Nadu Marsaudon, the rebellious child de Royan, is a true local legend.

Born in 1933, he left an unparalleled mark on the artistic landscape of the region. His first steps in the world of art date back to the tender age of four. He then scribbled small sketches on the cover of his school notebooks. His mistress, impressed by his precocious talent, proudly exhibited his works in class. She thus propagates the flame that burns within him. From then on, Nadu Marsaudon was condemned to never give up his passion for drawing. He dreams of “making art”, of creating works that will transgress the limits of the imagination. As a teenager, he flew to Paris, the bustling capital of creativity, to follow a preparatory training for the Charpentier workshop. But that was not enough to quench his thirst for artistic expression. He thus crossed the doors of the Beaux-Arts, ready to confront the masters and affirm his vision.

Today, at the venerable age of 90, Nadu Marsaudon never stops creating. Every day, in his home nestled on the heights of Mortagne sur Gironde, he gives himself up to his devouring passion. His studio is a sanctuary overflowing with colors and emotions. This is where he brings his boldest visions to life.

portrait of Nadu Marsaudon during the exhibition at the Musée de Royan

The convention center, recently renovated and modestly renamed "Le Palais", is the scene of his last fresco. It is once again accessible to the general public. This event is an opportunity to (re)dive into the gargantuan work of this local artist.

Nadu Marsaudon, the traveling artist

The first name "Nadu", rooted in Indian culture, resounds like a mysterious echo. “The strangler” or “the cutthroat”, bold translation of the word chippewas Nadouesiou, permeates the very essence of this extraordinary artist. Fascinated by the way of life of the Indians, Nadu Marsaudon thus embraces Indianism. This philosophy of life honors nature and the symbiosis with it. His connection with natural forces also becomes an inexhaustible source of inspiration.

Eastern spirituality, with all its esoteric depth, also permeates the soul of Nadu Marsaudon. Indian mantras, these sacred incantations, adorn his tattooed hands like indelible marks. They thus bear witness to his inner journey, his quest for meaning and transcendence.

In 1959, during a trip to Spain, Nadu stopped at Port Lligat. He then crosses Salvador Dalí, the famous mustachioed guru. Perhaps recognizing in Nadu the echo of a soul mate, the master also signed a drawing for him.

Graphic designer, draftsman, painter, he fashions captivating works that transcend the conventions of traditional art. He basically creates posters for local businesses. They reveal his mastery of visual composition and also his ability to capture the viewer's attention.

The spiritual art of Nadu Marsaudon

In the abundant universe of Nadu Marsaudon, painting and collage intertwine like a creative chaos. His work is both abundant and remarkable, captivating minds with its dazzling diversity and dazzling originality.

Nadu Marsaudon's work, like a living entity, feeds on multiple artistic currents. For example, surrealism, this audacious movement that pushes the limits of reality, irrigates his creations. The cultures of the countries he explores form a complex and vibrant canvas. He then weaves unexpected links between his different visions of the world.

The artist gives life to hybrid and imaginary characters, beings emerging from an unexplored universe. In these striking compositions, unusual elements, whether painted or glued, appear like fragments of a bewitching visual narrative. His creations oscillate between the fantastic, the dream and the nightmare. They then go beyond the borders of reality to plunge into the deepest meanders of the collective unconscious. Each line, each color thus reveals a pictorial language that is expressed with hypnotic force.

drawing by Nadu Marsaudon during the exhibition at the Musée de Royan

Language, like a sacred tool, then becomes an integral part of Nadu Marsaudon's creative process. Words and texts interfere in his works, merging with the plastic elements. Each composition ultimately becomes a visual narrative, an invitation to explore the mysteries of the mind and the mazes of perception.

Nadu Marsaudon's work in the field of sacred art expresses emotions of deep spirituality. The statue of Saint Therese of Our Lady of Royan, erected near the tomb of the architect Guillaume Gillet, embodies the alliance between matter and transcendence.

The feminine world of Nadu Marsaudon

Women are an inexhaustible source of inspiration for Nadu Marsaudon. Throughout his travels, he thus crosses their paths and immortalizes them in his creative palette. It offers a vibrant tribute to their diversity and unique beauty. From gypsies to Indians, from Creoles to mermaids, each encounter is a spark that ignites her imagination.

From the 1960s, Nadu Marsaudon forged a feminine type that became his signature, an inimitable trademark: the Yakuts. These women with striking features emerge from the artist's imagination. Their name is a nod to Yakutia, a remote region of Siberia where the inhabitants display Mongolian characteristics. The Yakuts of Nadu Marsaudon are adorned with an oval face, almond eyes, a luxuriant mane, a generous chest and full thighs. They also embody a fantasized feminine ideal. In each brushstroke or pencil stroke, the artist calls on these female figures. They thus express his aspiration for a harmonious balance between reality and imagination.

Nadu Marsaudon, the graphic designer

It is very likely that you have already come across the works of Nadu Marsaudon in Charente Maritime. And that without you even realizing it. Over the years, his designs have shaped the image of iconic seaside resorts such as Saint-palais-sur-mer, Palmyra or Royan…

He creates enchanting decors, captivating murals, striking logos and memorable posters. His art has helped shape the visual identity of iconic places.

Posters that make the identity of Royan and its surroundings

In 1955, Nadu Marsaudon opened the doors of a decoration store in Royan. He then made his very first advertising poster. He thus began a versatile career where his talent flourished as a painter and as a graphic designer.

Her posters, true works of art, are distinguished by their aesthetics and their often feminine character. They adorned the streets of the city, capturing the attention of passers-by, promoting bewitching perfumes, elegant clothes, lively restaurants or lively nightclubs. This “pop” facet was the artist's public showcase.

Among Nadu Marsaudon's remarkable achievements are emblematic creations for prestigious establishments: the Tiki and Nausicaa restaurants, the Foncillon swimming pool, the Royan golf course, the Rancho, the Moritz and the La Palmyre Zoo...

poster by Nadu Marsaudon for the old Foncillon swimming pool

The Servit perfumery and the Adam clothing brand have teamed up with the artist to bring unforgettable advertising campaigns to life.

The fresco of the Palais des Congrès

old fresco of the convention center of Royan

In 1977, the Palais des Congrès de Royan was in full expansion. Nadu Marsaudon is given the task of creating a mural. It is located in the stairwell of the extension, commonly called the “Cube”. This artistic challenge thus gives birth to a monumental work. Figures from Egyptian mythology intertwine within blocks of text. They list the companies and people who contributed to the construction of this building.

However, with the recent renovations of the Palais des Congrès, the “Cube” is demolished. This unfortunately leads to the disappearance of this emblematic fresco. However, the municipality of Royan offers the artist the opportunity to create a new work in the new building.

the revival of the fresco

We discover there an evocation the bombings that hit Royan in 1945, thus recalling the scars left by history. Female and fantastic figures emerge from this fresco, celebrating the richness of Nadu Marsaudon's imagination. The maritime world and the sea, inseparable elements of Royan's identity, are also represented. This striking mixture of reality and imagination gives this emblematic place of Royan an exceptional artistic dimension. Nadu Marsaudon's fresco transforms the space into a veritable art gallery, inviting visitors to dive into a bewitching universe where the boundaries between the tangible and the fantastic are blurred.

Thus, Nadu Marsaudon continues to leave his indelible mark on the walls of Royan. He enchants locals and visitors alike with his boundless imagination and his outlook on the world. Throughout his career, he knew how to infuse the land of Royan with his rebellious and innovative spirit. It thus offers a unique artistic heritage of its kind. This extraordinary artist is much more than a simple painter. He is a tireless explorer of parallel universes, a shaman of shapes and colors.

This article is inspired by the book-catalog "L'imaginaire de Marsaudon", edited by the Municipal Museum of Royan on the occasion of the temporary exhibition of the same name in 2012.


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