Dominique Appia Plus

I’ve noticed that most of my traffic is driven by search engine queries concerning Dominique Appia.  In truth, there’s not a lot available on the web (in english) about my Grandfather.  In one sense, that doesn’t really matter?  But you probably care, since statistically speaking (as of 10/12/12) you’re probably reading this because you searched for information or art by Dominique Appia.  Does he care about his presence on the internet?  I’m not sure.  I’ll ask him.  Maybe, though, because he has his website.

In fact, I’ll ask him if he wants to start a blog.  He’ll probably say he’s not interested.  There’s only so much time in the day and typing and learning wordpress may not be his thing.  Maybe he’d want to author a post or two on this blog, however???  He loves writing and language and is quite computer literate.  He uses photoshop, and self-publishes books which he prints on his many printers and binds by hand in his studio:

Dominique Appia's book La Paresse Intellectual (Intellectual Laziness)

In any case, it’d be in French.  Sadly, I don’t even really know French.  A regret of mine, I grew up on the other side of the Atlantic and didn’t visit enough as a child to pick it up on my own.  C’est la vie.

My Grandpa did visit several times, and I went there, too.  Here he is in Tucson, in the early 80’s.

Dominique Appia in Tucson Arizona in 1984ish

I’ll quote my mom (I added the pictures and links):

In the mean time, the short biography you wrote is not quite accurate.

He was on his own without help or resources from the age of 18 when he got out of boot camp [military service is compulsory for males in Switzerland], and had to survive on various jobs from the start:

  • Agricultural worker
  • Delivery man
  • Postman
  • Milkman
  • Taxi driver
  • Theater stage decorator
  • Decorator
  • Photography re-toucher
  • Printing job
  • Advertising creator
  • Draftsman
  • etc.

He had gone in an art school for a semester as a teenager but his father took him out of it without reason. In his early twenties, he was painting as a hobby in a fairly different style; much more naive, even if quite charming. A famous graphologist analysed his handwriting and deducted in a peremptory way: zero talent for art; he took it for granted, because he felt quite insecure. He was hired as a draftsman in a architectural firm and worked his way up. He became quite involved with making architectural models and renderings while he worked there. In his late thirties, his boss asked him to do a mural for his billiard room. He had seen his paintings from his early twenties and gave him total freedom for the subject; with only one request, he wished to see the ocean. After more than 12 years of living, many of those doing architecture  made his style evolve quite a bit.

At around 40 years old, he was painting regularly in his spare time, and won a few of contests organised  by the city of Geneva. This enabled him to qualify for a part time drawing/teaching job at the decorative art school in Geneva; he then could paint full time. He had a few collective exhibits and on his first one man show, everything sold. Things started to really pick up from then on. He did some posters for the “Centre Pompidou” one of which “Le temps des Gares” (The age of railroad stations) became well known.

Dominique Appia's Les Temps des Gares (The Age of the Railroads)

As he continued painting, he was frequently asked to do murals; or paint the ceiling of the Victoria Hall, (a concert hall) quite a monumental job. [Victoria Hall later burned down  😦 ]

victoria hall

Dominique Appia Victoria Hall

He also did a series of paintings and sculptures for Rolex to decorate their headquarters.

Painting of overview of the Rolex building by Dominique Appia

sculpture mosaic fountain outside Rolex building by Dominique Appia

Ecliptique by Dominique Appia

le pendule by Dominique Appia

les phases de la lune By Dominique Appia

les plaisirs de la table 1 By Dominique Appia

les plaisirs de la table By Dominique Appia
I could tell you a lot more of course;  then again, I am not sure if you should put all that, but that gives you an idea anyway.

I’ll post again on Dominique Appia.  In the meantime, I’ll see if he’d want to write author a blog post or two on here.  Or start his own blog.

One thought on “Dominique Appia Plus

  1. […] Dominique Appia (My Grandfather, Dominique Appia Plus) […]

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