Robert Tatin was born on January 9, 1902 at L’Epine d’Avesnières in Laval in Mayenne in a modest and contrasting environment, between a Dreyfusard father and a practicing Catholic mother.
In 1909, he sits on the benches of the communal school, until the certificate of studies. He will then begin his entry into professional life with an apprenticeship as a house painter. He then enters the path of construction and creation that he will never leave again.
In 1918, he moved to Paris at the age of seventeen as a painter-decorator. At the same time, he studied drawing and painting by attending free academies. He is enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and at the fresco workshop of the Ecole des Arts Appliqués.
From 1922 to 1924, he did his military service in Chartres where he took evening classes in trigonometry, descriptive geometry and geometry in space.
Returning to Laval, at the age of twenty-three he began training as a carpenter for several years.
At the age of twenty-eight, in 1930, he created his building business in Laval, which grew very rapidly. It was a prosperous period during which Tatin traveled a lot. He thus discovered several European countries, North Africa and New York in 1938.
In 1945, deeply marked by the horrors of war, he decided to embark on an artistic life without concessions. This is a major turning point in his life as a creator. In 1947, he created a ceramics and painting workshop in Paris. By participating in the reconstruction of “cultural Paris”, he frequented Prévert, Breton, Cocteau, Giacometti, Dubuffet, and enjoyed national recognition.
In 1950, Tatin decided to leave France. He left for Brazil and first worked for Matarazzo Sobrhino (director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Sao Paulo and a wealthy industrialist) as a painter, sculptor and ceramist. He is part of a team of technicians and chemists who study high temperatures. Tatin deepens his knowledge in the field of ceramics. In 1951, he exhibited at the first Sao Paulo Biennial and won first prize for sculpture. It will then cross South America: Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile to Tierra del Fuego. In contact with the Amerindians, Tatin completely frees himself from academic dogmas and expands his register of shapes and colors. His notoriety becomes international.
Backin France in 1955, he settled in Vence, worked in Laval and Paris. In the field of painting, it was during this period that he asserted the full extent of his pictorial technique. He exhibited in Paris, notably in the University Gallery of Robert Steindecker, who had become his patron. In 1961, he won the Critics’ Prize in Paris.
In 1962, Robert Tatin returned to Mayenne for good, bought a small house in Cossé-le-Vivien and embarked, with his young wife Lise, on building his “Maison des Champs”.
“Ten years of Sculpture” retrospective at the Hôtel Georges V in Paris in 1976
Traveling exhibition in the south-west of France
8th Angers Motor Show, 1989
Salon “Human Forms”, Rodin Museum
Autumn Salon of which he is a member.
Salon “group of 109”, Grand Palais, 1983 and 1985
“Toi ma Celtie”, Bief, no 1, Le Terrain Vague edition, November 1958
“Traces 40. Robert Tatin presents Tatin de la Frénouse, the worker. Followed by: Long
live the Spleen!…”, Michel-François Lavaur. The Pallet. Vallet, 1972, special issue prepared by Alain Barré1
“Magic” in eight copies, collection of the Tatin museum
“Strange museum, Robert Tatin in Frénouse in Cossé-le-Vivien, Mayenne”.
Librairie Charpentier 1977. Preface by Otto Hahn. (Charpentier bookstore, Paris 1977)
“Letter to André Breton” (La Brèche Action Surréaliste no 4, February 1983)
Robert Tatin. Paris, Librairie Charpentier, 1960. by Pierre Gueguen, and Henry Galy-Carles
Catalog of the Robert Tatin exhibition from May to June 1968, at the Galerie de l’Université in Paris
Strange museum, Robert Tatin en Frénouse in Cossé-le-Vivien, Mayenne. Librairie Charpentier 1977. Written by Robert Tatin. Preface by Otto Hahn
The strange domain of Robert Tatin. Simoën, 1977. Richard Jeandelle and Brigitte Jeandelle
The universe of Robert Tatin. Celestin Freinet Group. 1983
Five films have been shot on Robert Tatin:
On the other side of the mirror, film made for the television program Terre des Arts by Max-Pol Fouchet in June 1967 on Magritte, Paul Delvaux, Aristide Caillaud and Robert Tatin
A film by Jacques Remise for the ORTF (January 1972)
A newsreel for Fox-Movietone (August 1974)
A film by Claus Hermans for German television (July 1976)
“Tatin-Circus” by Robert Maurice and Claude Arrucci, for FR3 Rennes (February 1977)