French painter and sculptor. He was born into a cultivated family of artistic inclination and independent means. He first studied with his mother, the printmaker and painter Laure Lacombe (1834–1924), and received further guidance from the French painters Georges Bertrand (1849–1929), Alfred Roll and Henri Gervex, who were family friends. From 1888 to 1897 he spent the summers at Camaret on the Brittany coast. In 1892 he befriended Paul Sérusier and was soon attracted to the aesthetic of the NABIS. He painted Breton figural scenes and stylized seascapes characterized by flat patterns, Japanese print devices, and mysterious, often anthropomorphic imagery. Familiarity with Paul Gauguin in 1893–4 aroused his interest in wood-carving (an interest that may also have been nurtured by his father, an amateur cabinetmaker) and encouraged him to employ a deliberately crude technique. Known as ‘the Nabi sculptor’, Lacombe explored Symbolist themes such as the cycle of life and death treated in The Bed (1894–6; Paris, Mus. d’Orsay).
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