Composition, c. 1961
Oil on canvas, signed with monogram "GvV" lower right and countersigned "G van Velde" on reverse
162 x 162 cm - 63 25 / 32 x 65 25 / 32 in.
GEER VAN VELDE
Geer van Velde (1898-1977) was a "studio pain - ter". This studio, which he finally had in 1945, in Cachan, was to become both the home and the tool of his work and the main theme of his work for over ten years. In the "studios", landscapes and still lifes are present but by discreet and measured evocation: the sky through a glass roof, a distant urban horizon in a large cross window or some indistinct objects assembled on a table. What matters is the space, the light and the depth of things. These "workshops" will be followed by the large abstract and dynamic compositions of the 1960s in which the artist still declines his tones of white, blue and gray, brown and ochre. The magnificent 1961 canvas presented by Aguttes offers colors that are rather rare in Geer van Velde's palette; alternating bands of orange and green strongly structure the work. But when the artist paints a canvas of this size (162 x 162 cm), a format he has only had since 1960, it is because the stakes are high. Our large composition, although abstract, seems to evoke the cupolas of some distant city visited during a previous trip but also the canvases of capitals erected for the feasts of Saint Peter in Cagnes-sur-Mer where the artist stayed from 1938 to 1944. Indeed, at all times of his work, the landscapes of his memory, almost without nature: sea and terrace, ports, cities and polders, invite themselves in the work of Geer van Velde. But should we look? Can we know? Interviewed, September 6th, 2021 Pierre François Moget, expert of the artist
"If you forget the material and penetrate into the heart of life, you move forward. What is essential is not the visible but the inner world. Invisible, I would even say non-existent. You are looking for exact forms for things that have no name, and that is why the responsibility of the artist is great. It would be much less if you expressed yourself with controllable things. For each painting, it is a merciless struggle. In the end, there is a guiding line in every painting. This line is you, your character, your certainty, your being. That my work is conside - red serene and luminous comes from the fact that one should not talk about misery. To be unhappy is a private luxury. It is better to share your joy with others. Misery is a way to measure happiness. Just as music needs silences..." "It is a question of light, the one that breaks the color. And there is a movement that crosses the light, that is what creates the tension. Only the shadows penetrate inside this light. I am looking everywhere for absolute space. In the end, everything I do is an image of myself. Sometimes I sit in front of my canvas for days or weeks before I dare to attack it. Before it lets me in. I only dare to attack the blank canvas if the idea has taken shape in me. That is why in recent years I have chosen the square, or almost square, as my format. This way there is no direction to start working and building the canvas. A painting in height or width, on the other hand, by its size, already indicates a certain direction. If I don't attack the canvas, it attacks me. Bachelard, Patrice, Samuel Beckett, Abraham-Marie Hammacher, Piet Moget, and Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris. Geer Van Velde, 1898-1977: pain - tings and works on paper. Paris, France: Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris, 1982. P.16