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Pierre Soulages (French: [sulaʒ] ; born 24 December 1919) is a French painter, engraver, and sculptor. In 2014 François Hollande described him as "the world's greatest living artist."
François Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande is a French politician who served as President of France and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra from 2012 to 2017. He was previously the First Secretary of the Socialist Party from 1997 to 2008, Mayor of Tulle from 2001 to 2008, and President of the Corrèze General Council from 2008 to 2012. Hollande also served in the National Assembly of France twice for the department of Corrèze's 1st constituency from 1988 to 1993, and again from 1997 to 2012.
Born in Rodez, Aveyron, in 1919, Soulages is also known as "the painter of black," owing to his interest in the colour "both as a colour and a non-colour. When light is reflected on black, it transforms and transmutes it. It opens a mental field all its own." He sees light as a work material; striations of the black surface of his paintings enable him to reflect light, allowing the black to come out of darkness and into brightness, thus becoming a luminous colour.
Rodez is a small city and commune in the South of France, about 150 km northeast of Toulouse. It is the prefecture of the department of Aveyron in the region of Occitanie. Rodez is the seat of the Communauté d'agglomération du Grand Rodez, of the First Constituency of Aveyron as well as of the general Council of Aveyron.
Aveyron is a department located in the north of the Occitanie region of southern France named after the Aveyron River.
Before World War II, Soulages already had toured museums in Paris seeking his vocation and after wartime military service, he opened a studio in Paris, holding his first exhibition at the Salon des Indépendants in 1947. He also worked as a designer of stage sets.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.
Soulages began to gain recognition in the USA in the 1950s as well. His works were included in the two major exhibitions of European artists, Younger European Painters at the Solomon R Guggenhem Museum (1953) and The New Decade: 22 European Painters and Sculptors at the Museum of Modern Art (1955) in New York.In 1979, Pierre Soulages was made a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
The American Academy of Arts and Letters is a 250-member honor society; its goal is to "foster, assist, and sustain excellence" in American literature, music, and art. Located in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City, it shares Audubon Terrace, a complex on Broadway between West 155th and 156th Streets, with the Hispanic Society of America and Boricua College.
From 1987 to 1994, he produced 104 stained glass windows for the Romanesque Abbey church Sainte-Foy in Conques (Aveyron, France).
Conques is a former commune in the Aveyron department in southern France, in the Occitanie region. On 1 January 2016, it was merged into the new commune of Conques-en-Rouergue.
France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.
Soulages is the first living artist invited to exhibit at the state Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg and later with the Tretyakov Gallery of Moscow (2001).
The State Hermitage Museum is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The second-largest art museum in the world, it was founded in 1764 when Empress Catherine the Great acquired an impressive collection of paintings from the Berlin merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky. The museum celebrates the anniversary of its founding each year on 7 December, Saint Catherine's Day. It has been open to the public since 1852.
The State Tretyakov Gallery is an art gallery in Moscow, Russia, the foremost depository of Russian fine art in the world.
Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 13.2 million residents within the city limits, 17 million within the urban area and 20 million within the metropolitan area. Moscow is one of Russia's federal cities.
A composition he created in 1959 sold for 1.200.000 euros at Sotheby's in 2006.
In 2007, the Musée Fabre of Montpellier devoted an entire room to Soulages, presenting his donation to the city. This donation includes twenty paintings dating from 1951 to 2006, among which are major works from the 1960s, two large plus-black works from the 1970s, and several large polyptychs.
A retrospective of his art was held at the Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou from October 2009 to March 2010. In 2010, the Museo de la Ciudad de Mexico presented a retrospective of Soulages' paintings that also included an interview-video with the painter (Spanish subtitles).
In 2014, Musée Soulages, opened in Rodez, France, Soulages' hometown. A museum dedicated to permanently displaying his works; plus temporary contemporary exhibitions, Soulages donated 500 works.Made in two separate donations, the paintings represent all stages of his work, from post-war oil paintings to his phase of work called Outrenoir. Together they have formed his most complete display of work from the first 30 years of his career.
Also in 2014 was Soulages' first American exhibition in 10 years, which was jointly hosted at Dominique Lévy and Galerie Perrotin, New York, in which he presented 14 of his recent works.
Soulages has said, "My instrument is not black but the light reflected from the black."Naming his own practice 'Outrenoir', (Beyond Black) the paintings he produces are known for their endless black depth, created by playing with the light reflected off of the texture of the paint. Knowing that he needed a new term to define the way that he was working, Soulages invented 'Outrenoir' to define his practice. Not having a translation into English, the closest meaning is 'beyond black.' In an interview in 2014 he explains the definition of the term, "Outrenoir doesn't exist in English; the closest is "beyond black." In French, you say "outre-Manche," "beyond the Channel," to mean England or "outre-Rhin," "beyond the Rhine," to mean Germany. In other words, "beyond black" is a different country from black."
The infatuation Soulages has with black began long before his investigations with 'Outrenoir' at the age of 60.Initially started by his interest with the prehistoric and his want of retreating to something more pure, primal and deliberately stripped of any other connotations, he says of his fascination with the colour, "during thousands of years, men went underground, in the absolute black of grottoes, to paint with black." "I made these because I found that the light reflected by the black surface elicits certain emotions in me. These aren't monochromes. The fact that light can come from the colour which is supposedly the absence of light is already quite moving, and it is interesting to see how this happens."
Applying the paint in thick layers, Soulages' painting technique includes using objects such as spoons, tiny rakes and bits of rubber to work away at the painting, often making scraping, digging or etching movements depending on whether he wants to evoke a smooth or rough surface. The texture that is then produced either absorbs or rejects light, breaking up the surface of the painting by disrupting the uniformity of the black.He often uses bold cuts in vertical and horizontal lines, the crevasses and forms created by using angles and contours. In his recent work from 2013-14 Soulages began to more explicitly vary the pigment used in the paint, mixing matt and glossy types of black as well as hardened densities of black pigment. Preferring to suspend the paintings like walls, he uses wires to hang them in the middle of the room, "I always liked paintings to be walls rather than windows. When we see a painting on a wall, it's a window, so I often put my paintings in the middle of the space to make a wall. A window looks outside, but a painting should do the opposite—it should look inside of us"
Instead of having titles, Soulages paintings are named by their size and date of production. 17 December 1966 from 1966, in the collection of the Honolulu Museum of Art demonstrates the artist's boldly brushed black on white canvases.The Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, the National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), and the Tate Gallery (London) are among the public collections holding work by Pierre Soulages.
|Year||Selected Solo Exhibition||Gallery/Museum|
|2016-2017||Noir c'est noir? Les Outrenoirs de Pierre Soulages||ArtLab EPFL, Lausanne|
|2016||Pierre Soulages: Le Noir||Museum Folkwang, Essen|
|2014||Pierre Soulages: Les Outrenoir(s)||Musée Soulages, Rodez|
|2014||Inauguration of Musée Soulages, Rodez||Musée Soulages, Rodez|
|2014||Pierre Soulages||Dominique Lévy Gallery with Galerie Perrotin, New York|
|2013||Soulages Xxle Siècle||Villa Médicis, Rome; also seen in: Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Lyon|
|2010||Pierre Soulages, New Paintings||Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London|
|2009||Pierre Soulages en Son Musée||L'Expérience RCR Arquitectes, Cité de L'Architecture et Du Patrimoine, Paris|
|2009||Pierre Soulages. Einzelausstellung Zum 90. Geburtstag||Galerie Boisserée, Köln|
|2009||Rétrospective Pierre Soulages||Galerie Pacal Lansberg, Paris|
|2009||Soulages. Le Temps Du Papier||Musée D'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg|
|2009||Soulages||Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris|
|2009||Pierre Soulages. Hommage Zum 90. Geburtstag||Galerie Rieder, Munich|
|2006||Pierre Soulages, Painting the Light||Sammlung Essl, Vienna|
|2005||Pierre Soulages: Outrenoir, Recent Paintings||Robert Miller Gallery, New York|
|2003||Soulages. L'Œurve Imprimé||Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris|
|2001||Pierre Soulages: Lumière Du Noir||Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg; also seen in: Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow|
|2000||Soulages: 82 Peintures||Les Abattoirs, Toulouse|
|1999||Soulages, Œuvres Récentes, 1994-99||Musée Fabre, Montpellier|
|1997||Pierre Soulages: Rétrospective||Centro de Exposiciones y Congresos, Saragosse|
|1996||Pierre Soulages: Noir-Lumière||Musée d'Art Moderne, Paris; also seen in: Musée des Beaux-Arts, Monréal; Museu de Arte, Sao-Paulo|
|1993||Pierre Soulages: une rétrospective||National museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; also seen in: Fine Arts Museum, Beijing; Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei|
|1992||Pierre Soulages: Polyptyques 1979-1991||Maison des Arts Georges Pompidou, Cajarc|
|1991||Pierre Soulages||Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna|
|1989||Pierre Soulages||Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne|
|1986||Peintures 1984-1986||FIAC, Paris; also seen in: Galerie de France, Paris|
|1982||Pierre Soulages: Œuvres Sur Papier||Galerie Ponce, Mexico City; also seen in: Oberhessisches Museum, Glessen; Galerie Ostertag, Francfort|
|1979||Pierre Soulages: Peintures Récentes||Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris|
|1975||Pierre Soulages: Rétrospective||Museu de Arte Moderno, Mexico City; also seen in: Musée Fabre, Montpellier; Salas del Patrimonio Artistico y Cultural, Madrid; Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbonne|
|1973||Pierre Soulages: Peintures 1964-1972||Palais des Beaux-Arts, Charleroi; also seen in Rädhus Gentofte, Copenhagen; nordjyllands Kunstmuseum, Aalborg; S.Henie-N.Onstad Artsenter, Hovikodden|
|1968||Soulages||Musée D'Art Contemporain, Montréal, also seen in: Musée Du Québec, Québec|
|1968||Pierre Soulages: Paintings Since 1963||Knoedler Gallery, New York; also seen in: Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo|
|1967||Pierre Soulages: Rétrospective||Musée National D'Art Moderne, Paris|
|1966||Pierre Soulages||Museum of Fine Arts, Houston|
|1963||Pierre Soulages: Rétrospective||NY Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen|
|1962||Pierre Soulages: Rétrospective||Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston|
|1960||Pierre Soulages: Rétrospective||Kestner Gesellschaft, Hanover; also seen in: Folkwang Museum, Essen; Gemeente Museum, The Hague; Kunsthaus, Zurich|
|1954||Pierre Soulages||Kootz Gallery, New York|
|2014||Soulages in America. (Dominique Lévy Gallery, New York)||Texts by Philippe Ungar, Harry Cooper, Sean Sweeney, Dominique Lévy|
|2011||Soulages l'oeuvre imprimé. (Bibliothèque Nationale de France/ Musée Soulages, Paris)||Edited by Pierre Encrevé, Marie-Cécile Miessner|
|2011||Pierre Soulages. (Martin-Gropius Bau, Berlin/Hirmer, Munich)||Essays by Hans Belting, Yve-Alain Bois, Pierre Encrevé, Alfred Pacquement, Serge Guilbaut, Bernard de Montferrand, Alain Seban, Joachim Sartorius, Gereon Sievernich, Hans-Ulrich Obrist; edited by Pierre Encrevé, Alfred Paquement|
|2010||Verre cartons des vitraux de Conques. (Musée Fabre, Montpellier)||Essays by Pierre Soulages, Jean-Dominique Fleury, Benoît Decron|
|2010||Pierre Soulages. (Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London)||Essays by John Yau and Mel Gooding|
|2009||Soulages, le temps du papier. (Cercle d'Art, Paris/ Musée d’Art Moderne, Contemporain de Strasbourg (MAMCS), Strasbourg)||Text by Michel Ragon, Estelle Pietrzyk, Gilbert Dupuis|
|2009||SOULAGES. (Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris)||Essays by Alain Seban, Alfred Pacquement, Pierre Encrevé, Serge Guilbaut, Yve-Alain Bois, Guitermie Maldonado, Annie Claustres, Harry Cooper, Hans Belting, Isabelle Ewig, Éric de Chassey, Hans Ulrich Obrist; Edited by Pierre Encrevé, Alfred Pacquement|
|2007||Pierre Soulages au Musée Fabre, Parcours d'un accrochage. (Interprint, Montpellier)||Photos by Vincent Cunillère; Essays by Georges Frêche, Michel Hilaire, Emmanuel Nebout, Laurence Javal, Olivier Brochet, Yves Larbiou, Dan McEnroe, Thierry Dieudonnat, Pierre Susini, Claude Cougnenc, Pierre Encrevé|
|2006||Pierre Soulages. Painting the light. (Sammlung Essl, Klosterneuburg-Vienna)||Essays by Karlheinz Essl, Andrea Rygg Karberg|
|2001||Soulages - Lumière du noir. (Paris-Musées, Paris)||Essays by Mikhaïl Piotrovsky, Suzanne Pagé, Albert Kosténévitch, Pierre Encrevé, JeanClaude Marcadé; Preface by Vladimir Yakovlev, Bertrand Delanoë, maire de Paris|
|1999||Pierre Soulages, Célébration de la lumière. (Skira-Le Seuil, Paris/Musée des Beaux-Arts, Berne)||Essays by Sandor Kuthy, Pierre Soulages|
|1998||Soulages, L'oeuvre complet, Peintures III, 1979-1997. (Seuil, Paris)||Text by Pierre Encrevé|
|1997||Pierre Soulages, Malerei als farbe und licht, Rétrospective 1946-1997. (Deichtorhallen, Hamburg)||Essays by Zdenek Felix, Robert Fleck, Charles Juliet|
|1996||Soulages, Noir lumière. (Musée d'Art Moderne, Paris)||Essays by Suzanne Pagé, Jean-Louis Andral, Pierre Encrevé, Robert Fleck, Donald Kuspit, William Rubin|
|1996||Soulages. (Flammarion, Paris: pp. 87–149)||Interview with the artist by Bernard Ceysson|
|1994||Pierre Soulages: une retrospective (Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei/National Museum of China, Beijing)||Essays by Huang Kuang-nan, Alfred Pacquement, Jean-Paul Réau, François Marcel Plaisant|
|1994||Les vitraux de Soulages (Seuil, Paris)||Georges Duby, Christian Heck|
|1993||Pierre Soulages: une retrospective (Musée National d'Art Contemporain, Séoul)||Essays by Young-Bang Lim, Alfred Pacquement, Bernard Prague|
|1992||Pierre Soulages, polyptyques 1979-1991 (Maison des Arts Georges Pompidou, Cajarc)||Essays by Pierre Daix, Pierre Encrevé, Claire Stoullig|
|1991||Soulages, peintures récentes (Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna)||Essays by Lorand Hegyi, Alfred Pacquement|
|1990||Polyptyques (Le Louvre, Paris)||Text by Isabelle Monod-Fontaine|
|1989||Soulages: 40 jahre malerei (German ed. Museum Fridericianum, Kassel/Cantz Verlag, Stuttgart)||Text by Veit Loers, Bernard Ceysson|
|1989||Soulages: 40 ans de peinture (French ed. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes)||Essays by Henry-Claude Cousseau, Veit Loers|
|1989||Soulages: 40 anos de pintura (Spanish ed. Institut Valencià d'Art Modern, Valencia)||Essays by Bernard Ceysson, Veit Loers|
|1987||Nous avons visité le Musée d'Orsay avec Pierre Soulages (L'Evénement du Jeudi, Paris: pp. 82–84)||Interview with the artist by Jean-Louis Pradel|
|1987||Pierre Soulages (Musée Saint-Pierre Art Contemporain, Lyon/Hans Thoma-Gesellschaft, Reutlingen)||Essays by Georges Duby, Pierre Encrevé, Henri Meschonnic, Werner Meyer, Thierry Raspail, Clément Rosset|
|1984||Soulages (Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo)||Essays by Taka Ashido Okada, d'Alfred Pacquement|
|1980||Soulages, peintures récentes (Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris/Musée du Parc de la Boverie, Liège)||Essays by Pontus Hulten, Alfred Pacquement|
|1976||Soulages (Musée d'Art et d'Industrie, Saint-Etienne: p. 5-32, 42)||Interview with the artist by Bernard Ceysson|
|1975||L'aventure de l'art moderne (1): Pierre Soulages (Galerie Jardin des Arts, Paris: September, p. 150)||Interview with the artist by André Parinaud|
|1974||Soulages, peintures, gravures (1st ed. Musée Dynamique, Dakar/Fundaçào Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon)||Text by Léopold Sédar Senghor|
Oscar-Claude Monet was a French painter, a founder of French Impressionist painting and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein air landscape painting. The term "Impressionism" is derived from the title of his painting Impression, soleil levant, which was exhibited in 1874 in the first of the independent exhibitions mounted by Monet and his associates as an alternative to the Salon de Paris.
Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement characterized by relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities, ordinary subject matter, inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles. Impressionism originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, commonly known as Auguste Renoir, was a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. As a celebrator of beauty and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that "Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to Watteau." He was the father of actor Pierre Renoir (1885–1952), filmmaker Jean Renoir (1894–1979) and ceramic artist Claude Renoir (1901–1969). He was the grandfather of the filmmaker Claude Renoir (1913–1993), son of Pierre.
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