After spending his childhood in Charmes, France, where his parents were horticulturists, he began studying painting and modeling at the École des Beaux-Arts in Amiens in 1905.  he received a solid classical training and did some paintings in the impressionist style, including Paysage au vieux mur (1907).  At the same time, he submitted illustrations to the regional newspapers Notre Picardie and Le Chambard.  The firs tainting of his characteristic style was Le Palais des Merveilles (1907), a carnival parade exhibiting women in “erectile” costumes surrounding a barker.  For a long time he stopped painting, becoming a fashion designer for catalogs in 1912, and in 1920 a makeup artist for advertising models, a profession her practiced until his retirement.  In 1930 he returned to painting with Remembrance, an “anti-everything painting” exhibited at the Salon des Artistes et écrivains révolutionnaires, which was admired by the surrealists.  From then on Trouille was adopted as one of them.  Trouille frequently attended the meetings of the Parisian group, and several times featured André Breton in his paintings in the guise of a perverse monk or terrorist.  Painting on Sundays at his house near Parc des buttes-Chaumont in Paris, he reworked the same paintings year after year hoping to improve them.
​ Trouille created an anachrist, antimilitarist and anticlerical world, where nuns smoke and dance the French can can and cinema-novel heroines are plunged into orgies and dramas of passion.  The work he sent each year to the Salon des Indépendants or Surindépendants always earned hum a succès de scandale.  This peculiar artist, who sought to crete “unpopular” pictures “painted with red-hot coals,” displayed an imagery featuring intense illuminations coveting “a certain idea of pictorial lavishness by the color that glorifies forms.”  His eroticism-usually heightened by a macabre sense of humor- blossomed into his three paintings Mes Funérailles (1940), Mon Enterrement (1945), Mon Tomneau (1947).  Trouille declared, “My work is a love song to woman, whom I so missed in my youth (repression)…However, I never indulged in pornography.  I always stayed solely on the level of the suggestive.”  On May 1, 1960 he was awarded the Medal of Honor of Labor and an award of commemorating thirty-five years of service in the same firm.  In 1963, at the age of seventy-four, he exhibited some thirty paintings at the Galerie Raymond Cordier in Paris- the first time he consented to a one-man show.  He became known to the wider public in 1970 for the nude play Oh! Calcutta! whose title was drawn from one of his paintings.  

Clovis Trouille

Born 1889 at La Fère, France; died 1975 at Neuilly-sur-Marne, France. 

Rêve Claustral, Oil on Canvas, 1952