Robert Ladou (1929-2014) : the horse's glory

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A painter riding his passions 

"Passionate", this is what defines the artist Robert Ladou, who had horse and painting as central themes in his life. Bidtween has the honour of presenting on auction the studio collection of this talented painter whose life has been guided by this two passions.

He named his horse Cézanne

Robert Ladou has been immersed from a very young age into the horse riding world. His uncle, president of the Gentlemen from Lyon's Club, entrusts him rapidly with halter breaking the foals. At eighteen years old, he is an amateur jockey, he becomes a sous-maître at the Cadre-Noir of Saumur during his military service. At this time he is already passionate about horses and painting, so he goes at the end of his national service in England where he learns fabric painting.


Influenced by Lyon's silk - where he comes from -, he creates scarves' designs for great London couturiers. One day, he fell from his horse and is seriously injured. He had to stop his rider career. Was his horse named Cézanne already announcing his talent of painter?    



A talent for horse painting

Nonetheless, Robert Ladou does not give up the riding world: he puts it at the center of his paintings. With a precise knowledge on the anatomy of horses, he is now seen as the main figure in horse painting.


Thanks to his artistic and scientific skills, he is asked in 1982 to draw around twenty large-format paintings and a hundred and sixty anatomic boards for the Horse Museum in Chantilly. This production is one of his major artworks in his whole life.  Again, in this educational effort, he draws the "horse book" edited by Gallimard jeunesse. 

More decorative, his works on canvas enhance horses. Still, galloping or jumping, no matter the position, the artist's paintbrush masters all the moves. The powerful horse triumphs through a realistic painting thanks to the details that make its hair shine. A few strokes are sufficient to give the charger all its strength through abstract painting.

But, as a tormented artist, Ladou was always adjusting his works, continuously looking for perfection.    



An artist with a colossal work

Even though the horse is his area of expertise, Robert Ladou is a prolific painter. With more than a thousand and eight hundred artworks, his artistic production is of a big diversity.

He drew his inspiration from Poussin, Velasquez or Andrea del Sarto's artworks by reproducing them his way.

The Fontainebleau forest, close to his studio, inspired him realistic, abstract or Japanese-inspired landscapes. Fashion had also an important place in the artist's artwork, with a great contribution to famous designer houses, drawing the scarves' patterns of Pierre Balmain, Lanvin and Nina Ricci which drawing books are on sale on Bidtween. He made some paintings for the biscuit company Lu, with one of his most famous painting, "Le Goûter", where his children are the models in this family scene. 

Nude studies, his children portraits and interior sceneries are part of the various collection of Robert Ladou.