Pierre SOULAGES (né en 1919)

Lot 46
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600000 - 1000000 EUR
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Result : 1 228 560EUR
Pierre SOULAGES (né en 1919)
Peinture 102 x 81 cm, 30 mai 1981, 1981 Oil on canvas, signed, dated and titled on reverse 102.3 x 80.3 cm 40 5/32 x 31 57/64 in. “Things don't have a meaning, they have an existence.” French painter and printmaker, Pierre Soulages is among the world's most renowned contemporary artists. As famous as the artist himself, Soulages' Outrenoir permeates the customs of contemporary art. Having produced over 1,550 paintings, he has established himself as a major figure of abstraction whose compositions still arouse curiosity. Formed of large dark lines, with curves rich in meaning, they affirm the astonishing simplicity of the artist. Pierre Soulages was born on December 24, 1919 in Aveyron. Attracted by the classical arts, he became interested in Romanesque art and prehistory at a very young age, which fed his first paintings in the province of Rodez. It is the old stones and the eroded materials that arouse his curiosity as a child. Still unaware of contemporary art trends, Soulages developed a personal and isolated style. In 1926, while he was in boarding school, his father died suddenly, carried away by illness. "I was raised by two mothers who were in mourning. At the age of eight, his ambitions as an abstract painter were already being expressed on paper, as he drew a snowy landscape; "What I wanted to do with my ink," he says, "was to make the white of the paper even whiter, brighter, like the snow. At least that is the explanation I give now. ". At the age of 18, Soulages went to Paris and prepared for the entrance exam to the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, under the guidance of his teacher, René Jaudon. Painting daily, nature and its landscapes become recurrent subjects of his work. The black line on light backgrounds of his first paintings, already in 1934, reveals the genesis of his artistic fiber. Admitted to the Beaux-Arts, Soulages gave up and returned to Rodez. During the Second World War, the artist was only briefly mobilized, which allowed him to devote himself fully to painting from 1946. In stark contrast to the figurative and colorful paintings of the post-war period, the works of Pierre Soulages were quickly noticed in the artistic center of the Parisian suburbs, where he settled. In the 1950s, the artist began to work in engraving, with the intention of renewing his pictorial technique. During these same years, Soulages took part in numerous group exhibitions in New York, London and Copenhagen, which contributed to his worldwide fame. On April 14, 1979, Soulages presented his first canvas covered entirely in black. He had just invented the Outrenoir, which has since become an essential part of contemporary painting. Today, this first canvas, a monument of the artist's painting, is kept at the Fabre Museum in Montpellier. Pierre Soulages is above all a painter of black and light. Through his perfectly mastered play of light, his canvases escape monochrome, highlighting textures and reflections. In his variations of black, the artist seeks to achieve perfection, using multiple tools that highlight a high level of technical mastery. Painting is for him a technique that reveals light, in symbiosis with walnut stain, an inexpensive medium that he uses in a still difficult context. "The more limited the means, the stronger the expression". In 2001, Pierre Soulages became the first living artist to be exhibited at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and at the Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow. The artist donated 250 paintings and drawings, enabling the creation of the Soulages Museum in Rodez in 2019, which he selected from his early works. The first temporary exhibition opens on this occasion, "Outrenoir in Europe, museums and foundations". Today, Pierre Soulages is represented in more than 110 museums on all continents. The work Pierre Soulages makes an art, he says, "which does not transmit meaning, but makes sense [...], which is above all a thing that we like to see, that we like to frequent, origin and object of a dynamic of sensitivity. Pierre Soulages is experiencing the definitive consecration of the public and institutions on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Indeed, the Louvre Museum decides to organize in Paris an exceptional exhibition entitled "Soulages at the Louvre" from December 11, 2019 to March 9, 2020 in the Salon Carré. Only two other living artists have had this immense privilege: Picasso and Chagall. This major exhibition definitively places Pierre Soulages and his work among the greatest artists of the last hundred years.
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