The French artist Gen Paul not only enjoyed a 60-year career despite having no formal training but he also found his art a source of great comfort in the face of adversity

As the artist Henri Matisse once said, “Art is an escape from reality”, and never more so than for the artist Gen Paul (1895–1975), who found art to be a great form of solace from early childhood onward. As soon as he could hold a pencil, he would sketch, scribble and paint, abilities that would stand him in good stead during the periods of confinement he would endure in his life due to ill health.

Paul’s early artistic flair also proved beneficial when, at just 10 years old, after his father died, he set about training in decorative furnishings to earn a living. After such a precarious start in life, it comes as no surprise that he never had any formal training, yet he made a career as an artist for almost 60 years.

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