Skip to content

Diehl, Gaston

    Full Name: Diehl, Gaston

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1912

    Date Died: 1999

    Place Born: Paris, Île-de-France, France

    Home Country/ies: France

    Career(s): art critics


    Professor of art history and art critic. Diehl graduated from the Institut d’art et d’archéologie in 1934. In1935 he founded a group called “Regain” to discuss emerging art and artists. Later the same year, a magazine with the same name was launched. He received an additional degree from the école du Louvre in 1936. He began writing a column, “La Tribune des jeunes” in the weekly magazine Marianne in 1938 and launched the magazine Charpentes in 1939. Despite the German occupation of Paris, Diehl founded the “May Show” in 1943, whose art opposed the ideology of Nazism. He wrote an introduction to a folio edition of art reproductions, Les Fauves. In 1944 he helped for the “Friends of Art” group for the diffusion of the modern art through conferences and films. The May Show sponsored “Living Room” exhibitions beginning in 1945, the first situated at the gallery Pierre Maurs. This liberation show had honorary contributors Germain Bazin, Jacques Dupont, Rene Huyghe, Bernard Dorival, Michel Florisoone, Pierre Ladoué and Marc Thiboutet. the catalog of which was written by Diehl. Diehl remained president of the organization until 1997. After the war, Diehl was part of the launching of the “International Film Festival of Art” in 1948. The film board produces films on Van Gogh, 1948, and Gauguin, 1950, with Alain Resnais Watteau, 1950, with Jean Aurel. He accepted an appointment as cultural attaché to the French Embassy in Venezuela in 1950 where he directed the French-Venezuelan [art] Institute (l’Institut franco-vénézuélien) in Caracas. He taught art history at the Central University and the école des Beaux-Arts in Caracas during the same years. In 1959 he moved to Morocco teaching there as well. He returned to Paris in 1966, recalled by minister of culture André Malraux to direct the Office of exhibitions (l’Action Artistique), Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He organized foreign exhibitions at the Grand and Petit Palais and the Louvre, notably the blockbuster show “Le Trésor de Toutankamon,” 1966. He retired in 1977. Diehl was elected president of the Museum of Latin America in 1983. He worked with the la Maison de l’Amérique Latine in Monte Carlo between 1986 and 1989. One of his final acts as an art historian was to curate the joint show for Italy and France, “Mystérieuse légende de l’Ecole de Paris à Montparnasse,” (Mysterious legend of the Paris School in Montparnasse).

    Selected Bibliography

    Les problèmes de la peinture. Paris: Confluences, 1945; introduction, Les Fauves: oeuvres de Braque, Derain, Dufy, Friesz, Marquet, Matisse, Van Dongen, Vlaminck. Paris: éditions du Chêne, 1943; and Humbert, Agnès. Henri Matisse. Paris: P. Tisné, 1954; La peinture moderne dans le monde. English, The moderns; a treasury of painting throughout the world. New York: Crown Publishers 1961; History of modern painting. New York, Hyperion Press/Macmillan 1951; La leggenda misteriosa della Scuola di Parigi a Montparnasse: una esposizione. Milan: UTET periodici, 1994.


    Roissard, Pierre. Personnalités de France. Grenoble: P. Roissard, 1986; Diccionario biográfico de las artes plásticas en Venezuela, siglos XIX y XX. Caracas: Instituto Nacional de Cultura y Bellas Artes, 1973.


    Contributors: Emily Crockett and Lee Sorensen


    Emily Crockett and Lee Sorensen. "Diehl, Gaston." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

    More Resources

    Search for materials by & about this art historian: