Biography

Taleb was born on 25th April 1946 in Saint Just de Luzac,a little village on the Atlantic Coast near Royan. His mother was from the Charentes Region and his father, from Algeria. « As a child, I thought I had come down straight from the moon, just like Cyrano de Bergerac... my ass was on the ground in between two chairs. I still believe it is the case ! »
After the war, his family settled down not far away, in Rochefort sur Mer. His parents had fifteen children. The beginning of their life was tough. They lived in a poor suburb just outside of the city, which belonged to a mineral factory, along with Spanish immigrants, who fled the Franco regime, and other expatriate Polish families torn from their homeland after the war. Taleb’s father worked as a lead rolling mill operator, and like many others, died from industrial poisoning. At the age of 16, Taleb had already decided t to create a different destiny for himself.



In 1961, he ran away to « see Paris », which appeared like a relentless flight. The young man was not yet expecting that a terrible fate was about to hit him : on the 17th of October 1961 Maurice Papon ordered the sad and shameful roundup of Algerians after the war, which included Taleb.
He was sent to the camp of Vincennes for 3 days, beaten and humiliated. 74 people were shot or beaten to death, and 66 disappeared. From then on Taleb realised that he would have to live with another reality : his difference. However nothing could break his character, which guided him where he was. His difference became his strength. He wanted to stay in Paris, and, for a living, any kind of job was an opportunity. One day he got lucky : he was hired as an apprentice to work for Karcher, a famous lithography workshop. He observed a great deal and was appreciated. Slowly he was introduced  to inks, zinc and lithographic stone. His hand became more confident. He realised that he wanted to and could become an Artist. He worked in Montmartre and drew portraits of tourists. He then left the folklore of the Tertre Square to go down to the « grands boulevards » (avenues around Paris). He wandered about in Montparnasse, in the St Michel and St Germain des Prés areas. It was also the height of fame of the « Coupole » and  the « Deux Magots » during this period, with artists such as Sartre, Gréco, Genêt making their names. However Taleb was not fortunate enough to know or meet these icons. He then tried his luck around the  « Grande Chaumière » and met a few people, who played an important role in his career. He offered his services as an assistant to old painters, which he exchanged for lessons. For the first time in his life he visited the Louvres museum, where he finally discovered all the masterpieces, which fascinated him as a school boy : Chardin, Raphael, Leonard, Vélasquez, Rembrandt...
In 1970, enriched with all these accumulated experiences, the child of Rochefort came back to his native ground and the ocean.
« It is in this flat countryside of marsh, in these quiet landscapes, that my real voyage will start », Taleb says.
He set up his workshop in an old building, which he managed to acquire. He worked hard on the motif, remembering the principles of the impressionists, whom he admired at the Musée d'Orsay. However he realised quickly that his impressionistic experience came from a process, which drew on contemplative emotion and the sensitivity of immediate touch. He wanted to go somewhere else to find another universe, other landscapes and other faces. He looked and found in his unconscious the intact child who slept, this other one, who lives inside us and, whom we can reach through means of expressionist writing.
« The main fight, Taleb says, is to accept the idea that the brain of an Artist does not exist while he is painting. Contrary to what people think the Artist is never the master of his work ». Therefore, like an archaeologist, he gave birth to the presence of a sort of « Ant memory », omnipresent in his work : the revelation of an original East marrying the West of his culture. He does not mind about the question of representation or abstraction. Taleb is a genuine self-taught man, in the noble meaning of the word. He built himself through work and abnegation. The power and authenticity of his work are undeniable. The Art lovers, who understand it, have forced his peers to recognise it. Nowadays his work is present at numerous collectors’ and in Art galleries in France and abroad.


Taleb lives and works in La Rochelle
Work-shop : 4 rue Saint Claude - 17000
La Rochelle
( France )