Guy-Rachel Grataloup was born in Nantua (France).

1939 - 1940

Grataloup was three years old when the war was declared. His family lived in Nantua where his father, Jean Grataloup, had bought, several years before, a printing workshop where the reams of paper and coloured scraps that had fallen from the guillotine amazed the young boy. In Nantua, their house faced the tree-covered mountains, not far from the romantic setting of the Sillans Lake.

At the time of the mobilisation of troops, his family temporarily lived in Dijon where Jean Grataloup had been posted. During his time there, Guy-Rachel Grataloup clearly remembers the bombardment on the station and the railway by the British Royal Air Force. It was the incendiary bombs and the fire geysers that caught his imagination the most. Later, the memory of those devasting “fireworks” was to be transposed into his painting.

1940 – 1944

While the drama and the war closed in on Frannce, Europe then the entire planet, Guy-Rachel, like many other young French children at that time, lived in the countryside in Bugey. Guy-Rachel attended primary school in Argis where his maternal grand-mother lived. There, he learnt to work in the fields. In Argis, Guy-Rachel gazes at the “Roche de Narce”, an impressive cliff, which we can see inspired many of his works.

1944 - 1952

In 1944, the family went back to Lyon and moved into the "Croix-Rousse" area.  His mother was a dressmaker and Guy-Rachel was fascinated by the chalk drawings on the fabric in her workshop. He attended secondary school. There, he produced the newspaper « J3 » for which he asked the Mayor of Lyon, Edouard Herriot, to be chairman, who accepted.

1953 – 1955

Guy-Rachel attended evening classes at the « Ecole des Beaux-arts » in Lyon from 1953 to 1956. He discovered the treasures of the Saint-Pierre Museum, and often visited the exhibitions which were held there. To earn some money, he worked for the newspaper “Le Progrès” where his father had been a typographer, then for the Civil Hospices in Lyon, then the General Tresury of Rhône at the Revenue Office in Villeurbanne, and finally he created perspective drawings for an architect in Lyon.

He met Roger Planchon in 1954 who was a young director and the manager of popular theater in Villeurbanne.

Guy-Rachel had a dream come true in 1955 ; he bought an English motorbike, a BSA, on which he travelled around France, Switzerland and Italy.

1956 – 1958

From 1956 to 1958, he carried out his military service as an officer for the NATO forces in Germany. He often visited the galleries and museums in Berlin that had started to exhibit avant-garde pieces and, more notably, canvases by Pierre Soulages.

In 1958, he participated in a group exhibition with the Students Association in Lyon, organized by Alain Crombecque (future director of the Avigon Festival and the Autumn Festival in Paris), where pieces of Hugetto and Christo were shown.

He attended lessons with Burlet, a pupil of Gleizes, a member of the “Témoignage” group. Guy-Rachel rented an old grocery store in Lyon, “L’Economique”, which he turned into his workshop.

1958 - 1965

From 1958 to 1960, he executed civil engineering drawings and again perspective drawings for an architect. Grataloup prepared for the entrance exam at the “Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan” where he was accepted in 1960. He met Jacques Zwobada who taught at the time. He also met the historian José Pierre, a teacher at the “Lycée de la Salle” in Saint-Germain en Laye, who was a close friend of André Breton.

At the “Ecole Normale Supérieur de Cachan”, he met Claude Chevreuil and Jules Romain for whom he designed the stage scenery for Volpone. Grataloup also illustrated Jean Cocteau poems in the school journal.

In 1964, he was admitted into the “Ecole Normale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts”. He started in Chastels whorkshop along with artists such as Viallat, Buraglio, Poli, Rouan, Kermarec and Anne and Patrick Poirier. He was a prize-winning pupiln for the French Institute at “La Casa Vélasquez” in Madrid in 1965 and he was to stay there from 1966 until 1967. He discovered the marvels of the Prado and the Escurial, travelled through Castile and Andalucia with the composer Antoine Tisné, and met the painters Millares, Villaba, Pablo Serano and the composers Rodrigo and Luis de Pablo. He exhibited his paintings in "Museo del Arte".

1966 – 1969

On returning to Paris in 1967, he had at his disposal a workshop a the « Cité Internationale des Arts ». There, he met up again with Anne and Patrick Poirier, and he met Malaval, Vélickovic and Serge Gainsbourg.

He achieved second place for the Grand Prize for painting for the “Prix de Rome” in 1967 and left in 1968 for the Medici Villa, directed by Balthus. While on holidays in Stockolm, he met Jean-Luc Godard who presented his short films about the events of May 1968.

Grataloup then met Francès Crabbie in 1969, the mother of his two first sons, Julien and Anthony.


Julien (1971)

Anthony (1979)

1970 – 1974

He exhibited an “homage to Claude Monnet”, called “White Water Lilies” presenting his  first rubbings.

He was at the « Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan » from 1970 when he left the « Cité des Arts » for a workshop at 37, rue Henri Barbusse, in Paris. He met César and Etienne Martin. He participated in the exhibition “Plastiques et Art Contemporain ». The same year, he exhibited his paintings in Montpellier during the exhibition “100 artistes dans la ville” and in Limoges for the exhibition “Rencontres” with artists such as Bioules, Dola, Bernard Venet, Louis Cane, Pincemin and Boltansky.

He passed the exam to become a teacher in 1970 and he was nominated Director of Studies at the “Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan”, where he stayed until 1996. He created with his pupils there the group “Vision Création” which exhibited in 1971 at the Modern Art Museum in Ceret with an exhibition organized by Jean Clair, "Impact II".

He became a good friend of Alice Rewald who introduced him to Michel Leiris.

From 1972 onwards, he became very interested in theosophy and Védenta

The Marquet Gallery organized his first solo exhibition in Paris in 1973. The same year.

The same year, an exhibition was organized by Jean-Louis Pradel in La Roue Gallery in Paris. Grataloup exhibited his recent paintings.

In 1974, Grataloup exhibited in “Maison de la Culture et des Arts” in La Seyne sur Mer, with the help of Edouard Pignon who is organizing the event.

1975 – 1980

Grataloup proposed an installation in the greenhouses of Magny-en-Vexin with the support of Jean-Louis Pradel.

He started a “chemin de Croix” which he finished 10 years later.

He exhibited at the Marquet Gallery in 1976 and in 1977, produced his first monumental piece, a mosaic for the Secular Mission of Valbonne.

He also exhibited with Roland Topor at the Marquet Gallery in 1978, with Joël Kermarec and Olivier Debre at the Herodiade Gallery in Saint-Etienne and in “Aktual” Gallery in Bale.

1980 – 1985

These years were marked by the creation of many important pieces, a mosaic in a mosque in Sophia Antipolis in 1980 ; stained glass window, a tapestry and ceramics on the theme of the “Arbre de Vie” in the Saint-Jean-Baptiste church in Ajaccio in 1982 ; a stained glass window in the entrance hall of the new Saint-Louis Hospital in Paris in 1984 ; a mosaic for the entrance hall for the Operational Division of Telecommunications in Angers in 1984. In 1988, with his friend the architect Denis Sloan he made an 840 m2 mosaic “les Trois Arbres” in La Défense (Paris).

1986 – 1989

In 1987, he exhibited at the Lavigne-Bastille Gallery in Paris.

He was chosen to be one of the artists representing France in the “Painters of Europe” exhibition, organized in Strasbourg.

The duality of the flat canvas against the materials he used became clear in his work from 1988 onwords.

In 1989, he moved to a new house/workshop designed by his friend, the architect Denis Sloan.

1990 – 1994

He met Mireille Cheynet de Beaupré, « Milena », whom he married in 1991.

Jacqueline Moussion organized a very important exhibition in her gallery in “Le Marais” in 1990.

Realization of a wall mosaic for the Porte de Clichy station in Paris and Bellefontaine station in Toulouse (1992). That same year, the “Closerie des Lilas” presented a series of gouaches, paintings, aquarelles and miniatures on the “Erotic Paradises” theme with texts by Michel Tournier, Marc Gaillard, Jean-Pierre Saccani, Michel Chaillou and Frédéric Beigbeder.

He exhibited at the Centre Gallery in 1993, at “Art Jonction” festival in Paris, at the international artfair in Hong-Kong and at the “aérospatial” in Toulouse : “the metro colours”.

Constant (1994)

In 1994, he produced a series of paintings celebrating the birth of his son, Constant. It was at this time that the human figure began the feature in his work.

That same year, Jean-Louis Ferrier wrote a very important analysis on Grataloup’s work called “La Recherche des mondes implies” published by the Ramsay Publishing House.

1995 – 2003

He exhibited at the Art Fair in New-York in 1995.

In 1996, he exhibited in Lavignes Gallery “Le Regard de Jean-Louis Ferrier” and at the Galerie du Centre.

In 1998, he started including different metals in his canvases which were meant to reflect the reality of everyday life. When he had the opportunity to exhibit at the Enrico Navarra Gallery, a new monograph was published by Ramsay Publishing House, with a text by Michel Tournier.

In 2001, he produced “flower women” with stippled monochromes figures. He added silk flowers, which created an intermediary reflection on the metal.

In 2002, with the help of the Bayer Group, an art exhibition was organized in the “Chapelle Saint-Louis de la Salpétrière” in Paris. 90 pieces were exhibited around the “Massabielle”, a series of painting dedicated to Bernadette Soubirous. An exhibition catalog was published by the Enrico Navara Publishing House.

In 2003, two art exhibitions were organized in Lyon : one in the “Chapelle de la Trinité”, the other in “Le Soleil sur la Place” gallery. 100 paintings were exhibited around the "Tent of the Prophet " an installation realized with gold leaf and based on a sand bed as well as the series " Massabielle ", a tribute to Bernadette Soubirous.

2004 – 2006

In September 2004, he was sought by one of his faithful and big collectors, Jean Mairet, to participate in a collective exhibition in the "Triage" (Nanterre).

In June 2005, the city of Chevreuse celebrated its work through an exhibition in the " Séchoir à Peaux " of Chevreuse. Grataloup presented a series of paintings on the themes of leaves and apple trees.

In July 2005, he exhibited at the “Maroquinerie” in Nantua a series of paintings on the theme of the Nantua lake.

Thanks to the support of the group Bayer again, a very big exhibition was organized in Leverkusen, Germany, head office of the group. More than 200 paintings were offered to the eyes of the public during almost three months, from November to the end of January 2006. A new catalog of exhibition was then published by the Enrico Navara Publishing House.

2008 – 2009

In October, 2008: for the second edition of the "Arts Elysées ", Grataloup presented some paintings with the Gallery du Centre.

In November, 2009 a big exhibition was organized in the head office of the group Dexia in Luxembourg. He exhibited very numerous paintings of big sizes on the series as well as numerous objects. A new catalog of exhibition was again edited in this occasion.

In March, 2009, through an exhibition in the new Space Moretti of Paris-La-Défense, Grataloup returned to the closest to its monumental urban realization of the tower of ventilation "Galilee". He presented it his last creations around the series of "swimming pools".


Third edition « Arts Elysées ».  Grataloup presents a lot of artpieces on the theme of the "quantic emptyness".


The city of Chevreuse seeks him for the realization of stained glasses for the former priory of the XIth century in Chevreuse. With the cooperation of the “Loire” workshops in Chartes, he created a set of three stained glasses representing Eve, the Tree and the symbolism of the time which gets through an hourglass. A painting exhibition is organized at the same time (December 2011 - April 2012).

In 2013, a solo exhibition is organized at the "Galerie du Centre", Paris.


In 2015, Grataloup completes a mosaic mural commissioned by the Association for the Grataloup Foundation and the city of Nantua. This one, conducted with Decomosa workshops, installed it in June 2015 in the presence Nantua collectors of the painter, members of the Association for the Grataloup Foundation, elected officials and many residents of Nantua. A large format paintings exhibition inaugurates the new space "Space 3 Lacs" on this occasion.


Vascoeuil Castle, Center for Art and History, organized a large exhibition "From the bottom to the top" around a hundred large-format canvases which renewed the mind of the artist in the sense of a contemporary symbolism.

In September 2016, the Baudoin & Marion Lebon Gallery inaugurates a new contemporary art center in Clairefontaine (Yvelines) with an exhibition dedicated to football "Art & Foot". Grataloup presents an object entitled "Fortune Telling" he made in 1998 for the World Football contest.

This same year, Grataloup exhibits his painting "Day and Night" in the Museum of Contemporary and Modern Art in Strasbourg within a private collection exhibition called "The Collector's Eye" belonging to Jean & Christina Mairet.