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Gilles Aillaud (1928-2005), perhaps the most respected French figurative painter of his generation, studied art after completing his studies in philosophy. From the 1960s on, he concentrated on the recurring theme of animals, often trapped in cages or zoos. He produced his first lithographs with the Bordas print shop in 1979 and continued working there for many years. His lithographs are made with a great economy of means, drawn in precise lines and subtle shadows.
"La Paille" was drawn in two sessions. First, he brushed a layer of gum arabic to make the straw. When it had dried, he drew over it with a precise ink line. The image was revealed once passed under the press. His majestic "Rhinoceros" was drawn on a heavy stone, mainly in lithographic crayon; the artist appreciated the solidity of the stones due to paralysis in one arm. We also produced a "Cargo" album together, entirely in lithography. In 1988, Aillaud began working with Franck Bordas on an encyclopedia of animals in four volumes.