On vient à Saint-Paul pour quelques heures, pour un jour
et l'on voudrait y demeurer pour toujours...
Born in Nice to a family from Saint-Paul, André Verdet grew up in Saint-Paul de Vence with his aunt and uncle, the village's former mayor. He was a multifaceted artist, took part in the Résistance, and for 50 years befriended many of the writers and painters who passed through his village. During the war, André Verdet was arrested by the Gestapo as a member of the Résistance and deported to Auschwitz and Buchenwald. During the most trying times of his captivity, he turned to the stars to find the strength to survive.
André Verdet started writing after meeting Jean Giono in 1935.
After the war, he made it his career. He met up again with writer Jacques Prévert whom he had met in Saint-Paul in 1941: the starting point of a long and creative friendship. Together, they wrote several collections of poetry, including "C’est à Saint-Paul de Vence" published in 1949.
Prévert introduced him to Picasso in the early 1950s. He met Matisse through Paul Roux, owner of the Colombe d’Or. With encouragement and advice from the two masters, André Verdet started to paint. He frequented other artists such as Arman and César and participated in exhibitions throughout the French Riviera. His book "Discussions, Notes and Essays on Painting" maps out his exchanges with Chagall, Braque, Léger, Matisse and Picasso… a truly fascinating journey into the artists' pictorial universes.
André Verdet wrote books on art, composed exhibition catalogues and collections of poetry, worked with ceramics and even sculpted. He promoted the arts and his home village, acting as a living link between Saint-Paul de Vence and the greatest artists of the 20th century.