Born in Pairs, Robert Chailloux’s artistic talent was evident from a young age. He attended the Ecole Speciale de Dessin d’Boulevard Belleville in Paris, and then the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs. In his early career Chailloux painted wonderful pastel and gouache en plein air studies of a variety of French fishing ports, but sadly he developed a very bad curvature of his spine which restricted his mobility and eventually confined him to his studio. In his later life, Chailloux would never part with these en plein air works for he enjoyed the memories they bought back.
Chailloux’s desire to paint was so deeply entrenched that he switched to painting still lifes, for which he won many major awards. In 1940, Chailloux became a member of the Salon des Artistes Français,and began exhibiting regularly. The recognition his work received, allowed him the opportunity to enter the Salon de la Nationale Exposition of 1943. In 1945, he exhibited at the Salon de Independence and became a member of the Salon de la Marine where he was invited to show his collection of nautical still life’s and marine compositions from the early part of his career.
All the charm of pastoral France was softly and timelessly captured within Chailloux’s paintings. He delighted in collecting French provincial pottery and his studio was filled with the finest examples. This provided limitless opportunities for their use in his compositions. He labeled each vase or pot meticulously and stored them all in an extremely large cabinet beside his easel. The charmingly depicted rustic fruits captured within his paintings and his beautiful floral subjects were often taken directly from his gardens or carefully selected from the local market. Chailloux always captured the essence of nature and followed the seasons diligently. His compositions display a poetic softness, blending muted colours with bursts of intense pigment. He strived to create truth to nature and artistic perfection on his canvases, leaving a lasting legacy we all continue to enjoy.
Chailloux’s studio was an Aladdin’s cave of treasures, priceless for the passion and history of each object, from a piece of lace, to a doll made by his wife, they were all captured on canvas at one point or another in his pictures. Chailloux’s garden was always buzzing and alive with insects and birdsong, in no small part due to the plants he grew from seed. Amongst these was the fascinating honesty plant with its amazing transparent seed pods, resembling silver coins, hence the French name of “Monnaie du Pape.” The paintings in which it features are an especial treasure.
Herbert Fuller, of Gladwell & Company in London, came across Chailloux’s paintings in the Paris Salons of the 1950s and acquired his charming still lifes over many years. For over forty years Herbert’s son Anthony paid regular visits to Chailloux’s studio, firstly in Paris and then subsequently at his home in the countryside near Dourdan, and he cherishes his memories of their time together. Chailloux was an avid maker of ship models, a passion shared by Anthony. Lovingly handmade, each took three to four years to complete and his attention to detail was painstakingly illustrated one day, when Chailloux advised Anthony that he was having a problem drilling a hole in a pin to attach a stern rail.
Chailloux’s work has been exhibited in Great Britain, Switzerland, Belgium, America and Canada, as well as in Moscow in 1975 at the Museum Pouchkine, and then in Leningrad at the Hermitage Museum. Chailloux’s paintings have been acquired by the City of Paris, and the Museum of the Île de France. His paintings can be found in private collections all over the world.