Before boisterously claiming that he had "three passions: painting, women and pistols," Molinier unruly student of the Jesuits, then a painter of impressionist canvases, depicting landscapes of the Lot-et-Garonne region of France. Settling in Bordeaux in 1923, where for a short time he ran a bar, he drew a great many imaginary castles and began to practice abstraction with his painting La Dame blonde (1928), a yellow spot on a flesh-pink ground. In 1936 he finally made up his mind to make "symbolist paintings belonging to the realm of the psyche." This first Molinier "died around 1950," as indicated by the funerary cross with which he once adorned his cenotaph: a death's-head above the inscription, "He was a man without morals and was proud of it. No use praying for him." After that, a new Molinier was launched—he began a correspondence with Andre Breton and pursued a lyrically scandalous oeuvre. His painting Le Grand Combat, an image of a furious Lesbian coupling, exhibited at the Salon des Independants in Bordeaux, in 1951, was ordered removed by the authorities. But Molinier refused to take it down, merely covering it with a black cloth on which he pinned a protest defending artists' rights. In 1956 he undertook his main exhibition at the surrealist gallery, L'Étoile scellée, in Paris, under the patronage of Breton, who kept for his private collection the paintings Succube and La Comtesse Midralgar. In his studio at Grenier Saint-Pierre in Bordeaux, filled with amorous fetishes, Molinier composed cruel, sensuous melees of women, indulging in vampiric kisses and clawing caresses. The sadistic heroine of these orgies was Molinier himself, treated as his female double (Les Dames voilées, 1955; Le Révell de l'Ange, 1960; Les Jumelles amoureuses, 1962). Raymond Borde's 1964 film about Molinier, at first banned by the censors, was presented in 1966 at the Festival de l'Érotisme of Bordeaux to a long ovation from the audience. Pierre Bourgeade, in Le Mysteré Molinier (1997), described his painting thus: “He usually began with a drawing from life, a photograph or purely imaginary construction.. .then came one or several sketches, sometimes in sepia tones.. .the last announcing the final painting." Molinier painted while consulting his reflection in a large standing mirror, and in order to obtain "the erotic color" in his painting, he masturbated to varnish it with his semen, using "the toe of a woman's stocking utilized as an applicator," Bourgeade explained, claiming that this special varnish was the secret of Molinier green, as easily identifiable by connoisseurs as Veronese green. At the end of his life, Molinier gave up painting and composed a book of images, Le Chaman et ses Créatures—an album of fifty-three photomontages, two photos, nine slides and nine drawings—which he completed in November 1970. Emotionally shattered by his permanent state of tension, Pierre Molinier committed suicide on Wednesday, March 3, 1976, leaving this note: "The hour of the crime on myself, 7:30 PM."  

Pierre Molinier

Born 1900 in Agent France; died 1976 in Bordeaux.  

Photocollage, c. 1970