Augustin Lesage (1876-1954), was a French coal miner who became painter and artist through the help of what he considered to be spirit voices. When he was 35 years old, Lesage claimed he heard a voice speak to him from the darkness of the mine and tell him, “One day you will be a painter”. The only contact Lesage had had with the arts at that point in his life was a visit to the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille museum in Lille during his military service.
On purchasing his first canvas, Lesage mistakenly bought one ten times as large as he had intended. His spirit guides instructed him not to be daunted, but to begin painting. Large canvasses became his chosen format.
Lesage went on to develop a unique, highly symmetrical style, drafting detailed patterns and monolithic constructions reminiscent of Egyptian and Oriental architectural forms.
Lesage claimed, that he would never have any idea about what he wanted to portray. “I never have an overview of the entire work at any point of the execution. My guides tell me, ” I surrender to their impulse“.
At first Lesage never signed his paintings, and then began to sign them ‘Leonardo Da Vinci.’ It was only later that he began to add his own signature.
From 1912 Lesage began to produce a regular output of paintings. His service in the First World War interrupted his artistic pursuits, but he was able to resume his work in 1916. By 1923, Lesage was able to support himself exclusively with his artistic efforts.