Legend has it that no one took notice of Jackson Pollock’s first exhibitions in Paris, but an anonymous Hungarian immigrant named Judit Reigl did.
Olivier Mosset’s career could almost be seen as a grand Fluxus-style gesture of quiet provocation.
For Christian Bonnefoi, it is when the painter disappears as the author of a painting that the artwork emerges.
With the death of the French painter Roger Bissière in 1964, a whole chapter of Modernism, one that we could call the “Primitive Paradigm,” came to a close.
If Frank Stella’s ambition and insatiable visual voracity were exhilarating at first, the paintings’ often overbearing size and physicality also left the viewer, time and again, with the unsettling feeling of being wrestled to the ground.
Some abstract painters are harder to fathom than others. In fact a few of them seem quite hopelessly indecipherable. A case in point is French painter Martin Barré (1924-1996), who has been receiving increasing and well-deserved attention in New York these past ten years.
The postwar art scene in Paris was dominated on one side by a disproportionate humanist optimism bent on reconnecting with the great French tradition of Cubism and Fauvism, as if nothing had happened in between.
Last summer, at the opening of his exhibition at the David Zwirner Gallery, the painter James Bishop mentioned in passing his strong interest in Bram van Velde’s work.
For those who have been watching the critical misfortunes of Supports/Surfaces on the New York art scene over the years, it is a welcome surprise that, after decades of relative indifference, the movement finally seems to be getting some deserved attention.
The retrospective of Russian-born painter Serge Poliakoff, which just closed at the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris, was both a welcome surprise and something of an anachronism. One would be hard pressed to find clues in the current international art scene, or even in the secondary market, to explain the royal treatment lavished by a well-funded institution on an artist almost forgotten today.
In 1983, at the height of his career, Simon Hantaï (1922–2008), then sixty years old, decided to withdraw from the art scene and stop exhibiting his work, if not to stop painting altogether. He would not show again until 1998, a fifteen-year hiatus and self-imposed silence that echo with more force as time goes by. Why, we may wonder, would an artist at the top of his game, especially someone of Hantaï’s stature, do such a thing?
My first exposure to Eugène Leroy’s (1910–2000) work goes back to 1973: a small group in just as small a storefront in an eighteenth-century Flemish baroque-style building close to the historical center of Lille, a city on the French/Belgian border. I only went to see the show — mostly Flemish regional artists all of the same generation — at the insistence of some of my beaux-arts student friends. We stood in silence in front of a medium size painting by Leroy, trying to make sense of the profligacy of paint in front of us when we could barely afford the few tubes of oil paint we needed for our studies.