« Our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness »
Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977)


André Marfaing, born in Toulouse in 1925, began his artistic career after studying law. A passionate self-taught artist, he enrolled on sculpture and painting courses in Toulouse before deciding to leave his home town and settle in the Paris region. Over the years, his path crossed that of eminent figures from the new Paris school, such as Pierre Soulages, Fernand Léger, Maurice Estève, Alfred Manessier, Roger Bissière and Gérard Schneider. These encounters had a considerable influence on his style, which evolved from figuration to abstraction. He created his first abstract work in 1953, laying the foundations for his lifelong quest for radical, ambivalent painting, a symbol of the ineffable struggle between natural antagonisms.

The artist himself describes the early years of his research as "Abstract and Material". Up until the 60s, his works were characterised by a strong materiality, already favouring the play of contrasts between black and white. The 70s marked a significant turning point, with the abandonment of oils in favour of acrylics. His works became more meditative, minimalist, ascetic and architectural; his gestures became more restrained and controlled. At the end of his life, the canvas became purer, in a kind of asceticism between black and white. Often, black covered the entire canvas, leaving only a white crack, like a fissure of light.

Throughout his life, André Marfaing has remained faithful to a radical conception of abstraction. A tireless explorer, constantly questioning the conflict between light and shadow, fullness and emptiness, nothingness and being, his art is imbued with spirituality. His latest works tend towards an ultimate simplicity, finally reaching that balance where the tension of the line responds to the stable writing of the volumes.


Over the last four years, Marfaing's market value has grown exponentially, culminating in 2023 with the remarkable figure of €860,624 for all his works sold on the secondary market, according to Artprice. This success testifies not only to the growing recognition of his talent on the art scene, but also to the growing appeal of his creations among collectors and art lovers. Marfaing's work can be seen at numerous art fairs, including Art Paris, FAB, Art Basel, BRAFA, Modern Art Fair and many others. They can also be seen in the collections of the Musée d'Art Moderne (MAM) in Paris, the Centre Pompidou, the Fondation Gandour in Geneva, etc.

In recent years, Aguttes has had the privilege of offering several works by André Marfaing for sale, reflecting the growing interest in this exceptional artist. Two particularly noteworthy compositions have aroused great enthusiasm among art lovers at previous auctions.  Composition 1984, auctioned on 14 December 2020, and Composition 1968, auctioned on 22 November 2023, both far exceeded estimates, underlining the quality and value of Marfaing's work on the art market.

André Marfaing (1925-1987), Composition, 1984
Acrylic on canvas, signed and dated lower right
24 x 19 cm
Sold for €8,100 on 14 December 2020


André Marfaing (1925-1987), Sans titre, 1968
Oil on canvas, signed and dated lower left
22 x 16 cm
Sold for €26,000 on 22 November in 2023


We are delighted to announce the sale on 11 April of an exceptional work, Composition from 1974. This large-scale work (115 x 89 cm) offers a rare immersion into the heart of a fundamental period in the development of the artist's style. For him, this was a meditative, minimalist, ascetic and architectural phase. This particular piece is distinguished by the rare presence of an ochre background, an unusual choice in Marfaing's palette.

At first glance, the observer is struck by the artist's exceptional mastery of gesture. The lines and shapes are meticulously structured, revealing a deep understanding of the balance between full and empty. In the centre of the painting, the pictorial material thickens, creating a focal point that draws attention without detracting from the overall harmony of the composition.

Here, Marfaing opts for a subtle interplay of light and shadow, creating a striking visual tension. Ochre and black blend masterfully, evoking a dialogue between the warmth of colour and the depth of darkness.Contemplating this piece, you can't help but feel the spiritual influence that permeates all of Marfaing's work. Each brushstroke seems to be a meditation, a constant exploration of the conflict between light and shadow, between nothingness and being. This 1974 Composition bears witness not only to the artist's technical skill, but also to his ability to achieve a perfect balance in which the tension of the brushstrokes meets the stable writing of the volumes.

André Marfaing (1925-1987), Abstraction, 1974
Acrylic on canvas, signed and dated lower right
115 x 89 cm
Provenance :
Galerie Ariel, Paris
Vente Me Martin du Nord, 24 mai 1989
Collection privée, France

Estimate: €65,000 - €80,000
For sale on 11 April 2024

Upcoming Post-war & Contemporary Art sale
Thursday 11 April 2024 at 3.00 pm

For any further information or to include a lot in our auctions, please contact
Ophélie Guillerot
+33 (0)1 47 45 93 02