Les belles fleurs bleues. La tapisserie. La tête de veau, 1988
Acrylic on canvas, signed, dated and titled lower left, signed lower right
142 x 182 cm
56 x 71 1/2 in.
160 x 198 cm (cadre inclus) 62 63/64 x 77 61/64 in. (including frame)
Robert Combas, born in Lyon in 1957, is a French artist whose painting has been described as "Figuration libre" by the artist Ben who invited him to exhibit in his gallery in Nice in 1981. This designation refers to a rejection of "intellectual" art (especially minimalist) and seeks to highlight a figurative and popular painting, inspired by comics and rock culture. In fact, since the 1980s, the artist has developed a protean work that defies categorization.
After studying in Sète and at the School of Fine Arts in Montpellier, Combas quickly gained notoriety, participating in various group exhibitions from 1980 onwards, before seeing his first solo exhibitions in Düsseldorf and Amsterdam. From the 1990s, he tackled themes of spirituality and esotericism, in an aesthetic that has often been compared to American graffiti artists and German neo-expressionists. His perpetual capacity for innovation translates into eminently satyrical works in which the grotesque has pride of place. The varied scenes that the artist paints using "curtains of paint", upset the hierarchies and conventions of the History of Art and its self-righteousness.
Les belles fleurs bleues. La tapisserie. La tête de veau, 1988 belongs to the production of "Natures mortes et vivantes" which were exhibited at MAC Lyon during the exhibition "Robert Combas - Greatest Hits - On commence par le début on finit par la fin" in 2012. The work we present was exhibited in room 15 on the 2nd floor, and reproduced on page 314 of the exhibition catalog.
The canvas is organized in "vignettes" within which patterns circled in black develop. The black border is one of the most typical attributes of the comic strip, which is a source of inspiration for the artist's work. The subject is a vase with blue flowers, standing out against a yellow tapestry. In this literal and literary approach that is his own, Robert Combas writes on the left of the canvas the title and subject of the work. He says as much as he represents. The sensation of seeing through the vase brings relief to the two-dimensionality of the canvas. On the right side, two intertwined faces seem to be one, a man and a calf. The interior of the vase and the interior of the man are made visible by original processes that transcend the genre of still life.