The son of Russian émigrés who had settled in France after the 1917 Revolution, Sacha Bourmeyster was born on March 6, 1939, in the outskirts of Lyon. As he wavered between a university career and creating comic strips for a living, he became captivated by the pictorial ambitions of the man who was to become a lifelong friend, Georges Yatridès.

After working first as a high-school teacher of Russian, and then as an assistant teacher in comparative literature at the University of Lyon in the days of the 1968 student revolution, in 1972 he defended his doctoral thesis on “Hegelianism in Russia and the birth of the intelligentsia”.

Bourmeyster became a professor at Stendhal University in Grenoble in 1973 and ran its Centre for Contemporary Slavic Studies, specializing in the semiological analysis of political discourse. He went on to publish his Essais sur le discours (Essays on Discourse) and to observe the phases of the post-Communist transition in central and Eastern Europe — in particular, as a cinephile and a habitué of the Cannes Film Festival, in the audiovisual field, where he examined the interface between national culture and the international market.

Initially writing prefaces to exhibition catalogues of the great artist Georges Yatridès, and articles devoted to his works in art journals, Alexandre Bourmeyster increasingly became his preferred and authorized spokesperson as the scope of the artist’s ambitions began to emerge, as early as age 20.