Paul de Monchaux was born in Montreal in 1934 and studied at the Art Students League, New York (1952-1954) and at the Slade School of Fine Art (1955-1958). After teaching at the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology (1958-1960) and Goldsmiths College of Art (1960-1965), he went on to become Head of Sculpture and Head of Fine Art at Camberwell School of Art. In 1986 he retired from teaching to focus attention on his own work.
His sculpture is built around simple geometrical figures that, while inert in themselves, can come to life in the right combination – like the notes of a piano. His choice of material for a particular piece is determined by its ability to carry the form and distribute light across its surfaces. He has a long-standing interest in the sculptural origins of symbolic architecture and recent work has drawn on historian Joseph Rykwert’s writing about the gender of columns. He does not make a distinction between his commissioned and freestanding work, regarding both as part of the same exploration.
De Monchaux’s public commissions include Oozells Square, Birmingham (1998); Silence, Jersey (2007); Breath, Norwich Memorial Gardens (2001) and most recently Girton Column, Girton College, Cambridge (2012).
He lives and works in London.