André Dunoyer de Segonzac was born July 7, 1884 at Boussy-Saint-Antoine in Essonne. In 1900, he entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris as a general student and later went into Luc-Olivier Merson’s studio. He also studied figure drawing at the Academy of the Grande Chaumière and at the Academy Colarossi. A few years later, he began studying with Jean-Paul Laurens and frequenting the Academy La Palette à Montparnasse, where Jacques-Emile Blanche and Charles Guérin were teaching and where he met Luc-Albert Moreau and Jean-Louis Boussingault.
In 1908 and 1909, he submitted work for the first time to the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Artistes Indépendants. The designer Paul Poiret, who bought his Drinkers, became a friend and introduced him to Jean-Louis Forain, Max Jacob, Raoul Dufy, and Maurice de Vlaminck.
The landscapes of Provence (he rented Signac’s house at Saint-Tropez, then bought Camoin’s) and the Ile-de-France were his principal sources of inspiration. He wrote that “A love of the countryside and solitude are the indispensible elements for the emergence of ‘a state of grace,’ the creative wellspring of deep and lasting works. They create a state of mind bordering on the spiritual bliss experienced by a Saint Francis of Assisi, a Corot, or a Rembrandt . . .” De Segonzac traveled extensively, visiting Italy, Spain, and North Africa, but didn’t restrict himself to landscape painting; he was equally engaged by the body in motion, and particularly by Isadora Duncan’s dancing, which inspired the album of drawings titled Sheherazade, published in 1910. The following year, he designed the sets for Nabuchodonosor at the Théâtre des Arts.
André Dunoyer de Segonzac was also a devoted engraver and created an important and varied body of work in the medium. He illustrated several literary works, including Croix de Bois by Roland Dorgelès in 1920, Tableaux de la Boxe by Tristan Bernard in 1922-23, and Virgil’s Georgics (a project initiated by Ambroise Vollard but first exhibited only after his death at the Charpentier Gallery in 1948). He collaborated with the print dealers Jacquart and Marcel Guiot, engraved portraits of Colette, André Gide, Léon-Paul Fargue, and Paul Léautaud, and was named a member and then the president of the Society of French Engraver-Painters (1930 to 1959). In 1958, the first of eight volumes of the Catalogue of the Engravings of Dunoyer de Segonzac by Aimée Lioré and Pierre Cailler was published by Pierre Cailler in Geneva, and in 1925, Crès published a book on his painting by Claude Roger-Marx.
At the beginning of the 1930s, he had several exhibitions in London and New York, and toward the end of the decade undertook a series of large international exhibitions in Chicago, New York (at Carrol Carstairs), London (at Wildenstein), Basel (at Kunsthalle in 1948), and Geneva (at the Art and History Museum in 1951). Well appreciated outside of France, he received numerous distinctions; in 1947, he was elected a member of the Royal Academy in London (replacing Bonnard), and the following year he was named an associate member of the Royal Academy in Brussels. De Segonzac also founded the salon Souvenir de Corot at Viroflay.