at the COP 21 in Paris.
Fascinated since childhood by the beauty of nature and the animal world, his bestiary was mainly composed of bronze insects, carved and patinated in a range of colours from browns to greens. Already very sensitive to environmental issues, the artist’s choice to focus on insects rapidly led him to study the environment, man’s place in nature and on the planet. The plastic form of insects and their mysterious nature, inspired him to explore their structure. His eye captured beauty only where there was a form of life. Each sculpture is the hero of some story, and the sculptor murmurs the moral of the story « Man believes he is a superior being, he must be put in his place ».
François CHAPELAIN-MIDY lived in the Oise region from 1993 in a landscape set in the Vallée de l’Automne which he had always loved and protected, and which was the ideal inspiration for his creations.
Trained in various sculptural techniques, and always sensitive to the problems of man in the environment and the impact on nature, François Chapelain-Midy, focused his considerable talent on animal sculpture and more particularly, on insects, their plastic form and the mysteries conducive to creation…
“ …I am fascinated by the insect world. Even as a child…I always found them beautiful even when others found them ugly. For me, an ugly animal did not exist.
I am always amazed when I watch them, and with my interpretation of their forms, their carapaces and their colours, I hope to expand the vision we normally have of these « little creatures », too often disliked, yet so essential to our lives.”
“The sculptor François Chapelain-Midy focused on a subject that identified his life’s work: the world of insects, which he portrayed faithfully and with sensitivity; this talent placed him in the Pantheon of animal sculptors alongside Barye and Pompon… His perspicacity as a sculptor was combined with his precision as a scientist, united in the same sense of wonder for a part of the poetry that is torn away from nature. His stylised form betrayed none of the authenticity. The attention that ChapelainMidy paid to the burnished brown, green and black patina on his work, conceals the almost mineral-like hardness of backs and abdomens, giving them a jewel-like quality.”
Lydia Harambourg -La Gazette de l’Hôtels Drouot
2016 – Musée de Zoologie de Lausanne, June14 to August 15, “Carapaces et sortileges”.
Jardin exotique de Monaco, March 16, to May 31,“Insectomania”.
2015 – Cop 21, Le Bourget – Paris
2014 – Musée Brayer, Baux-de-Provence, “L’Art Animalier de Barye à César”.
2013 – Orangerie du Sénat – Paris, “Les Bronzes de François Chapelain-Midy”.
2012 – Grand Palais, Galeries Nationales Paris, “Beauté Animale”.
2011 – Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle du Havre “Pas Vu – Pas Pris”.
2010 – Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle d’Orléans “Naturalia”
2009 – Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle de Bordeaux. Exposition au Nouveau Jardin Botanique
2007 – Musée Labenche, Brive-la-Gaillarde, “Hommage à Pierre André Latreille Prince de l’Entomologie”.
2006 – Exhibition at the Fondation Taylor in Paris.
2004 – Prix Taylor.
2003 – Prix Sandoz, Salon National des Artistes Animaliers de Bry-sur-Marne.
Exhibition at the Conseil Général des Bouches du Rhone, “7 Lieux – 7 Matières”.
2002 – Exhibition at the Donjon de Vez “Animal Fantastique”.
Salon National des Beaux-Arts de Paris : Rumsay prize.
2001 – Salon National des Artistes Animaliers de Bry-sur-Marne, Henri Mori prize, 2001.
1990 – Exhibition at the Hôtel de la Monnaie in Paris, “Les Sculpteurs et l’Animal dans l’Art du XXe siècle”.
Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris.