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Art Gallery the Eye and the Hand

Famous collectors

Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller is a Swiss collector, born in Geneva in 1930.


He has been under the influence of a passionnate father : poetry, philosophy, musicor science (he got his PhD in biology at the age of 47).

After law studies in Geneva and London, he registers at the Bar and become manager, at the age of 28, of a financial society. In 1960, he creates his own society, the Private Society of Managment, specialized in the managment of the housing stock and construction of social flats.

Collector as his father-in-law Josef Mueller, he goes in for « non-western » arts. With his wife Monique, he creates in 1977 the Barbier-Mueller museum, which organize more than seventy-five exhibitions, most of them attended with importants catalogues, presenting the differents sections of the familial collection, with the contribution of major european, american and asian museums. He carries out or finances researches in Sumatra, in Ivory Coast and Guinea. He’s one of the best expert of the Batak ethnic group, in the north of Sumatra. In may 1997, the Barbier-Mueller precolombian art museum opens opposite to the Picasso museum, in Barcelona. The town council offers a long-time loan from the Nadal Palace to expose around 400 works of art from Pre-Hispanic America.

Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller is also a recognized specialist of the poetry and the french history of the 16th century. Bibliophile since the age of 13, he has gathered one of the most full library devoted to Ronsard and other authors of the Pléiade. Entitled « Ma Bibliothèque poétique », the catalogue of this collection count 7 volumes already published. Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller has also written many articles for journals such as « Bibliothèque d’humanisme », « Renaissance » or « Le Bulletin du bibliophile » in the area of books and litterature history. In 1997, he created, in favour of the Geneva University, the Barbier-Mueller Foundation for the study of the Renaissance italian poetry, which gather almost 500 volumes of rare editions of poetry from the 14th to the 16th century. The catalogue of this fund, written by the professor Jean Balsamo, has been published in June 2007.


Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller is in France
Grand Officer of the Legion of Honorand commandor of the Officer of the Arts and Litterature. Furthermore, he’s commendatore dell’Ordine al merito della Repubblica italiana, officer of the Royal Order of Isabelle the Catholic, Grand Officier of the spanish Royal Order of the Civil Merit and Officer of the Order of the Merit of Ivory Coast.


Writtings and personnal studies

    * « Ronsard est-il l’auteur de trois poèmes inconnus contre les Jésuites ? », dans Bulletin du Bibliophile, IV, 1975, pp. 363 sqq.
    * Ma Bibliothèque poétique – Première partie : éditions des XVe et XVIe siècles des principaux poètes français (de Guillaume Lorris à Louise Labé), Genève, Éditions Droz, 1973
    * Ma Bibliothèque poétique – Deuxième partie : Ronsard, Genève, Éditions Droz, 1990
    * Ma Bibliothèque poétique – Troisième partie : Ceux de la Pléiade, Genève, Éditions Droz, 1994
    * Bibliographie des discours politiques de Ronsard, collection « Travaux d’Humaniste et Renaissance », Genève, Éditions Droz, 1996 (édition revue et augmentée)
    * Ma Bibliothèque poétique – Quatrième partie, tome I : contemporains et successeurs de Ronsard (d'Aubigné à Des Masures), Genève, Éditions Droz, 1998
    * Ma Bibliothèque poétique – Quatrième partie, tome II : contemporains et successeurs de Ronsard (de Desportes à L’Aubespine), Genève, Éditions Droz, 2001
    * Ma Bibliothèque poétique – Quatrième partie, tome III : contemporains et successeurs de Ronsard (de La Gessée à Malherbe), Genève, Éditions Droz, 2002
    * « Jean de Chevigny et Jean-Aymé de Chavigny », dans Bibliothèque d’humanisme et Renaissance, LXIII-2, Genève, Éditions Droz, 2004, pp. 297-304
    * « Jean Édouard du Monin, voleur de feu… d’artifice – Essai biographique », dans Bibliothèque d’humanisme et Renaissance, LXVI-2, Genève, Éditions Droz, 2004, pp. 311-330
    * Ma Bibliothèque poétique - Quatrième partie, tome IV : contemporains et successeurs de Ronsard (de Des Marquets à Pasquier), Genève, Éditions Droz, 2005
    * « Pour une chronologie des premières éditions de la Satyre Ménippée(1593-1594) », dans Bibliothèque d’humanisme et Renaissance, LXVII-2, Genève, Éditions Droz, 2005, pp. 373-394
    * La Paroleet les Armes – Chronique des Guerres de Religion en France (1562-1598), Paris, Éditions Hazan, 2006 Compte-rendu [archive]

To be published

    * « Trois poètes réformés à Genève : Goulart, Poupo et Du Chesne » (à paraître dans les actes du colloque Goulart de 2006)
    * « Un disciple peu connu de Ronsard : Antoine de Blondel et le cénacle de Douai » (à paraître dans Revue des Amis de Ronsard, 2008)
    * Ma Bibliothèque poétique, Quatrième partie, tomes V et VI
    * Dictionnaire biographique des poètes français de 1550 à 1630


    * Avec André Jeanneret, Christian Kaufmann, Jean Laude, William Rubin et Claude Savary, Arts d’Océanie, d’Afrique et d’Amérique, Genève, Musée Barbier-Mueller, 1977 (130 pages, 28 ill. couleur et N/B)
    * Avec Octavio Paz, Michel Butor, Henri Stierlin, Danièle Lavallée et alii, Art millénaire des Amériques, Paris et Genève, Éditions Arthaud et Musée Barbier-Mueller, 1992 (384 pages, 154 photos, 148 planches couleur, 9 cartes géographiques en couleur)
    * Avec Michel Butor, Parures, Paris, Éditions de l’Imprimerie nationale, 1994 (248 pages, 175 photos couleur)
    * Avec Renato Caprini, Monique Barbier-Mueller, William Rubin, Franz Meyer, Pierre Schneider, John Russell et Jean Tinguely, De Cézanne à “l’art nègre” - Parcours d’un collectionneur, Genève, Musée Barbier-Mueller, 1997 (121 pages, 54 planches et 31 ill. en couleur et deux tons)
    * Avec Ian C. Glover, Janet Hoskins, Alain Viaro et Arlette Ziegler, Messages de pierre, Milan, Éditions Skira, 1998 (211 pages, 53 ill., 52 planches couleur, 6 cartes géographiques)


    * Indonésie et Mélanésie, Genève, Musée Barbier-Mueller, 1977 (120 pages, 160 ill. N/B, 37 cartes géographiques)
    * En pays toba – Les lambeaux de la tradition, Genève, Musée Barbier-Mueller, 1982 (238 pages, 175 ill. N/B, 31 ill. couleur, 3 cartes géographiques)
    * Art des Steppes, Genève, Musée Barbier-Mueller, 1996 (75 pages, 27 photos couleur, 1 carte géographique)
    * Guide de l’Art précolombien, Milan, Éditions Skira, 1997 (102 pages, 77 photos couleur, 8 cartes géographiques)
    * Civilisations disparues, avec une préface de Jean-François Revel, de l’Académie française, Paris, Éditions Assouline, 2000 (432 pages, 33 ill. N/B, 247 ill. couleur, 19 cartes)
    * Rêves de collection, sept millénaires de sculptures inédites, Paris et Genève, Éditions Somogy et Musée Barbier-Mueller, 2003 (193 pages, 70 planches couleur, 9 cartes géographiques)


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Image Paul Guillaume
From humble beginnings, Paul Guillaume (1891–1934) rose to become one of the leading cultural players and art dealer-collectors of Paris in the early twentieth century. Guillaume died at the age of forty-two, by which time he had amassed an outstanding private collection of works by leading modernists. Unlike many art collectors of the time, Guillaume did not come from a wealthy and cultivated background, nor was he only interested in simply supplying works of art for customer demand like other art dealers. He also actively promoted certain aspects of the artistic and cultural life of Paris, providing moral and material support to artists, and interpreting the art of his time for his contemporaries. This approach, while not uncommon today, was innovative at the time and had previously been attempted by only a few courageous dealer-collectors in Paris, such as Paul Durand-Ruel and Ambroise Vollard. Guillaume was celebrated by the artists whom he supported; for instance in Modigliani's portrait the words Novo Pilota, or ‘new helmsman’, identify the sitter as being at the forefront of modern art.

Guillaume's premature death prevented his dream – of transforming his private collection to a museum of modern art – from being realised. After his death Domenica, his widow and heir, remarried and modified the existing collection, selling some of the more extreme avant-garde works (and later his collection of African art and modern sculpture) and acquiring works of a more conservative character. Domenica's concern to promote harmony among the works in the Guillaume collection made her edited version of the collection all the more typically a capsule of Parisian taste in the 1920s. Before he died, Paul Guillaume had resolved to give his collection to the Louvre. Domenica, a lover of Impressionist art (Monet's Argenteuil 1875 was one of her last acquisitions), sought to intertwine her late husband's philanthropic impulses with her own. After much negotiation, the French state acquired the collection in two consignments in 1959 and 1963 and housed it in the refurbished Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris, which was at the time attached to the Louvre for administrative purposes. The Orangerie now housed not only Monet's major Water Lilies cycle of paintings, but also the magnificent collection bearing the names of Domenica's two husbands, Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume. The collection has been on permanent display since 1984.

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André Derain (10 June 1880 – 8 September 1954) was a French painter and co-founder of Fauvism with Henri Matisse.


André Derain was born in 1880 in Chatou, Yvelines, Île-de-France, just outside Paris. In 1898, while studying to be an engineer at the Académie Camillo, he attended painting classes under Eugène Carrière, and there met Matisse. In 1900, he met and shared a studio with Maurice de Vlaminck and began to paint his first landscapes. His studies were interrupted from 1901 to 1904 when he was conscriptedinto the French army. Following his release from service, Matisse persuaded Derain's parents to allow him to abandon his engineering career and devote himself solely to painting; subsequently Derain attended the Académie Julian.

Derain and Matisse worked together through the summer of 1905 in the Mediterraneanvillage of Collioureand later that year displayed their highly innovative paintings at the Salon d'Automne. The vivid, unnatural colors led the critic Louis Vauxcelles to derisively dub their works as les Fauves, or "the wild beasts", marking the start of the Fauvist movement. In March 1906, the noted art dealer Ambroise Vollard sent Derain to London to compose a series of paintings with the city as subject. In 30 paintings (29 of which are still extant), Derain put forth a portrait of London that was radically different from anything done by previous painters of the city such as Whistler or Monet. With bold colors and compositions, Derain painted multiple pictures of the Thames and Tower Bridge. These London paintings remain among his most popular work.

In 1907 art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler purchased Derain's entire studio, granting Derain financial stability. He experimented with stone sculpture and moved to Montmartre to be near his friend Pablo Picasso and other noted artists.

At Montmartre, Derain began to shift from the brilliant Fauvist palette to more muted tones, showing the influence of Cubism and Paul Cézanne. Derain supplied woodcuts in primitiviststyle for an edition of Guillaume Apollinaire's first book of prose, L'enchanteur pourrissant (1909). He displayed works at the Neue Künstlervereinigung in Munich in 1910, in1912 at the secessionist Der Blaue Reiter and in 1913 at the seminal Armory Show in New York. He also illustrated a collection of poems by Max Jacob in 1912.

At about this time Derain's work began overtly reflecting his study of the old masters. The role of color was reduced and forms became austere; the years 1911-1914 are sometimes referred to as his gothic period. In 1914 he was mobilized for military service in World War I and until his release in 1919 he would have little time for painting, although in 1916 he provided a set of illustrations for André Breton's first book, Mont de Piete.

After the war, Derain won new acclaim as a leader of the renewed classicismthen ascendant. With the wildness of his Fauve years far behind, he was admired as an upholder of tradition. In 1919 he designed the balletLa Boutique fantasque for Diaghilev, leader of the Ballets Russes. A major success, it would lead to his creating many ballet designs.

The 1920s marked the height of his success, as he was awarded the Carnegie Prize in 1928 and began to exhibit extensively abroad — in London, Berlin, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, New York City and Cincinnati, Ohio.

During the German occupation of France in World War II, Derain lived primarily in Paris and was much courted by the Germans because he represented the prestige of French culture. Derain accepted an invitation to make an official visit to Germany in 1941, traveling with other French artists to Berlin to attend an exhibition by Nazi sculptor Arno Breker. The Nazi propagandamachine naturally made much of Derain's presence in Germany, and after the Liberationhe was branded a collaborator and ostracized by many former supporters.

A year before his death, he contracted an eye infection from which he never fully recovered. He died in Garches, Hauts-de-Seine, Île-de-France, France in 1954 when he was struck by a moving vehicle.

Today, paintings by Derain sell for as much as US$6 million. The London paintings were the subject of a major exhibition at the Courtauld Institute in 2005-06.



  • Clement, Russell (1994). Les Fauves: A Sourcebook. Greenwood Press. Cowling, Elizabeth; Mundy, Jennifer (1990). On Classic Ground: Picasso, Léger, de Chirico and the New Classicism 1910-1930. London: Tate Gallery. Hamilton, George Heard (1993). Painting and Sculpture in Europe, 1880-1940. Yale University Press.
  • Sotriffer, Kristian (1972). Expressionism and Fauvism. McGraw-Hill.

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Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso (25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973) was an Andalusian-Spanishpainter, draughtsman, and sculptor. As one of the most recognized figures in twentieth-century art, he is best known for co-founding the Cubistmovement and for the wide variety of styles embodied in his work. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) and his depiction of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War, Guernica (1937)


Picasso was baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima TrinidadClito, a series of names honouring various saints and relatives. Added to these were Ruíz and Picasso, for his father and mother, respectively, as per Spanish custom. Born in the city of Málaga in the Andalusian region of Spain, he was the first child of Don José Ruiz y Blasco (1838–1913) and María Picasso y López. Picasso’s family was middle-class; his father was also a painter who specialized in naturalistic depictions of birds and other game. For most of his life Ruiz was a professor of art at the School of Crafts and a curatorof a local museum. Ruiz’s ancestors were minor aristocrats.

The young Picasso showed a passion and a skill for drawing from an early age; according to his mother, his first words were “piz, piz”, a shortening of lápiz, the Spanish word for ‘pencil’. From the age of seven, Picasso received formal artistic training from his father in figure drawing and oil painting. Ruiz was a traditional, academic artist and instructor who believed that proper training required disciplined copying of the masters, and drawing the human body from plaster casts and live models. His son became preoccupied with art to the detriment of his classwork.

The family moved to La Coruñain 1891 so his father could become a professor at the School of Fine Arts. They stayed almost four years. On one occasion the father found his son painting over his unfinished sketch of a pigeon. Observing the precision of his son’s technique, Ruiz felt that the thirteen-year-old Picasso had surpassed him, and vowed to give up painting.

In 1895, Picasso's seven-year old sister, Conchita, died of diphtheria—a traumatic event in his life. After her death, the family moved to Barcelona, with Ruiz transferring to its School of Fine Arts. Picasso thrived in the city, regarding it in times of sadness or nostalgia as his true home. Ruiz persuaded the officials at the academy to allow his son to take an entrance exam for the advanced class. This process often took students a month, but Picasso completed it in a week, and the impressed jury admitted Picasso, who was still 13. The student lacked discipline but made friendships that would affect him in later life. His father rented him a small room close to home so Picasso could work alone, yet Ruiz checked up on him numerous times a day, judging his son’s drawings. The two argued frequently.

Picasso’s father and uncle decided to send the young artist to Madrid’s Royal Academy of San Fernando, the foremost art school in the country. In 1897, Picasso, age 16, set off for the first time on his own. Yet his difficulties accepting formal instruction led him to stop attending class soon after enrollment. Madrid, however, held many other attractions: the Prado housed paintings by the venerable Diego Velázquez, Francisco Goya, and Francisco Zurbarán. Picasso especially admired the works of El Greco; their elements, like elongated limbs, arresting colors, and mystical visages, are echoed in Picasso’s œuvre.

Personal life

After studying art in Madrid, Picasso made his first trip to Paris in 1900, then the art capital of Europe. There, he met his first Parisian friend, the journalist and poet Max Jacob, who helped Picasso learn the language and its literature. Soon they shared an apartment; Max slept at night while Picasso slept during the day and worked at night. These were times of severe poverty, cold, and desperation. Much of his work had to be burned to keep the small room warm. During the first five months of 1901, Picasso lived in Madrid, where he and his anarchistfriend Francisco de Asís Soler founded the magazine Arte Joven (Young Art), which published five issues. Soler solicited articles and Picasso illustrated the journal, mostly contributing grim cartoons depicting and sympathizing with the state of the poor. The first issue was published on 31 March 1901, by which time the artist had started to sign his work simply Picasso, while before he had signed Pablo Ruiz y Picasso.

In the early twentieth century, Picasso divided his time between Barcelonaand Paris. In 1904, inthe middle of a storm, he met Fernande Olivier, a Bohemian artist who became his mistress.[3] Olivier appears in many of his Rose period paintings. After acquiring fame and some fortune, Picasso left Olivier for Marcelle Humbert, whom he called Eva Gouel. Picasso included declarations of his love for Eva in many Cubist works. Picasso was devastated by her premature death from illness at the age of 30 in 1915.

By 1905 Picasso became a favorite of the American art collectors Leo and Gertrude Stein. Their older brother Michael Stein and his wife Sarah also became collectors of his work. Picasso painted portraits of both Gertrude Stein and her nephew Allan Stein.[8]Gertrude Stein began acquiring his drawings and paintings and exhibiting them in her informal Salon at her home in Paris. At one of her gatherings in 1905 he met Henri Matisse who was to become a lifelong friend and rival. The Steins introduced him to Claribel Coneand her sister Etta who were American art collectors; who also began to acquire Picasso and Matisse's paintings. Eventually Leo Stein moved to Italy, and Michael and Sarah Stein became patrons of Matisse; while Gertrude Stein continued to collect Picasso.

In 1907 Picasso joined the art gallery that had recently been opened in Paris by Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. Kahnweiler was a German art historian, art collector who became one of the premier French Art dealersof the 20th century. He became prominent in Paris beginning in 1907 for being among the first champions of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and Cubism. Kahnweiler championed burgeoning artists such as André Derain,Kees Van Dongen, Fernand Léger, Juan Gris,Maurice de Vlaminck and several others who had come from all over the globe to live and work in Montparnasseat the time.

In Paris, Picasso entertained a distinguished coterie of friends in the Montmartreand Montparnasse quarters, including André Breton, poet Guillaume Apollinaire, writer Alfred Jarry, and Gertrude Stein. Apollinaire was arrested on suspicion of stealingthe Mona Lisafrom the Louvrein 1911. Apollonaire pointed to his friend Picasso, who was also brought in for questioning, but both were later exonerated.

He maintained a number of mistresses in addition to his wife or primary partner. Picasso was married twice and had four children by three women. In the summer of 1918, Picasso married Olga Khokhlova, a ballerina with Sergei Diaghilev’s troupe, for whom Picasso was designing a ballet, Parade, in Rome; and they spent their honeymoon in the villa near Biarritz of the glamorous Chilean art patron Eugenia Errázuriz. Khokhlova introduced Picasso to high society, formal dinner parties, and all the social niceties attendant on the life of the rich in 1920s Paris. The two had a son, Paulo, who would grow up to be a dissolute motorcycle racer and chauffeur to his father. Khokhlova’s insistence on social propriety clashed with Picasso’s bohemiantendencies and the two lived in a state of constant conflict. During the same period that Picasso collaborated with Diaghilev’s troup, he and Igor Stravinsky collaborated on Pulcinella in 1920. Picasso took the opportunity to make several sketches of the composer. In 1927 Picasso met 17 year old Marie-Thérèse Walter and began a secret affair with her. Picasso’s marriage to Khokhlova soon ended in separation rather than divorce, as French law required an even division of property in the case of divorce, and Picasso did not want Khokhlova to have half his wealth. The two remained legally married until Khokhlova’s death in 1955. Picasso carried on a long-standing affair with Marie-Thérèse Walter and fathered a daughter, Maia, with her. Marie-Thérèse lived in the vain hope that Picasso would one day marry her, and hanged herself four years after Picasso’s death.

The photographer and painter Dora Maarwas also a constant companion and lover of Picasso. The two were closest in the late 1930s and early 1940s and it was Maar who documented the painting of Guernica.

During the Second World War, Picasso remained in Paris while the Germans occupied the city. Picasso’s artistic style did not fit the Naziviews of art, so he was not able to show his works during this time. Retreating to his studio, he continued to paint all the while. Although the Germans outlawed bronzecasting in Paris, Picasso continued regardless, using bronze smuggled to him by the French resistance.

After the liberation of Paris in 1944, Picasso began to keep company with a young art student, Françoise Gilot. The two eventually became lovers, and had two children together, Claude and Paloma. Unique among Picasso’s women, Gilot left Picasso in 1953, allegedly because of abusive treatment and infidelities. This came as a severe blow to Picasso.

He went through a difficult period after Gilot’s departure, coming to terms with his advancing age and his perception that, now in his 70s, he was no longer attractive, but rather grotesque to young women. A number of ink drawings from this period explore this theme of the hideous old dwarf as buffoonish counterpoint to the beautiful young girl, including several from a six-week affair with Geneviève Laporte, who in June 2005 auctioned off the drawings Picasso made of her.

Picasso was not long in finding another lover, Jacqueline Roque. She worked at the Madoura Pottery in Vallauris on the French Riviera, where Picasso made and painted ceramics. The two remained together for the rest of Picasso’s life, marrying in 1961. Their marriage was also the means of one last act of revenge against Gilot. Gilot had been seeking a legal means to legitimize her children with Picasso, Claude and Paloma. With Picasso’s encouragement, she had arranged to divorce her then husband, Luc Simon, and marry Picasso to secure her children’s rights. Picasso then secretly married Roque after Gilot had filed for divorce in order to exact his revenge for her leaving him.

Picasso had constructed a huge gothic structure and could afford large villas in the south of France, at Notre-dame-de-vie on the outskirts of Mougins, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. By this time he was a celebrity, and there was often as much interest in his personal life as his art.

In addition to his manifold artistic accomplishments, Picasso had a film career, including a cameo appearance in Jean Cocteau’sTestament of Orpheus. Picasso always played himself in his film appearances. In 1955 he helped make the film Le Mystère Picasso(The Mystery of Picasso) directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot.

Pablo Picasso died on 8 April 1973 inMougins, France, while he and his wife Jacqueline entertained friends for dinner. His final words were “Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink any more.” He was interred at Castle Vauvenargues’ park, in Vauvenargues, Bouches-du-Rhône. Jacqueline Roque prevented his children Claude and Paloma from attending the funeral. Devastated and lonely after the death of Picasso Jacqueline Roque took her own life by gunshot in 1986 when she was 60 years old.

Political views

Picasso remained neutral during World War I, the Spanish Civil War, and World War II, refusing to fight for any side or country. Some of his contemporaries felt that his pacifismhad more to do with cowardice than principle. An article in The New Yorker called him “a coward, who sat out two world wars while his friends were suffering and dying”.As a Spanish citizen living in France, Picasso was under no compulsion to fight against the invading Germansin either World War. In the Spanish Civil War, service for Spaniards living abroad was optional and would have involved a voluntary return to the country to join either side. While Picasso expressed anger and condemnation of Francisco Franco and fascists through his art, he did not take up arms against them. He also remained aloof from the Catalanindependence movement during his youth despite expressing general support and being friendly with activists within it.

In 1944 Picasso joined the French Communist Party, attended an international peace conference in Poland, and in 1950 received the Stalin Peace Prize from the Soviet government. But party criticism of a portrait of Stalinas insufficiently realistic cooled Picasso’s interest in communist politics, though he remained a loyal member of the Communist Party until his death. In a 1945 interview with Jerome Seckler, Picasso stated: “I am a Communist and my painting is Communist painting. … But if I were a shoemaker, Royalist or Communist or anything else, I would not necessarily hammer my shoes in a special way to show my politics.” His Communist militancy, not uncommon among intellectuals and artists at the time although it was officially banned in Francoist Spain, has long been the subject of some controversy; a notable source or demonstration thereof was a sarcastic quote commonly attributed to Salvador Dalí(with whom Picasso had a rather strained relationship), ostensibly casting doubt on the true honesty of his political allegiances:

Picasso es pintor, yo también; [...] Picasso es español, yo también; Picasso es comunista, yo tampoco.

(Picasso is a painter, so am I; [...] Picasso is Spanish, so am I; Picasso is a communist, neither am I.)

He was against the intervention of the United Nations and the United Statesin the Korean civil war and he depicted it in Massacre in Korea. In 1962, he received the International Lenin Peace Prize.


Picasso’s work is often categorized into periods. While the names of many of his later periods are debated, the most commonly accepted periods in his work are the Blue Period (1901–1904), the Rose Period (1905–1907), the African-influenced Period (1908–1909), Analytic Cubism(1909–1912), and Synthetic Cubism (1912–1919).

In 1939–40 the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, under its director Alfred Barr, a Picasso enthusiast, held a major and highly successful retrospective of his principal works up until that time. This exhibition lionized the artist, brought into full public view in America the scope of his artistry, and resulted in a reinterpretation of his work by contemporary art historians and scholars.

Before 1901

Picasso’s training under his father began before 1890. His progress can be traced in the collection of early works now held by the Museu Picasso in Barcelona, which provides one of the most comprehensive records extant of any major artist’s beginnings. During 1893 the juvenile quality of his earliest work falls away, and by 1894 his career as a painter can be said to have begun. The academic realism apparent in the works of the mid-1890s is well displayed in The First Communion (1896), a large composition that depicts his sister, Lola. In the same year, at the age of 14, he painted Portrait of Aunt Pepa, a vigorous and dramatic portrait that Juan-Eduardo Cirlot has called “without a doubt one of the greatest in the whole history of Spanish painting.”

In 1897 his realism became tinged with Symbolist influence, in a series of landscape paintings rendered in non naturalistic violet and green tones. What some call his Modernist period (1899–1900) followed. His exposure to the work of Rossetti, Steinlen, Toulouse-Lautrec and Edvard Munch, combined with his admiration for favorite old masters such as El Greco, led Picasso to a personal version of modernism in his works of this period.[31]

Blue Period

Picasso’s Blue Period (1901–1904) consists of somber paintings rendered in shades of blue and blue-green, only occasionally warmed by other colors. This period’s starting point is uncertain; it may have begun in Spain in the spring of 1901, or in Paris in the second half of the year. Many paintings of gaunt mothers with children date from this period. In his austere use of color and sometimes doleful subject matter—prostitutesand beggarsare frequent subjects—Picasso was influenced by a trip through Spain and by the suicide of his friend Carlos Casagemas. Starting in autumn of 1901 he painted several posthumous portraits of Casagemas, culminating in the gloomy allegorical painting La Vie (1903), now in the Cleveland Museum of Art.

The same mood pervades the well-known etching The Frugal Repast(1904), which depicts a blind man and a sighted woman, both emaciated, seated at a nearly bare table. Blindness is a recurrent theme in Picasso’s works of this period, also represented in The Blindman’s Meal (1903, the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and in the portrait of Celestina (1903). Other works include Portrait of Solerand Portrait of Suzanne Bloch‎.

Rose Period


The Rose Period (1904–1906) is characterized by a more cheery style with orange and pink colors, and featuring many circus people, acrobats and harlequins known in France as saltimbanques. The harlequin, a comedic character usually depicted in checkered patterned clothing, became a personal symbol for Picasso. Picasso met Fernande Olivier, a model for sculptors and artists, in Paris in 1904, and many of these paintings are influenced by his warm relationship with her, in addition to his increased exposure to French painting. The generally upbeat and optimistic mood of paintings in this period is reminiscent of the 1899–1901 period (i.e. just prior to the Blue Period) and 1904 can be considered a transition year between the two periods.

African-influenced Period

Picasso’s African-influenced Period (1907–1909) begins with the two figures on the right in his painting, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, which were inspired by African artifacts. Formal ideas developed during this period lead directly into the Cubist period that follows.


Analytic cubism(1909–1912) is a style of painting Picasso developed along with Georges Braque using monochrome brownish and neutral colours. Both artists took apart objects and “analyzed” them in terms of their shapes. Picasso and Braque’s paintings at this time have many similarities. Synthetic cubism (1912–1919) was a further development of the genre, in which cut paper fragments—often wallpaper or portions of newspaper pages—were pasted into compositions, marking the first use of collagein fine art.

Classicism and surrealism

In the period following the upheaval of World War I, Picasso produced work in a neoclassical style. This “return to order” is evident in the work of many European artists in the 1920s, including André Derain, Giorgio de Chirico, and the artists of the New Objectivity movement. Picasso’s paintings and drawings from this period frequently recall the work of Ingres.

During the 1930s, the minotaurreplaced the harlequin as a common motif in his work. His use of the minotaur came partly from his contact with the surrealists, who often used it as their symbol, and it appears in Picasso’s Guernica.

Arguably Picasso’s most famous work is his depiction of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil WarGuernica. This large canvas embodies for many the inhumanity, brutality and hopelessness of war. Asked to explain its symbolism, Picasso said, “It isn’t up to the painter to define the symbols. Otherwise it would be better if he wrote them out in so many words! The public who look at the picture must interpret the symbols as they understand them.”

Guernica hung in New York’s Museum of Modern Art for many years. In 1981 Guernica was returned to Spain and exhibited at the Casón del Buen Retiro. In 1992 the painting hung in Madrid’s Reina Sofía Museum when it opened.

Later works

Picasso was one of 250 sculptors who exhibited in the 3rd Sculpture International held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the summer of 1949. Inthe 1950s, Picasso’s style changed once again, as he took to producing reinterpretations of the art of the great masters. He made a series of works based on Velazquez’spainting of Las Meninas. He also based paintings on works by Goya, Poussin,Manet,Courbetand Delacroix.

He was commissioned to make a maquettefor a huge 50-foot (15 m)-highpublic sculpture to be built in Chicago, known usually as the Chicago Picasso. He approached the project with a great deal of enthusiasm, designing a sculpture which was ambiguous and somewhat controversial. What the figure represents is not known; it could be a bird, a horse, a woman or a totally abstract shape. The sculpture, one of the most recognizable landmarks in downtown Chicago, was unveiled in 1967. Picasso refused to be paid $100,000 for it, donating it to the people of the city.

Picasso’s final works were a mixture of styles, his means of expression in constant flux until the end of his life. Devoting his full energies to his work, Picasso became more daring, his works more colourful and expressive, and from 1968 through 1971 he produced a torrent of paintings and hundreds of copperplate etchings. At the time these works were dismissed by most as pornographic fantasies of an impotent old man or the slapdash works of an artist who was past his prime. Only later, after Picasso’s death, when the rest of the art world had moved on from abstract expressionism, did the critical community come to see that Picasso had already discovered neo-expressionismand was, as so often before, ahead of his time.

Commemoration and legacy

Picasso was exceptionally prolific throughout his long lifetime. The total number of artworks he produced has been estimated at 50,000, comprising 1,885 paintings; 1,228 sculptures; 2,880 ceramics, roughly 12,000 drawings, many thousands of prints, and numerous tapestries and rugs. At the time of his death many of his paintings were in his possession, as he had kept off the art market what he didn’t need to sell. In addition, Picasso had a considerable collection of the work of other famous artists, some his contemporaries, such as Henri Matisse, with whom he had exchanged works. Since Picasso left no will, his death duties (estate tax) to the French state were paid in the form of his works and others from his collection. These works form the core of the immense and representative collection of the Musée Picassoin Paris. In 2003, relatives of Picasso inaugurated a museum dedicated to him in his birthplace, Málaga, Spain, the Museo Picasso Málaga.

The Museu Picassoin Barcelonafeatures many of Picasso’s early works, created while he was living in Spain, including many rarely seen works which reveal Picasso’s firm grounding in classical techniques. The museum also holds many precise and detailed figure studies done in his youth under his father’s tutelage, as well as the extensive collection of Jaime Sabartés, Picasso’s close friend and personal secretary.

Several paintings by Picasso rank among the most expensive paintings in the world.Garçon à la pipe sold for USD $104 million at Sotheby'son 4 May 2004, establishing a new price record. Dora Maar au Chat sold for USD $95.2 million at Sotheby’s on 3 May 2006.

As of 2004, Picasso remains the top ranked artist (based on sales of his works at auctions) according to the Art Market Trendsreport. More of his paintings have been stolen than those by any other artist.

The Picasso Administration functions as his official Estate. The U.S. copyright representative for the Picasso Administration is the Artists Rights Society.

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André Breton (February 19, 1896 – September 28, 1966) was a French writer, poet, and surrealisttheorist, and is best known as the main founder of surrealism. His writings include the Surrealist Manifesto of 1924, in which he defined surrealism as pure psychic automatism.


Born to a family of modest means in Tinchebray(Orne) in Normandy, he studied medicineand psychiatry. During World War I he worked in a neurological ward in Nantes, where he met the spiritual son of Alfred Jarry, Jacques Vaché, whose anti-social attitude and disdain for established artistic tradition influenced Breton considerably. Vaché committed suicide at age 24 and his war-time letters to Breton and others were published in a volume entitled Lettres de guerre (1919), for which Breton wrote four introductory essays.

From Dada to Surrealism

In 1919 Breton founded the review Littérature with Louis Aragon and Philippe Soupault. He also connected with DadaistTristan Tzara. In 1924 he was instrumental to the founding of the Bureau of Surrealist Research.

In The Magnetic Fields (Les Champs Magnétiques), a collaboration with Soupault, he put the principle of automatic writing into practice. He published the Surrealist Manifesto in 1924, and was editor of La Révolution surréaliste from 1924. A group coalesced around him — Philippe Soupault, Louis Aragon, Paul Éluard, René Crevel, Michel Leiris, Benjamin Péret, Antonin Artaud, and Robert Desnos.

Anxious to combine the themes of personal transformation found in the works of Arthur Rimbaud with the politics of Karl Marx, Breton joined the French Communist Party in 1927, from which he was expelled in 1933. During this time, he survived mostly off the sale of paintings from his art gallery.

Under Breton's direction, surrealism became a European movement that influenced all domains of art, and called into question the origin of human understanding and human perceptions of things and events.

In 1935, there was a conflict between Breton and Ilya Ehrenburg during the first "International Congress of Writers for the Defense of Culture" which opened in Paris in June. Breton, had been insulted by Ehrenburg -- along with all fellow surrealists -- in a pamphlet which said, among other things, that surrealists were "pederasts". Breton slapped Ehrenburg several times on the street, which led to surrealists being expelled from the Congress. Crevel, who according to Salvador Dalí, was "the only serious communistamong surrealists" was isolated from Breton and other surrealists, who were unhappy with Crevel because of his homosexualityand upset with communists as a whole.

In 1938 Breton accepted a cultural commission from the French government to travel to Mexico. After a conference held at the National Autonomous University of Mexico about surrealism, Breton stated after getting lost in Mexico City(as no one was waiting for him at the airport) "I don't know why I came here. Mexico is the most surrealist country in the world".

However, visiting Mexico provided the opportunity to meet Trotsky. Breton and other surrealists sought refuge via a long boat ride from Patzcuaro to the surreal town of Erongaricuaro. Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo were among the visitors to the hidden community of intellectuals and artists. Together, Breton and Trotsky wrote a manifesto Pour un art révolutionnaire indépendent (published under the names of Breton and Diego Rivera) which called for "complete freedom of art", which was becoming increasingly difficult in the world situation of the time.


Breton was again in the medical corp of the French Army at the start of World War II. The Vichy government banned his writings as "the very negation of the national revolution" and Breton sought refuge through the American Varian Fryand escaped to the United States and the Caribbean in 1941. Breton made the acquaintance of Martinican writer Aimé Césaire, and later penned the introduction to the 1947 edition of Césaire'sCahier d'un retour au pays natal. During his exile in New York City, he met Elisa, the Chilean woman who would become his third wife.

In 1944, he and Elisa traveled to Gaspésiein Québec, Canada, where he wrote Arcane 17, a book which expresses his fears of World War II, describes the marvels of the Rocher Percé and the northeastern end of North America, and celebrates his newly found love with Elisa.

Later life

Breton returned to Paris in 1946, where he intervened against French colonialism (for example as a signatory of the Manifesto of the 121 against the Algerian war) and continued, until his death, to foster a second group of surrealists in the form of expositions or reviews (La Brèche, 1961-1965). In 1959, André Breton organized an exhibit in Paris.

André Breton died in 1966 at 70 and was buried in the Cimetière des Batignolles in Paris.


His works include the case studies Nadja(1928) and Mad Love (L'Amour Fou)(1937).

Selected works:

  • MONT DE PIÉTE, 1919
  • LES CHAMPS MAGNÉTIQUES, 1920 - The Magnetic Fields
  • MANIFESTE DU SURRÉALISME, 1924 - The Surrealist Manifesto
  • LES PAS PERDUS, 1924 - The Lost Steps
  • POISSON SOLUBLE, 1924 - Soluble Fish
  • UN CADAVRE, 1924 - A Corpse
  • LEGITIME DÉFENSE, 1926 - Legitimate Defense
  • LE SURRÉALISME ET LE PEINTURE, 1926 - Surrealism and Painting
  • NADJA, 1928 - Nadja
  • L'IMMACULÉE CONCEPTION, 1930 - The Immaculate Conception
  • SECOND MANIFESTE DU SURRÉALISME, 1930 - The Second Manifesto of Surrealism
  • RALENTIR TRAVAUX, 1930 - Slow Down Works
  • LA RÉVOLVER Á CHEVEUX BLANCS, 1932 - The Revolver Has White Hair
  • LES VASES COMMUNICANTS, 1932 - The Communicating Vessels
  • LE MESSAGE AUTOMATIQUE; 1933 - The Automatic Message
  • QU'EST-CE LE QUE LE SURRÉALISME,1934 - What Is Surrealism
  • L'AIR ET L'EAU, 1934 - The Air and The Water
  • POINT DU JOUR, 1934 - Not of the Day
  • POSITION POLITIQUE DU SURRÉALISME, 1935 - The Political Position of Surrealism
  • NOTES SUR LA POÉSIE, 1936 (with Paul Éluard) - Notes on Poetry
  • L'AMOUR FOU, 1937 - Mad Love
  • EARTHLIGHT, 1937
  • DICTIONNAIRE ABRÉGE DU SURRÉALISME, 1938 (with Paul Éluard) - Abridged Dictionary of Surrealism
  • FATA MORGANA, 1940
  • ANTHOLOGIE DE L'HUMOUR NOIR, 1940 - Anthology of Black Humor
  • ARCANE 17, 1945 - Arcane 17
  • JEUNES CERISIERS GARANTIS CONTRE LES LIÈVRES, 1946 - Young Cherry Trees Secured against Hares
  • ODE À CHARLES FOURIER, 1947 - Ode to Charles Fourier
  • YVES TANGUY, 1947
  • POÈMES 1919-48, 1948
  • LA LAMPE DANS L'HORLOGE, 1948 - The Lamp in the Clock
  • ENTRETIENS, 1952 - Discussions
  • LA CLÉ DES CHAMPS, 1953 - The Key of the Fields
  • FAROUCHE À QUATRE FEUILLES, 1954 (with Lise Deharme, Julien Gracq, Jean Tardieu) - Wild to Four Leaves
  • LES MANIFESTES DU SURREALISME, 1955 - The Manifestoes of Surrealism
  • L'ART MAGIQUE, 1957 - The Magic Art
  • CONSTELLATIONS, 195* LE LA, 1961

Life outside art

Breton married three times:

  • His first wife, from 1921 to 1931, was the former Simone Kahn, after Simone Collinet (1897-1980)
  • His second wife was the former Jacqueline Lamba, with whom he had his only child, a daughter named Aube.
  • His third wife was the former Elisa Claro.

Breton was an avid collector of art, ethnographic material, and unusual trinkets. He was particularly interested in materials from the northwest coast of North America. When faced with a financial crisis in 1931, most of his collection (along with his friend Paul Éluard's) was auctioned off. He subsequently rebuilt the collection, which was preserved by family members from the time of his death until 2003, at which time his books, art, and ethnographic materials were auctioned by Calmels Cohen.


  • André Breton: Surrealism and Painting - edited and with an introduction by Mark Polizzotti.
  • Manifestoes of Surrealism by André Breton, translated by Richard Seaver and Helen R. Lane. ISBN 0472061828
  1. Crevel, René. Le Clavecin de Diderot, Afterword. pp. 161. 
  2. Franklin Rosemont André Breton and the First Principles of Surrealism, 1978


 african art / art africain / primitive art / art primitif / arts premiers / art gallery / art tribal / tribal art / l'oeil et la main / galerie d'art premier / Agalom / Armand Auxiètre / www.african-paris.com / www.agalom.com

Arman (November 17, 1928 – October 22, 2005), was a French-born Americanartist.Born Armand Pierre Fernandez in Nice, France, Arman is a painter who moved from using the objects as paintbrushes ("allures d'objet") to using them as the painting itself. He is best known for his "accumulations" and destruction/recomposition of objects.


Arman's father, Antonio Fernandez, an antiques dealer in Nice, was also an amateur artist and photographer, as well as a cellist. From his father, Arman learned oil painting and photography. After receiving his bachelor's degree in philosophy and mathematics in 1946, Arman began studying at the Ecole Nationale d'Art Decoratif in Nice. He also began learning Judo at a police Judo School in Nice where he met the artists Yves Kleinand Claude Pascal. The trio would bond closely on a subsequent hitchhiking tour of the nations of Europe. Completing his studies in 1949, Arman enrolled as a student at the École du Louvre in Paris, where he concentrated on the study of archaeology and oriental art. In 1951, Arman became a teacher at the Bushido Kai Judo School. During this time he also served in the French military, completing his tour of duty as a medical orderly during the Indo-Chinese War.

Early career

Early in the development of his career, it was apparent that Arman's concept of the accumulation of vast quantities of the same objects was to remain a significant component of his art. Ironically, Arman had originally focused more attention on his abstract paintings, considering them to be of more consequence than his early accumulations of postage stamps. Only when he witnessed viewer reaction to his first accumulation in 1959 did he fully recognize the power of such art. In 1962, he began welding together accumulations of the same kinds of metal objects, such as axes (as pictured below).

Inspiration and name change

Inspired by an exhibition for the German Dadaist, Kurt Schwitters, in 1954 Arman began working on "Cachets", his first major artistic undertaking. At his third solo exhibition, held in Paris’s Galerie Iris Clerc in 1958, Arman showed some of his first 2D accumulations he called "cachets". These stamps on paper and fabric were to prove a success and were to provide an important change of course for the young artist’s career. Arman was signing with his first name as an homage to Van Gogh, (who signed his works "Vincent"), in 1957, he chose to change the spelling of his name from Armand to Arman. On January 31, 1973, upon becoming a citizen of the United States, he took, as his American civil name, Armand Pierre Arman. Nevertheless, he continued to use "Arman" as his public persona.

Evolution of work

From 1959-1962 Arman developed his most recognizable style, beginning with his two most renowned concepts: "Accumulation" and "Poubelle". Accumulations were collections of common and identical objects which he arranged in polyester castings or within Plexiglas cases. His first welded accumulations were created in 1962.

The "Poubelles" were collections of strewn refuse. In 1960, he filled the Galerie Iris Clert in Paris with garbage, creating ""Le Plein" ("Full Up") as a contrepoint of the exhibition called "Le Vide" at the same gallery two years earlier by his friend Yves Klein. These works began to garner the attention of the European art community.

In October 1960, together with Arman, Yves Klein,François Dufrêne, Raymond Hains, Martial Raysse, Daniel Spoerri, Jean Tinguely and Jacques Villeglé, the art critic and philosopher Pierre Restany founded the group Nouveau réalisme, joined later by Cesar, Mimmo Rotella, Niki de Saint Phalle and Christo, the group of young artists defined themselves as bearing in common their "new perspective approaches of reality". They were reassessing the concept of art and the artist for a 20th Century consumer society by reasserting the humanistic ideals in the face of industrial expansion.

In 1961, Arman made his debut in the United States, the country which was to become his home. During this period, Arman explored creation via destruction. The "Coupes" and the "Colères" featured sliced, burned or smashed objects arranged on canvas, often using objects with a strong "identity" such as music instruments or bronze statues.

Arman and Warhol

Arman can be seen in Andy Warhol's film Dinner at Daley's, a documentation of a dinner performance by the Fluxus artist Daniel Spoerri that Warhol filmed on March 5, 1964. Throughout his portrait screen test film, Arman sits in profile, looking down, appearing to be entranced in his reading, seemingly unaware of Warhol's camera, only making small gestures, rubbing his eyes and licking the corner of his mouth. He remained silent, eyes gazing over the pages of what seemed to be a newspaper, in this four-minute 16mm black & white reel. Warhol owned two of Arman's Poubelles and another accumulation called Amphetamines, which were put up for sale at Sotheby'sauction of the Andy Warhol Collection in May 1988.

Move to New York City

Enamored with the scene in New York, Arman took up residency in the city, just after his first exhibition at the Cordier Ekstrom. In 1973 he would become an American citizen. In New York, first at the Chelsea Hotel, and later at his more official studios, Arman began work on ever increasingly ambitious projects. There were varied expansions of the Accumulations, their content included tools, watches, clocks, furniture, automobile parts, jewelry, and, of course, music instruments in various stages of dismemberment. Musical instruments, specifically the strings and the brass, would come to form a major constituent of Arman’s oeuvre.

Of Arman's accumulations, one of the largest is Long Term Parking,  which is on permanent display at the Chateau de Montcel in Jouy-en-Josas, France. Completed in 1982, the sculpture is an eighteen-meter high accumulation of sixty automobiles embedded in over forty thousand pounds of concrete. Just as ambitious was the 1995 work Hope for Peace, which was specially commissioned by the Lebanese government to commemorate fifty years of the Lebanese military’s service. Standing in once war-torn Beirut, the thirty-two meter monument consists of eighty-three tanks and military vehicles.

Personal life

Arman married in 1953 to the electronic music composer Eliane Radigue (two daughters, Marion, 1951 and Anne 1953; one son Yves Arman1954, deceased in 1989). He then married in 1971, Corice Canton (one daughter, Yasmine 1982; one son, Philippe 1987). He had a sixth and last child, Yves Cesar, 1989, born out of wedlock.

Exhibitions and awards, selected


  • Arman, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Holland
  • Arman, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota


  • Arman, Museum Hans Lange, Krefeld, Germany


  • Arman, Palais de Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium
  • Arman, Musée de la Ville, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France


  • Arman, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy

Arman: Accummulations Renault(Traveling Exhibition):

  • Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Holland
  • Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, France; *Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
  • Humlebaek, Denmark; *Kunsthalle, Berlin, Germany; *Städtische Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf, Germany
  • Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; *Städtische Kuntsammlungen, Ludwigshafen, Germany
  • Kunsthaus, Zurich, Switzerland; *Amos Anderson Taidemuseo, Helsinki, Helsingfors, Finland


  • Arman, Modern Art Museum, Stockholm, Sweden


  • Arman, Salles romanes du Cloître Saint-Trophime, Musée Réattu, Arles, France.
  • Arman: Selected Works 1958 - 1974, La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, California; *Fort Worth Art Museum, Texas


  • Arman: Objets Armés 1971 - 1974, Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France.


  • Arman, Artcurial, Paris, France.


  • Arman: Paintings and Sculptures, Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Kansas.


  • Arman, Veranneman Foundation, Kruishoutem, Belgium.


  • Arman: Rétrospective, Centre d’Art et de Culture, Flaine, France.


  • Arman, Veranneman Foundation, Kruishoutem, Belgium.


  • Arman, Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt, Germany.


  • Arman: Parade der Objekte: Retrospektive 1955 - 1982, *Kuntsmuseum, Sammlung Sprengel, Hanover, Germany; *Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt, Germany; *Tel Aviv Museum, Israel; *Kuntshalle, Tubingen, Germany; *Musée Picasso, Château Grimaldi, Antibes, France; *Musée d’Art Contemporain Dunkerque, France.


  • Arman o L’Oggetto come Alfabeto: Retrospettiva 1955 - 1984, Museo Civico delle Belle Arti, Lugano, Switzerland.
  • Arman, Museo d’Arte Moderna, Parma, Italy.


  • Arman, Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan; Walker Hill Art Center, Seoul, Korea.
  • Arman Aujourd’hui, Musée de Toulon, France.


  • Arman: Retrospective, Wichita State University, Ulrich Museum of Art, Kansas.
  • Arman, Veranneman Foundation, Kruishoutem, Belgium.


  • Arman in Italy, Fondazione Mudima, Milan, Italy
  • Arman Sculpture, Contemporary Sculpture Center, Tokyo, Japan
  • Arman: A Retrospective 1955 - 1991, The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York; The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, Illinois


  • Il Giro di Arman, Associazionne Culturale Italo-Francese, Bologna, Italy


  • Le Ceramica di Arman, Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche in Faenza, Faenze, Italy


  • Arman, Musée Royal de Mariemont, Mariemont-Chapelle, Belgium


  • Arman: The Exhibition of International Sculpture Master, Modern Art Gallery, Taichung, Taïwan


  • Arman, Musée du Jeu de Paume, Paris, France


  • Arman, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel
  • Arman, Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janiero, Brazil; Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo Assis Chateaubriand, Sao Paulo, Brazil


  • Arman - 20 stations de l’objet, Couvent des Cordeliers, Paris, France
  • Arman, Fundaciò "la Caixa," Barcelona, Spain
  • Arman, la traversée des objets, Palazzo delle Zitelle, Venice, Italy
  • Arman, Museo de Monterrey, Mexico
  • Arman, National Museum of History, Taipei, China


  • Arman: Werke auf Papier, Ludwig Museum, Coblenz, Germany


  • Arman: Through and Across Objects, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida


  • Arman: Works on Paper, Villa Haiss Museum, Zell, Germany


  • Awarded 2003 Sport Artist of the Year, The American Sport Art Museum and Archives, United States Sports Academy, Daphne, AL
  • Arman: Arman, Museum of Contemporary Art of Teheran, Teheran, Iran
  • Arman, Marlborough New York, New York City


  • Omaggio ad Arman Arte Silva, Sergno
  • Arman - Peinture, Marlborough Monaco, Monaco


  • Hommage a Arman, Galerie Anne Lettree, Paris


  • Arman - Subida al Cielo, Musee d' Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain Nice, Nice
  • Arman - A Tribute to Arman, Marlborough New York, New York City
  • Arman - No Comment, Galerie Georges-Phillippe & Nathalie Vallois, Paris


  • Arman, Palazzo Bricherasio, Turin

Public collections in the U.S.A., selected

  • Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA
  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC[7]
  • Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, KS
  • Harvard Art Museum, Cambridge, MA
  • The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI
  • Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
  • Laumeier Sculpture Park, Saint Louis, MO
  • Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Saint Louis, MO
  • Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis, MO
  • Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY
  • Allen Art Museum, Oberlin College, OH
  • Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, WA

Books about Arman

  • Chalumeau, Jean-Luc and Pierre Restany (preface), Arman: Shooting Colors, Paris, France: Éditions de la Différence, Autre Musée/Grandes Monographies, 1989
  • Kuspit, Donald. Monochrome Accumulations 1986—1989. Stockholm: A. H. Graphik, 1990
  • Otmezguine, Jane and Marc Moreau, in collaboration with Corice Arman. Estampes. Paris: Éditions Marval, 1990
  • Durand-Ruel, Denyse. Arman - Vol. II: 1960 à 1962. Paris: Éditions de la Différence, 1991
  • Durand-Ruel, Denyse. Arman - Vol. III: 1963 à 1965. Paris: Éditions de la Différence, 1994

african art / art africain / primitive art / art primitif / arts premiers / art gallery / art tribal / tribal art / l'oeil et la main / galerie d'art premier / Agalom / Armand Auxiètre / www.african-paris.com / www.agalom.com

Tristan Tzara (born Samuel or Samy Rosenstock, also known as S. Samyro; April 4 or April 16, 1896 – December 25, 1963) was a Romanian and Frenchavant-garde poet, essayist and performance artist. Also active as a journalist, playwright, literary and art critic, composer and film director, he was known best for being one of the founders and central figures of the anti-establishmentDada movement. Under the influence of Adrian Maniu, the adolescent Tzara became interested in Symbolism and co-founded the magazine Simbolulwith Ion Vinea (with whom he also wrote experimental poetry) and painter Marcel Janco. During World War I, after briefly collaborating on Vinea's Chemarea, he joined Janco in Switzerland. There, Tzara's shows at the Cabaret Voltaire and Zunfthaus zur Waag, as well as his poetry and art manifestos, became a main feature of early Dadaism. His work represented Dada's nihilisticside, in contrast with the more moderate approach favored by Hugo Ball.

After moving to Paris in 1919, Tzara, by then one of the "presidents of Dada", joined the staff of Littérature magazine, which marked the first step in the movement's evolution toward Surrealism. He was involved in the major polemics which led to Dada's split, defending his principles against André Breton and Francis Picabia, and, in Romania, against the eclecticmodernism of Vinea and Janco. This personal vision on art defined his Dadaist plays The Gas Heart (1921) and Handkerchief of Clouds (1924). A forerunner of automatist techniques, Tzara eventually rallied with Breton's Surrealism, and, under its influence, wrote his celebrated utopianpoem The Approximate Man.

During the final part of his career, Tzara combined his humanist and anti-fascistperspective with a communist vision, joining the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War and the French Resistance during World War II, and serving a term in the National Assembly. Having spoken in favor of liberalization in the People's Republic of Hungary just before the Revolution of 1956, he distanced himself from the French Communist Party, of which he was by then a member. In 1960, he was among the intellectuals who protested against French actions in the Algerian War.

Tristan Tzara was an influential author and performer, whose contribution is credited with having created a connection from Cubism and Futurism to theBeat Generation, Situationism and various currents in rock music. The friend and collaborator of many modernist figures, he was the lover of dancer Maja Kruscek in his early youth and was later married to Swedish artist and poet Greta Knutson.


S. Samyro, a partial anagram of Samy Rosenstock, was used by Tzara from his debut and throughout the early 1910s. A number of undated writings, which he probably authored as early as 1913, bear the signature Tristan Ruia, and, in summer of 1915, he was signing his pieces with the name Tristan.

In the 1960s, Rosenstock's collaborator and later rival Ion Vinea claimed that he was responsible for coining the Tzara part of his pseudonym in 1915. Vinea also stated that Tzara wanted to keep Tristan as his adopted first name, and that this choice had later attracted him the "infamous pun" Triste Âne Tzara (Frenchfor "Sad Donkey Tzara"). This version of events is uncertain, as manuscripts show that the writer may have already been using the full name, as well as the variations Tristan Ţara and Tr. Tzara, in 1913-1914 (although there is a possibility that he was signing his texts long after committing them to paper).

In 1972, art historian Serge Fauchereau, based on information received from Colomba, the wife of avant-garde poet Ilarie Voronca, recounted that Tzara himself had explained his chosen name was a pun on the Romanian-languagetrist în ţară ("sad in one's country"); Colomba Voronca was also dismissing rumors that Tzara had selected Tristan as a tribute to poet Tristan Corbière or to Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde opera. Samy Rosenstock legally adopted his new name in 1925, after filing a request with Romania's Ministry of the Interior.


Early life and Simbolul years

Tzara was born in Moineşti, Bacău County, in the historical region of Moldavia. His parents were Jewish Romanians who reportedly spoke Yiddish as their first language; his father Filip and grandfather Ilie were entrepreneurs in the forestry business.Tzara's mother was Emilia Rosenstock, née Zibalis. Owing to the Romanian Kingdom's discrimination laws, the Rosenstocks were not emancipated, and thus Tzara was not a full citizen of the country until after 1918.

He moved to Bucharest at the age of eleven, and attended the Schemitz-Tierin boarding school. It is believed that the young Tzara completed his secondary education at a state-run high school, which is identified as the Saint Sava National College or as the Sfântul Gheorghe High School. In October 1912, when Tzara was aged sixteen, he joined his friends Vinea and Marcel Janco in editing Simbolul. Reputedly, Janco and Vinea provided the funds. Like Vinea, Tzara was also close to their young colleague Jacques G. Costin, who was later his self-declared promoter and admirer.

Despite their young age, the three editors were able to attract collaborations from established Symbolist authors. Alongside their close friend and mentor Adrian Maniu (an Imagist who had been Vinea's tutor), they included N. Davidescu, Alfred Hefter-Hidalgo, Emil Isac, Claudia Millian, Ion Minulescu, I. M. Raşcu, Eugeniu Sperantia, Al. T. Stamatiad, Eugeniu Ştefănescu-Est,Constantin T. Stoika, as well as from journalist and lawyer Poldi Chapier. In its inaugural issue, the journal even printed a poem by one of the leading figures in Romanian Symbolism, Alexandru Macedonski. Simbolulalso featured illustrations by Maniu, Millian and Iosif Iser.

Although the magazine ceased print in December 1912, it played an important part in shaping Romanian literature of the period. Literary historian Paul Cernat sees Simbolulas a main stage in Romania's modernism, and credits it with having brought about the first changes from Symbolism to the radical avant-garde. Also according to Cernat, the collaboration between Samyro, Vinea and Janco was an early instance of literature becoming "an interface between arts", which had for its contemporary equivalent the collaboration between Iser and writers such as Ion Minulescu and Tudor Arghezi. Although Maniu parted with the group and sought a change in style which brought him closer to traditionalist tenets, Tzara, Janco and Vinea continued their collaboration. Between 1913 and 1915, they were frequently vacationing together, either on the Black Seacoast or at the Rosenstock family property in Gârceni, Vaslui County; during this time, Vinea and Samyro wrote poems with similar themes and alluding to one another.

Chemarea and 1915 departure

Tzara's career changed course between 1914 and 1916, during a period when the Romanian Kingdom kept out of World War I. In autumn 1915, as founder and editor of the short-lived journal Chemarea, Vinea published two poems by his friend, the first printed works to bear the signature Tristan Tzara. At the time, the young poet and many of his friends were adherents of an anti-warand anti-nationalistcurrent, which progressively accommodated anti-establishment messages. Chemarea, which was a platform for this agenda and again attracted collaborations from Chapier, may also have been financed by Tzara and Vinea. According to Romanian avant-garde writer Claude Sernet, the journal was "totally different from everything that had been printed in Romania before that moment." During the period, Tzara's works were sporadically published in Hefter-Hidalgo's Versuri şi Proză, and, in June 1915, Constantin Rădulescu-Motru's Noua Revistă Românăpublished Samyro's known poem Verişoară, fată de pension ("Little Cousin, Boarding School Girl").

Tzara had enrolled at the University of Bucharest in 1914, studying Mathematics and Philosophy, but did not graduate. In autumn 1915, he left Romania for the city of Zürich, in neutral Switzerland. Janco, together with his brother Jules, had settled there a few months before, and was later joined by his other brother Georges.Tzara, who may have applied for the Faculty of Philosophy at the local university, shared lodging with Marcel Janco, who was a student at the Technische Hochschule, in the Altinger Guest House (by 1918, Tzara had moved to the Limmatquai Hotel). His departure from Romania, like that of the Janco brothers, may have been in part a pacifistpolitical statement.  After settling in Switzerland, the young poet almost completely discarded Romanian as his language of expression, writing most of his subsequent works in French. The poems he had written before, which were the result of poetic dialogs between him and his friend, were left in Vinea's care. Most of these pieces were first printed only in the interwar period.

It was in Zürich that the Romanian group met with the GermanHugo Ball, an anarchistpoet and pianist, and his young wife Emmy Hennings, a music hall performer. In February 1916, Ball had rented the Cabaret Voltaire from its owner, Jan Ephraim, and intended to use the venue for performance art and exhibits. Hugo Ball recorded this period, noting that Tzara and Marcel Janco, like Hans Arp, Arthur Segal, Otto van Rees, Max Oppenheimer, and Marcel Słodki, "readily agreed to take part in the cabaret." According to Ball, among the performances of songs mimicking or taking inspiration from various national folklores, "Herr Tristan Tzara recited Rumanian poetry." In late March, Ball recounted, the group was joined by German writer and drummer Richard Huelsenbeck.  He was soon after involved in Tzara's "simultaneist verse" performance, "the first in Zürich and in the world", also including renditions of poems by two promoters of Cubism, Fernand Divoire and Henri Barzun.

Birth of Dada

It was in this milieu that Dada was born, at some point before May 1916, when a publication of the same name first saw print. The story of its establishment was the subject of a disagreement between Tzara and his fellow writers. Cernat believes that the first Dadaist performance took place as early as February, when the nineteen-year old Tzara, wearing a monocle, entered the Cabaret Voltaire stage singing sentimental melodies and handing paper wads to his "scandalized spectators", leaving the stage to allow room for masked actors on stilts, and returning in clown attire. The same type of performances took place at the Zuntfhaus zür Waag beginning in summer 1916, after the Cabaret Voltaire was forced to close down. According to music historian Bernard Gendron, for at long as it lasted, "the Cabaret Voltaire was dada. There was no alternative institution or site that could disentangle 'pure' dada from its mere accompaniment [...] nor was any such site desired." Other opinions link Dada's beginnings with much earlier events, including the experiments of Alfred Jarry, André Gide, Christian Morgenstern, Jean-Pierre Brisset, Guillaume Apollinaire, Jacques Vaché, Marcel Duchamp or Francis Picabia.

In the first of the movement's manifestos, Ball wrote: "[The booklet] is intended to present to the Public the activities and interests of the Cabaret Voltaire, which has as its sole purpose to draw attention, across the barriers of war and nationalism, to the few independent spirits who live for other ideals. The next objective of the artists who are assembled here is to publish a revue internationale [French for "international magazine"]."Ball completed his message in French, and the paragraph translates as: "The magazine shall be published in Zürich and shall carry the name 'Dada' ('Dada'). Dada Dada Dada Dada." The view according to which Ball had created the movement was notably supported by writer Walter Serner, who directly accused Tzara of having abused Ball's initiative.

A secondary point of contention between the founders of Dada regarded the paternity for the movement's name, which, according to visual artist and essayist Hans Richter, was first adopted in print in June 1916. Ball, who claimed authorship and stated that he picked the word randomly from a dictionary, indicated that it stood for both the French-language equivalent of "hobby horse" and a German-language term reflecting the joy of children being rocked to sleep. Tzara himself declined interest in the matter, but Marcel Janco credited him with having coined the term. Dada manifestos, written or co-authored by Tzara, record that the name shares its form with various other terms, including a word used in the Kru languages of West Africa to designate the tail of a sacred cow; a toy and the name for "mother" in an unspecified Italian dialect; and the double affirmative in Romanian and in various Slavic languages.

Dadaist promoter

Before the end of the war, Tzara had assumed a position as Dada's main promoter and manager, helping the Swiss group establish branches in other European countries. This period also saw the first conflict within the group: citing irreconcilable differences with Tzara, Ball left the group. With his departure, Gendron argues, Tzara was able to move Dada vaudeville-like performances into more of "an incendiary and yet jocularly provocative theater."

He is often credited with having inspired many young modernist authors from outside Switzerland to affiliate with the group, in particular the Frenchmen Louis Aragon, André Breton, Paul Éluard, Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes and Philippe Soupault. Richter, who also came into contact with Dada at this stage in its history, notes that these intellectuals often had a "very cool and distant attitude to this new movement" before being approached by the Romanian author. In June 1916, he began editing and managing the periodical Dadaas a successor of the short-lived magazine Cabaret Voltaire—Richter describes his "energy, passion and talent for the job", which he claims satisfied all Dadaists. He was at the time the lover of Maja Kruscek, who was a student of Rudolf Laban; in Richter's account, their relationship was always tottering.

As early as 1916, Tristan Tzara took distance from the ItalianFuturists, rejecting the militarist and proto-fasciststance of their leader Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. Richter notes that, by then, Dada had replaced Futurism as the leader of modernism, while continuing to build on its influence: "we had swallowed Futurism—bones, feathers and all. It is true that in the process of digestion all sorts of bones and feathers had been regurgitated." Despite this and the fact that Dada did not make any gains in Italy, Tzara could count poets Giuseppe Ungaretti and Alberto Savinio, painters Gino Cantarelli and Aldo Fiozzi, as well as a few other Italian Futurists, among the Dadaists. Among the Italian authors supporting Dadaist manifestos and rallying with the Dada group was the poet, painter and in the future a fascist racial theorist Julius Evola, who became a personal friend of Tzara.

The next year, Tzara and Ball opened the Galerie Dada permanent exhibit, through which they set contacts with the independent Italian visual artist Giorgio de Chirico and with the German Expressionistjournal Der Sturm, all of whom were described as "fathers of Dada".During the same months, and probably owing to Tzara's intervention, the Dada group organized a performance of Sphinx and Strawman, a puppet play by the Austro-HungarianExpressionist Oskar Kokoschka, whom he advertised as an example of "Dada theater".He was also in touch with Nord-Sud, the magazine of French poet Pierre Reverdy (who sought to unify all avant-garde trends), and contributed articles on African artto both Nord-Sud and Pierre Albert-Birot's SIC magazine. In early 1918, through Huelsenbeck, Zürich Dadaists established contacts with their more explicitly left-wing disciples in Berlin—George Grosz, John Heartfield, Johannes Baader, Kurt Schwitters, Walter Mehring, Raoul Hausmann, Carl Einstein, Franz Jung, and Heartfield's brother Wieland Herzfelde. With Breton, Soupault and Aragon, Tzara traveled Cologne, where he became familiarized with the elaborate collage works of Schwitters and Max Ernst, whom he showed to his colleagues in Switzerland. Huelsenbeck nonetheless declined to Schwitters membership in Berlin Dada.

As e result of his campaigning, Tzara created a list of so-called "Dada presidents", who represented various regions of Europe. According to Hans Richter, it included, alongside Tzara himself, figures ranging from Ernst, Arp, Baader, Breton and Aragon to Kruscek, Evola, Rafael Lasso de la Vega,Igor Stravinsky, Vicente Huidobro, Francesco Meriano and Théodore Fraenkel. Richter notes: "I'm not sure if all the names who appear here would agree with the description."

End of World War I

The shows Tzara staged in Zürich often turned into scandals or riots, and he was in permanent conflict with the Swiss law enforcers. Hans Richter speaks of a "pleasure of letting fly at the bourgeois, which in Tristan Tzara took the form of coldly (or hotly) calculated insolence" (see Épater la bourgeoisie). In one instance, as part of a series of events in which Dadaists mocked established authors, Tzara and Arp falsely publicized that they were going to fight a duel in Rehalp, near Zürich, and that they were going to have the popular novelist Jakob Christoph Heer for their witness. Richter also reports that his Romanian colleague profited from Swiss neutrality to play the Allies and Central Powers against each other, obtaining art works and funds from both, making use of their need to stimulate their respective propagandaefforts. While active as a promoter, Tzara also published his first volume of collected poetry, the 1918 Vingt-cinq poèmes ("Twenty-five Poems").

A major event took place in autumn 1918, when Francis Picabia, who was then publisher of 391magazine and a distant Dada affiliate, visited Zürich and introduced his colleagues there to his nihilistic views on art and reason. In the United States, Picabia, Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp had earlier set up their own version of Dada. This circle, based inNew York City, sought affiliation with Tzara's only in 1921, when they jokingly asked him to grant them permission to use "Dada" as their own name (to which Tzara replied: "Dada belongs to everybody").The visit was credited by Richter with boosting the Romanian author's status, but also with making Tzara himself "switch suddenly from a position of balance between art and anti-art into the stratospheric regions of pure and joyful nothingness."  The movement subsequently organized its last major Swiss show, held at the Saal zur Kaufleutern, with choreography by Susanne Perrottet, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, and with the participation of Käthe Wulff, Hans Heusser, Tzara, Hans Richter and Walter Serner.  It was there that Serner read from his 1918 essay, whose very title advocated Letzte Lockerung ("Final Dissolution"): this part is believed to have caused the subsequent mêlée, during which the public attacked the performers and succeeded in interrupting, but not canceling, the show.

Following the November 1918 Armistice with Germany, Dada's evolution was marked by political developments. In October 1919, Tzara, Arp andOtto Flake began publishing Der Zeltweg, a journal aimed at further popularizing Dada in a post-war world were the borders were again accessible. Richter, who admits that the magazine was "rather tame", also notes that Tzara and his colleagues were dealing with the impact of communist revolutions, in particular the October Revolution and the German revolts of 1918, which "had stirred men's minds, divided men's interests and diverted energies in the direction of political change." The same commentator however dismisses those accounts which, he believes, led readers to believe that Der Zeltwegwas "an association of revolutionary artists." According to one account rendered by historian Robert Levy, Tzara shared company with a group of Romanian communiststudents, and, as such, may have met with Ana Pauker, who was later one of the Romanian Communist Party's most prominent activists.

Arp and Janco drifted away from the movement ca. 1919, when they created theConstructivist-inspired workshop Das Neue Leben. In Romania, Dada was awarded an ambiguous reception from Tzara's former associate Vinea. Although he was sympathetic to its goals, treasured Hugo Ball and Hennings and promised to adapt his own writings to its requirements, Vinea cautioned Tzara and the Jancos in favor of lucidity. When Vinea submitted his poem Doleanţe ("Grievances") to be published by Tzara and his associates, he was turned down, an incident which critics attribute to a contrast between the reserved tone of the piece and the revolutionary tenets of Dada.

Paris Dada

In late 1919, Tristan Tzara left Switzerland to join Breton, Soupault and Claude Rivière in editing the Paris-based magazine Littérature. Already a mentor for the French avant-garde, he was, according to Hans Richter, perceived as an "Anti-Messiah" and a "prophet".Reportedly, Dada mythology had it that he entered the French capital in a snow-white or lilac-colored car, passing down Boulevard Raspail through a triumphal arch made from his own pamphlets, being greeted by cheering crowds and a fireworks display. Richter dismisses this account, indicating that Tzara actually walked from Gare de l'Est to Picabia's home, without anyone expecting him to arrive.

He is often described as the main figure in the Littérature circle, and credited with having more firmly set its artistic principles in the line of Dada.  When Picabia began publishing a new series of 391 in Paris, Tzara seconded him and, Richter says, produced issues of the magazine "decked out [...] in all the colors of Dada."  He was also issuing his Dada magazine, printed in Paris but using the same format, renaming it Bulletin Dadaand later Dadaphone. At around that time, he met American author Gertrude Stein, who wrote about him in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, and the artist couple Robertand Sonia Delaunay (with whom he worked in tandem for "poem-dresses" and other simultaneist literary pieces).

Tzara became involved in a number of Dada experiments, on which he collaborated with Breton, Aragon, Soupault, Picabia or Paul Éluard. Other authors who came into contact with Dada at that stage were Jean Cocteau, Paul Dermée and Raymond Radiguet. The performances staged by Dada were often meant to popularize its principles, and Dada continued to draw attention on itself by hoaxes and false advertising, announcing that the Hollywood film star Charlie Chaplin was going to appear on stage at its show, or that its members were going to have their heads shaved or their hair cut off on stage. In another instance, Tzara and his associates lectured at the Université populaire in front of industrial workers, who were reportedly less than impressed.  Richter believes that, ideologically, Tzara was still in tribute to Picabia's nihilistic and anarchic views (which made the Dadaists attack all political and cultural ideologies), but that it had a measure of sympathy for the working class. 

Dada activities in Paris culminated in the March 1920 variety show at the Théâtre de l'Œuvre, which featured readings from Breton, Picabia, Dermée and Tzara's earlier work, The First Heavenly Adventure of Mr. Antipyrine.  Tzara's melody, Symphonic Vaseline, which required ten or twenty people to shout "cra" and "cri" on a rising scale, was also performed.  A scandal erupted when Breton read Picabia's "Cannibal Manifesto", lashing out at the audience and mocking them, to which they answered by aiming rotten fruit at the stage. 

The Dada phenomenon was only noticed in Romania beginning in 1920, and its overall reception was negative. Traditionalist historian Nicolae Iorga, Symbolist promoter Ovid Densusianu, the more reserved modernists Camil Petrescu and Benjamin Fondane all refused to accept it as a valid artistic manifestation. Although he rallied with tradition, Vinea defended the subversive current in front of more serious criticism, and rejected the widespread rumor that Tzara had acted as an agent of influence for the Central Powers during the war. Eugen Lovinescu, editor of Sburătoruland one of Vinea's rivals on the modernist scene, acknowledged the influence exercised by Tzara on the younger avant-garde authors, but analyzed his work only briefly, using as an example one of his pre-Dada poems, and depicting him as an advocate of literary "extremism".

Dada stagnation

By 1921, Tzara was by then involved in conflicts with other figures in the movement, whom he claimed had parted with spirit of Dada. He was targeted by the Berlin-based Dadaists, in particular by Huelsenbeck and Serner, the former of whom was also involved in a conflict with Raoul Hausmann over leadership status. According to Richter, tensions between Breton and Tzara had surfaced in 1920, when Breton first made known his wish to do away with musical performances altogether and alleged that the Romanian was merely repeating himself. The Dada shows themselves were by then such common occurrences that audiences expected to be insulted by the performers.

A more serious crisis occurred in May, when Dada organized a mock trial of Maurice Barrès, whose early affiliation with the Symbolists had been shadowed by his antisemitismand reactionarystance: Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes was the prosecutor, Aragon and Soupault the defense attorneys, with Tzara, Ungaretti, Benjamin Péret and others as witnesses (a mannequinstood in for Barrès). Péret immediately upset Picabia and Tzara by refusing to make the trial an absurd one, and by introducing a political subtext with which Breton nevertheless agreed. In June, Tzara and Picabia clashed with each other, after Tzara expressed an opinion that his former mentor was becoming too radical. During the same season, Breton, Arp, Ernst, Maja Kruschek and Tzara were inAustria, at Imst, where they published their last manifesto as a group, "Dada in the Open Air" or "The Battle of the Singers in Tyrol." Tzara also visited Czechoslovakia, where he reportedly hoped to gain adherents to his cause.

Also in 1921, Ion Vinea wrote an article for the Romanian newspaper Adevărul, arguing that the movement had exhausted itself (although, in his letters to Tzara, he continued to ask his friend to return home and spread his message there). After July 1922, Marcel Janco rallied with Vinea in editing Contimporanul, which published some of Tzara's earliest poems but never offered space to any Dadaist manifesto. Reportedly, the conflict between Tzara and Janco had a personal note: Janco later mentioned "some dramatic quarrels" between his colleague and him. They avoided each other for the rest of their lives and Tzara even struck out the dedications to Janco from his early poems. Julius Evola also grew disappointed by the movement's total rejection of tradition and began his personal search for an alternative, pursuing a path which later led him to esotericism and fascism.

Evening of the Bearded Heart

Tzara was openly attacked by Breton in a February 1922 article for Le Journal de Peuple, where the Romanian writer was denounced as "an impostor" avid for "publicity".In March, Breton initiated the Congress for the Determination and Defense of the Modern Spirit. The French writer used the occasion to strike out Tzara's name from among the Dadaists, citing in his support Dada's Huelsenbeck, Serner, and Christian Schad. Basing his statement on a note supposedly authored by Huelsenbeck, Breton also accused Tzara of opportunism, claiming that he had planned wartime editions of Dada works in such a manner as not to upset actors on the political stage, making sure that German Dadaists were not made available to the public in countries subject to the Supreme War Council's control. Tzara, who attended the Congress only as a means to subvert it, responded to the accusations the same month, arguing that Huelsenbeck's note was fabricated and that Schad had not been one of the original Dadaists. Rumors reported much later by American writer Brion Gysin had it that Breton's claims also depicted Tzara as an informer for the Prefecture of Police.

In May 1922, Dada staged its own funeral. According to Hans Richter, the main part of this took place in Weimar, where the Dadaists attended a festival of the Bauhaus art school, during which Tzara proclaimed the elusive nature of his art: "Dada is useless, like everything else in life. [...] Dada is a virgin microbe which penetrates with the insistence of air into all those spaces that reason has failed to fill with words and conventions."

In "The Bearded Heart" manifesto a number of artists backed the marginalization of Breton in support of Tzara. Alongside Cocteau, Arp, Ribemont-Dessaignes, and Éluard, the pro-Tzara faction included Erik Satie,Theo van Doesburg, Serge Charchoune, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Marcel Duchamp, Ossip Zadkine, Jean Metzinger, Ilia Zdanevich, and Man Ray. During an associated soirée, Evening of the Bearded Heart, which began on 6 July 1923, Tzara presented a re-staging of his play The Gas Heart (which had been first performed two years earlier to howls of derision from its audience), for which Sonia Delaunay designed the costumes. Breton interrupted its performance and reportedly fought with several of his former associates and broke furniture, prompting a theatre riot that only the intervention of the police halted. Dada's vaudeville declined in importance and disappeared altogether after that date.

Picabia took Breton's side against Tzara, and replaced the staff of his 391, enlisting collaborations from Clément Pansaers and Ezra Pound. Breton marked the end of Dada in 1924, when he issued the first Surrealist Manifesto. Richter suggests that "Surrealism devoured and digested Dada." Tzara distanced himself from new trend, disagreeing with its methods and, increasingly, with its politics. In 1923, he and a few other former Dadaists collaborated with Richter and the Constructivist artist El Lissitzky on the magazine G,[ and, the following year, he wrote pieces for the Yugoslav-Slovenianmagazine Tank (edited by Ferdinand Delak).

Transition to Surrealism

Tzara continued to write, becoming more seriously interested in the theater. In 1924, he published and staged the play Handkerchief of Clouds, which was soon included in the repertoire of Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. He also collected his earlier Dada texts as Seven Dada Manifestos. Marxist thinker Henri Lefebvre reviewed them enthusiastically; he later became one of the author's friends.

In Romania, Tzara's work was partly recuperated by Contimporanul, which notably staged public readings of his works during the international art exhibit it organized in 1924, and again during the "new art demonstration" of 1925. In parallel, the short-lived magazine Integral, where Ilarie Voronca and Ion Călugăru were the main animators, took significant interest in Tzara's work. In a 1927 interview with the publication, he voiced his opposition to the Surrealist group's adoption of communism, indicating that such politics could only result in a "new bourgeoisie" being created, and explaining that he had opted for a personal "permanent revolution", which would preserve "the holiness of the ego".

In 1925, Tristan Tzara was in Stockholm, where he married Greta Knutson, with whom he had a son, Christophe (born 1927). A former student of painter André Lhote, she was known for her interest in phenomenology and abstract art. Around the same period, with funds from Knutson's inheritance, Tzara commissioned Austrianarchitect Adolf Loos, a former representative of the Vienna Secession whom he had met in Zürich, to build him a house in Paris. The rigidly functionalistMaison Tristan Tzara, built in Montmartre, was designed following Tzara's specific requirements and decorated with samples of African art. It was Loos' only major contribution in his Parisian years.

In 1929, he reconciled with Breton, and sporadically attended the Surrealists' meetings in Paris. The same year, he issued the poetry book De nos oiseaux ("Of Our Birds").This period saw the publication of The Approximate Man(1931), alongside the volumes L'Arbre des voyageurs ("The Travelers' Tree", 1930), Oú boivent les loups ("Where Wolves Drink", 1932), L'Antitête ("The Antihead", 1933) and Grains et issues ("Seed and Bran", 1935). By then, it was also announced that Tzara had started work on a screenplay. In 1930, he directed and produced a cinematic version of Le Cœur à barbe, starring Breton and other leading Surrealists. Five years later, he signed his name to The Testimony against Gertrude Stein, published by Eugene Jolas' magazine transition in reply to Stein's memoir The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, in which he accused his former friend of being a megalomaniac.

The poet became involved in further developing Surrealist techniques, and, together with Breton and Valentine Hugo, drew one of the better-known examples of "exquisite corpses".Tzara also prefaced a 1934 collection of Surrealist poems by his friend René Char, and the following year he and Greta Knutson visited Char in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Tzara's wife was also affiliated with the Surrealist group at around the same time. This association ended when she parted with Tzara late in the 1930s.

At home, Tzara's works were collected and edited by the Surrealist promoter Saşa Pană, who corresponded with him over several years. The first such edition saw print in 1934, and featured the 1913-1915 poems Tzara had left in Vinea's care. In 1928-1929, Tzara exchanged letters with his friend Jacques G. Costin, a Contimporanulaffiliate who did not share all of Vinea's views on literature, who offered to organize his visit to Romania and asked him to translate his work into French.

Affiliation with communism and Spanish Civil War

Alarmed by the establishment of Adolf Hitler's Nazi German regime, which also signified the end of Berlin's avant-garde, he merged his activities as an art promoter with the cause of anti-fascism, and was close to the French Communist Party (PCF). In 1936, Richter recalled, he published a series of photographs secretly taken by Kurt Schwitters in Hanover, works which documented the destruction of Nazi propaganda by the locals, ration stamp with reduced quantities of food, and other hidden aspects of Hitler's rule. After the outbreak of the Civil War in Spain, he briefly left France and joined the Republican forces.[138][1]Alongside Soviet reporter Ilya Ehrenburg, Tzara visited Madrid, which was besieged by the Nationalists (see Siege of Madrid). Upon his return, he published the collection of poems Midis gagnés ("Conquered Southern Regions"). Some of them had previously been printed in the brochure Les poètes du monde défendent le peuple espagnol ("The Poets of the World Defend the Spanish People", 1937), which was edited by two prominent authors and activists, Nancy Cunardand the Chileanpoet Pablo Neruda. Tzara had also signed Cunard's June 1937 call to intervention against Francisco Franco. Reportedly, he and Nancy Cunard were romantically involved.

Although the poet was moving away from Surrealism, his adherence to strict Marxism-Leninismwas reportedly questioned by both the PCF and the Soviet Union. SemioticianPhilip Beitchman places their attitude in connection with Tzara's own vision ofUtopia, which combined communist messages with Freudo-Marxistpsychoanalysisand made use of particularly violent imagery. Reportedly, Tzara refused to be enlisted in supporting the party line, maintaining his independence and refusing to take the forefront at public rallies.

However, others note that the former Dadaist leader would often show himself a follower of political guidelines. As early as 1934, Tzara, together with Breton, Éluard and communist writer René Crevel, organized an informal trial of independent-minded Surrealist Salvador Dalí, who was at the time a confessed admirer of Hitler, and whose portrait of William Tell had alarmed them because it shared likeness with Bolshevikleader Vladimir Lenin. Historian Irina Livezeanu notes that Tzara, who agreed with Stalinism and shunned Trotskyism, submitted to the PCF cultural demands during the writers' congress of 1935, even when his friend Crevel committed suicide to protest the adoption of socialist realism. At a later stage, Livezeanu remarks, Tzara reinterpreted Dada and Surrealism as revolutionary currents, and presented them as such to the public. This stance she contrasts with that of Breton, who was more reserved in his attitudes.

World War II and Resistance

During World War II, Tzara took refuge from the German occupation forces, moving to the southern areas, controlled by the Vichy regime. On one occasion, the antisemiticand collaborationist publication Je Suis Partout made his whereabouts known to the Gestapo.

He was in Marseillein late 1940-early 1941, joining the group of anti-fascist and Jewish refugees who, protected by American diplomat Varian Fry, were seeking to escape Nazi-occupied Europe. Among the people present there were the anti-totalitarian socialist Victor Serge, anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, playwright Arthur Adamov, philosopher and poet René Daumal, and several prominent Surrealists: Breton, Char, and Benjamin Péret, as well as artists Max Ernst, André Masson, Wifredo Lam, Jacques Hérold, Victor Brauner and Óscar Domínguez. During the months spent together, and before some of them received permission to leave for America, they invented a new card game, on which traditional card imagery was replaced with Surrealist symbols.

Some time after his stay in Marseille, Tzara joined the French Resistance, rallying with the Maquis. A contributor to magazines published by the Resistance, Tzara also took charge of the cultural broadcast for the Free French Forces clandestine radio station. He lived in Aix-en-Provence, then in Souillac, and ultimately in Toulouse. His son Cristophe was at the time a Resistant in northern France, having joined the Franc Tireurs Partisans. In Axis-allied and antisemitic Romania, the regime of Ion Antonescu ordered bookstores not to sell works by Tzara and 44 other Jewish-Romanian authors (see Romania during World War II).

In December 1944, five months after the Liberation of Paris, he was contributing to L'Éternelle Revue, a pro-communist newspaper edited by philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, through which Sartre was publicizing the heroic image of a France united in resistance, as opposed to the perception that it had passively accepted German control. Other contributors included writers Aragon, Char, Éluard, Elsa Triolet, Eugène Guillevic, Raymond Queneau, Francis Ponge, Jacques Prévert and painter Pablo Picasso.

Upon the end of the war and the restoration of French independence, Tzara was naturalizeda French citizen. During 1945, under the Provisional Government of the French Republic, he was a representative of the Sud-Ouest region to theNational Assembly. According to Livezeanu, he "helped reclaim the Southfrom the cultural figures who had associated themselves to Vichy [France]." In April 1946, his early poems, alongside similar pieces by Breton, Éluard, Aragon and Dalí, were the subject of a midnight broadcast on Parisian Radio. In 1947, he became a full member of the PCF (according to some sources, he had been one since 1934).

International leftism

Over the following decade, Tzara lend his support to political causes. Pursuing his interest in primitivism, he became a critic of the Fourth Republic's colonial policy, and joined his voice to those who supported decolonization. Nevertheless, he was appointed cultural ambassador of the Republic by the Paul Ramadier cabinet. He also participated in the PCF-organized Congress of Writers, but, unlike Éluard and Aragon, again avoided adapting his style to socialist realism.

He returned to Romania on an official visit in late 1946-early 1947, as part of a tour of the emerging Eastern Bloc during which he also stopped in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia. The speeches he and Saşa Pană gave on the occasion, published by Orizont journal, were noted for condoning official positions of the PCF and the Romanian Communist Party, and are credited by Irina Livezeanu with causing a rift between Tzara and young Romanian avant-gardists such as Victor Brauner and Gherasim Luca (who rejected communism and were alarmed by the Iron Curtain having fallen over Europe). In September of the same year, he was present at the conference of the pro-communist International Union of Students(where he was a guest of the French-based Union of Communist Students, and met with similar organizations from Romania and other countries).

In 1949-1950, Tzara answered Aragon's call and become active in the international campaign to liberate Nazım Hikmet, a Turkishpoet whose 1938 arrest for communist activities had created a cause célèbre for the pro-Soviet public opinion. Tzara chaired the Committee for the Liberation of Nazım Hikmet, which issued petitions to national governments and commissioned works in honor of Hikmet (including musical pieces by Louis Durey and Serge Nigg). Hikmet was eventually released in July 1950, and publicly thanked Tzara during his subsequent visit to Paris.

His works of the period include, among others: Le Signe de vie("Sign of Life", 1946), Terre sur terre ("Earth on Earth", 1946), Sans coup férir ("Without a Need to Fight", 1949), De mémoire d'homme ("From a Man's Memory", 1950), Parler seul ("Speaking Alone", 1950), and La Face intérieure("The Inner Face", 1953), followed in 1955 by À haute flamme("Flame out Loud") and Le Temps naissant ("The Nascent Time"), and the 1956 Le Fruit permis ("The Permitted Fruit"). Tzara continued to be an active promoter of modernist culture. Around 1949, having read Irish author Samuel Beckett's manuscript of Waiting for Godot, Tzara facilitated the play's staging by approaching producerRoger Blin. He also translated into French some poems by Hikmetand the Hungarian author József Attila. In 1949, he introduced Picasso to art dealer Heinz Berggruen (thus helping start their lifelong partnership), and, in 1951, wrote the catalog for an exhibit of works by his friend Max Ernst; the text celebrated the artist's "free use of stimuli" and "his discovery of a new kind of humor."

1956 protest and final years

In October 1956, Tzara went visited the People's Republic of Hungary, where the government of Imre Nagy was coming into conflict with the Soviet Union. This followed an invitation on the part of Hungarian writer Gyula Illyés, who wanted his colleague to be present at ceremonies marking the rehabilitation of László Rajk (a local communist leader whose prosecution had been ordered by Joseph Stalin). Tzara was receptive of the Hungarians' demand for liberalization, contacted the anti-Stalinist and former Dadaist Lajos Kassák, and deemed the anti-Soviet movement "revolutionary".However, unlike much of Hungarian public opinion, the poet did not recommend emancipation from Soviet control, and described the independence demanded by local writers as "an abstract notion".The statement he issued, widely quoted in the Hungarian and international press, forced a reaction from the PCF: through Aragon's reply, the party deplored the fact that one of its members was being used in support of "anti-communistand anti-Soviet campaigns."

His return to France coincided with the outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution, which ended with a Soviet military intervention. On October 24, Tzara was ordered to a PCF meeting, where activist Laurent Casanova reportedly ordered him to keep silent, which Tzara did. Tzara's apparent dissidence and the crisis he helped provoke within the Communist Party were celebrated by Breton, who had adopted a pro-Hungarian stance, and who defined his friend and rival as "the first spokesman of the Hungarian demand."

He was thereafter mostly withdrawn from public life, dedicating himself to researching the work of 15th century poet François Villon, and, like his fellow Surrealist Michel Leiris, to promoting primitive and African art, which he had been collecting for years. In early 1957, Tzara attended a Dada retrospective on the Rive Gauche, which ended in a riot caused by the rival avant-garde Mouvement Jariviste, an outcome which reportedly pleased him.[168]In August 1960, one year after the Fifth Republic had been established by PresidentCharles de Gaulle, at a time when French forces were confronting the Algerian rebels (seeAlgerian War). Together with Simone de Beauvoir, Marguerite Duras, Jérôme Lindon, Alain Robbe-Grillet and other intellectuals, he addressed PremierMichel Debré a letter of protest, concerning France's refusal to grant Algeria its independence. As a result, Minister of CultureAndré Malraux announced that his cabinet would not subsidize any films to which Tzara and the others may contribute, and the signatories could no longer appear on stations managed by the state-owned French Broadcasting Service.

In 1961, as recognition for his work as a poet, Tzara was awarded the prestigious Taormina Prize. One of his final public activities took place in 1962, when he attended the International Congress on African Culture, organized by English curator Frank McEwen and held at the National Gallery in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia. He died one year later in his Paris home, and was buried at the Cimetière du Montparnasse.

Literary contributions

Identity issues

Much critical commentary about Tzara surrounds the measure to which the poet identified with the national cultures which he represented. Paul Cernat notes that the association between Samyro and the Jancos, who were Jews, and their ethnic Romaniancolleagues, was one sign of a cultural dialog, in which "the openness of Romanian environments toward artistic modernity" was stimulated by "young emancipated Jewish writers." Salomon Schulman, a Swedish researcher of Yiddish literature, argues that the combined influence of Yiddish folklore and Hasidic philosophy shaped European modernism in general and Tzara's style in particular, while American poet Andrei Codrescu speaks of Tzara as one in a Balkan line of "absurdist writing", which also includes the Romanians Urmuz, Eugène Ionesco and Emil Cioran. According to literary historian George Călinescu, Samyro's early poems deal with "the voluptuousness over the strong scents of rural life, which is typical among Jews compressed into ghettos."

Tzara himself used elements alluding to his homeland in his early Dadaist performances. His collaboration with Maja Kruscek at Zuntfhaus zür Waag featured samples of African literature, to which Tzara added Romanian-language fragments. He is also known to have mixed elements of Romanian folklore, and to have sung the native suburban romanzaLa moară la Hârţa("At the Mill in Hârţa") during at least one staging for Cabaret Voltaire. Addressing the Romanian public in 1947, he claimed to have been captivated by "the sweet language of Moldavianpeasants".

Tzara nonetheless rebelled against his birthplace and upbringing. His earliest poems depict provincial Moldavia as a desolate and unsettling place. In Cernat's view, this imagery was in common use among Moldavian-born writers who also belonged to the avant-garde trend, notably Benjamin Fondane and George Bacovia. Like in the cases of Eugène Ionesco and Fondane, Cernat proposes, Samyro sought self-exile to Western Europe as a "modern, voluntarist" means of breaking with "the peripheral condition",which may also serve to explain the pun he selected for a pseudonym. According to the same author, two important elements in this process were "a maternal attachment and a break with paternal authority", an "Oedipus complex" which he also argued was evident in the biographies of other Symbolist and avant-garde Romanian authors, from Urmuz to Mateiu Caragiale. Unlike Vinea and the Contimporanulgroup, Cernat proposes, Tzara stood for radicalism and insurgency, which would also help explain their impossibility to communicate. In particular, Cernat argues, the writer sought to emancipate himself from competing nationalisms, and addressed himself directly to the center of European culture, with Zürich serving as a stage on his way to Paris. The 1916 Monsieur's Antipyrine's Manifestofeatured a cosmopolitan appeal: "DADA remains within the framework of European weaknesses, it's still shit, but from now on we want to shit in different colors so as to adorn the zoo of art with all the flags of all the consulates."

With time, Tristan Tzara came to be regarded by his Dada associates as an exotic character, whose attitudes were intrinsically linked with Eastern Europe. Early on, Ball referred to him and the Janco brothers as "Orientals".Hans Richter believed him to be a fiery and impulsive figure, having little in common with his German collaborators. According to Cernat, Richter's perspective seems to indicate a vision of Tzara having a "Latin" temperament  This type of perception also had negative implications for Tzara, particularly after the 1922 split within Dada. In the 1940s, Richard Huelsenbeck alleged that his former colleague had always been separated from other Dadaists by his failure to appreciate the legacy of "German humanism", and that, compared to his German colleagues, he was "a barbarian". In his polemic with Tzara, Breton also repeatedly placed stress on his rival's foreign origin.

At home, Tzara was occasionally targeted for his Jewishness, culminating in the ban enforced by the Ion Antonescu regime. In 1931, Const. I. Emilian, the first Romanian to write an academic study on the avant-garde, attacked him from a conservativeand antisemiticposition. He depicted Dadaists as "Judaeo-Bolsheviks" who corrupted Romanian culture, and included Tzara among the main proponents of "literary anarchism".Alleging that Tzara's only merit was to establish a literary fashion, while recognizing his "formal virtuosity and artistic intelligence", he claimed to prefer Tzara in his Simbolulstage. Nine years after Emilian's polemic text, fascist poet and journalist Radu Gyr published an article in Convorbiri Literare, in which he attacked Tzara as a representative of the "Judaicspirit", of the "foreign plague" and of "materialist-historical dialectics".

Symbolist poetry

Tzara's earliest Symbolist poems, published in Simbolulduring 1912, were later rejected by their author, who asked Saşa Pană not to include them in editions of his works. The influence of French Symbolists on the young Samyro was particularly important, and surfaced in both his lyricand prose poems. Attached to Symbolist musicalityat that stage, he was indebted to his Simbolul colleague Ion Minulescuand the Belgian poet Maurice Maeterlinck. Philip Beitchman argues that "Tristan Tzara is one of the writers of the twentieth century who was most profoundly influenced by symbolism—and utilized many of its methods and ideas in the pursuit of his own artistic and social ends." However, Cernat believes, the young poet was by then already breaking with the syntax of conventional poetry, and, in subsequent experimental pieces, he progressively stripped his style of its Symbolist elements.

During the 1910s, Samyro experimented with Symbolist imagery, in particular with the "hanged man" motif, which served as the basis for his poem Se spânzură un om ("A Man Hangs Himself"), and which built on the legacy of similar pieces authored by Christian Morgenstern and Jules Laforgue. Se spânzură un om was also in many ways similar to ones authored by his collaborators Adrian Maniu (Balada spânzuratului, "The Hanged Man's Ballad") and Vinea (Visul spânzuratului, "The Hanged Man's Dream"): all three poets, who were all in the process of discarding Symbolism, interpreted the theme from a tragicomicand iconoclasticperspective. These pieces also include Vacanţă în provincie("Provincial Holiday") and the anti-warfragment Furtuna şi cântecul dezertorului ("The Storm and the Deserter's Song"), which Vinea published in his Chemarea. The series is seen by Cernat as "the general rehearsal for the Dada adventure." The complete text of Furtuna şi cântecul dezertoruluiwas published at a later stage, after the missing text was discovered by Pană. At the time, he became interested in the free versework of the American Walt Whitman, and his translation of Whitman's epic poemSong of Myself, probably completed before World War I, was published by Alfred Hefter-Hidalgoin his magazine Versuri şi Proză (1915).

Beitchman notes that, throughout his life, Tzara used Symbolist elements against the doctrines of Symbolism. Thus, he argues, the poet did not cultivate a memory of historical events, "since it deludes man into thinking that there was something when there was nothing." Cernat notes: "That which essentially unifies, during [the 1910s], the poetic output of Adrian Maniu, Ion Vinea and Tristan Tzara is an acute awareness of literary conventions, a satiety [...] in respect to calophileliterature, which they perceived as exhausted." In Beitchman's view, the revolt against cultivated beauty was a constant in Tzara's years of maturity, and his visions of social change continued to be inspired by Arthur Rimbaud and the Comte de Lautréamont. According to Beitchman, Tzara's uses the Symbolist message that "the birthright [of humans] has been sold for a mess of porridge", taking it "into the streets, cabarets and trains where he denounces the deal and asks for his birthright back."

Collaboration with Vinea

The transition to a more radical form of poetry seems to have taken place in 1913-1915, during the periods when Tzara and Vinea were vacationing together. The pieces share a number of characteristics and subjects, and the two poets even use them to allude to one another (or, in one case, to Tzara's sister).

In addition to the lyrics were they both speak of provincial holidays and love affairs with local girls, both friends intended to reinterpret William Shakespeare's Hamlet from a modernist perspective, and wrote incomplete texts with this as their subject. However, Paul Cernat notes, the texts also evidence a difference in approach, with Vinea's work being "meditative and melancholic", while Tzara's is "hedonistic".Tzara often appealed to revolutionary and ironic images, portraying provincial and middle classenvironments as places of artificiality and decay, demystifying pastoral themes and evidencing a will to break free.

Cernat notes that Nocturnă ("Nocturne") and Însereazăwere the pieces originally performed at Cabaret Voltaire, identified by Hugo Ballas "Rumanian poetry", and that they were recited in Tzara's own spontaneous French translation.Although they are noted for their radical break with the traditional form of Romanian verse, Ball's diary entry of February 5, 1916, indicates that Tzara's works were still "conservative in style". In Călinescu's view, they announce Dadaism, given that "bypassing the relations which lead to a realistic vision, the poet associates unimaginably dissipated images that will surprise consciousness." In 1922, Tzara himself wrote: "As early as 1914, I tried to strip the words of their proper meaning and use them in such a way as to give the verse a completely new, general, meaning [...]."

Alongside pieces depicting a Jewish cemetery in which graves "crawl like worms" on the edge of a town, chestnut trees "heavy-laden like people returning from hospitals", or wind wailing "with all the hopelessness of an orphanage",Samyro's poetry includes Verişoară, fată de pension, which, Cernat argues, displays "playful detachment [for] the musicality of internal rhymes".

The Gârcenipieces were treasured by the moderate wing of the Romanian avant-garde movement. In contrast to his previous rejection of Dada, Contimporanulcollaborator Benjamin Fondane used them as an example of "pure poetry", and compared them to the elaborate writings of French poet Paul Valéry, thus recuperating them in line with the magazine's ideology.

Dada synthesis and "simultaneism"

Tzara the Dadaist was inspired by the contributions of his experimental modernist predecessors. Among them were the literary promoters of Cubism: in addition to Henri Barzun and Fernand Divoire, Tzara cherished the works of Guillaume Apollinaire. Despite Dada's condemnation of Futurism, various authors note the influence Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and his circle exercised on Tzara's group. In 1917, he was in correspondence with both Apollinaireand Marinetti. Traditionally, Tzara is also seen as indebted to the early avant-garde and black comedy writings of Romania's Urmuz.

For a large part, Dada focused on performances and satire, with shows that often had Tzara, Marcel Janco and Huelsenbeck for their main protagonists. Often dressed up as Tyrolianpeasants or wearing dark robes, they improvised poetry sessions at the Cabaret Voltaire, reciting the works of others or their spontaneous creations, which were or pretended to be in Esperanto or Māori language. Bernard Gendron describes these soirées as marked by "heterogeneity and eclecticism",and Richter notes that the songs, often punctuated by loud shrieks or other unsettling sounds, built on the legacy of noise musicand Futurist compositions.

With time, Tristan Tzara merged his performances and his literature, taking part in developing Dada's "simultaneist poetry", which was meant to be read out loud and involved a collaborative effort, being, according to Hans Arp, the first instance of Surrealist automatism. Ball stated that the subject of such pieces was "the value of the human voice." Together with Arp, Tzara and Walter Serner produced the German-languageDie Hyperbel vom Krokodilcoiffeur und dem Spazierstock ("The Hyperbole of the Crocodile's Hairdresser and the Walking-Stick"), in which, Arp stated, "the poet crows, curses, sighs, stutters, yodels, as he pleases. His poems are like Nature [where] a tiny particle is as beautiful and important as a star." Another noted simultaneist poem was L'Amiral cherche une maison à louer ("The Admiral Is Looking for a House to Rent"), co-authored by Tzara, Marcel Janco and Huelsenbach.

Art historian Roger Cardinal describes Tristan Tzara's Dada poetry as marked by "extreme semantic and syntactic incoherence".Tzara, who recommended destroying just as it is created, had devised a personal system for writing poetry, which implied a seemingly chaotic reassembling of words that had been randomly cut out of newspapers.

Dada and anti-art

The Romanian writer also spent the Dada period issuing a long series of manifestos, which were often authored as prose poetry, and, according to Cardinal, were characterized by "rumbustious tomfoolery and astringent wit", which reflected "the language of a sophisticated savage".Huelsenbeck credited Tzara with having discovered in them the format for "compress[ing] what we think and feel",and, according to Hans Richter, the genre "suited Tzara perfectly." Despite its production of seemingly theoretical works, Richter indicates, Dada lacked any form of program, and Tzara tried to perpetuate this state of affairs. His Dada manifesto of 1918 stated: "Dada means nothing", adding "Thought is produced in the mouth." Tzara indicated: "I am against systems; the most acceptable system is on principle to have none."  In addition, Tzara, who once stated that "logicis always false",probably approved of Serner's vision of a "final dissolution".According to Philip Beitchman, a core concept in Tzara's thought was that "as long as we do things the way we think we once did them we will be unable to achieve any kind of livable society."

Despite adopting such anti-artistic principles, Richter argues, Tzara, like many of his fellow Dadaists, did not initially discard the mission of "furthening the cause of art.

La Revue Dada2, which also includes the onomatopoeicline tralalalalalalalalalalala, is one example where Tzara applies his principles of chance to sounds themselves. This sort of arrangement, treasured by many Dadaists, was probably connected with Apollinaire's calligrams, and with his announcement that "Man is in search of a new language." Călinescu proposed that Tzara willingly limited the impact of chance: taking as his example a short parodypiece which depicts the love affair between cyclist and a Dadaist, which ends with their decapitation by a jealous husband, the critic notes that Tzara transparently intended to "shock the bourgeois".Late in his career, Huelsenbeck alleged that Tzara never actually applied the experimental methods he had devised.

The Dada series makes ample use of contrast, ellipses, ridiculous imagery and nonsensical verdicts. Tzara was aware that the public could find it difficult to follow his intentions, and, in a piece titled Le géant blanc lépreux du paysage ("The White Leprous Giant in the Landscape") even alluded to the "skinny, idiotic, dirty" reader who "does not understand my poetry."[1]He called some of his own poems lampisteries, from a French word designating storage areas for light fixtures.[229]The Lettristpoet Isidore Isou included such pieces in a succession of experiments inaugurated by Charles Baudelaire with the "destruction of the anecdote for the form of the poem", a process which, with Tzara, became "destruction of the word for nothing".[230]According to American literary historian Mary Ann Caws, Tzara's poems may be seen as having an "internal order", and read as "a simple spectacle, as creation complete in itself and completely obvious."[1]

[edit]Plays of the 1920s

Tristan Tzara's first play, The Gas Heart, dates from the final period of Paris Dada. Created with what Enoch Brater calls a "peculiar verbal strategy", it is a dialog between characters called Ear, Mouth, Eye, Nose, Neck, and Eyebrow.[231]They seem unwilling to actually communicate to each other and their reliance on proverbs and idiotisms willingly creates confusion between metaphorical and literal speech.[231]The play ends with a dance performance that recalls similar devices used by the proto-Dadaist Alfred Jarry. The text culminates in a series of doodles and illegible words.[232]Brater describes The Gas Heart as a "parod[y] of theatrical conventions".[232]

In his 1924 play Handkerchief of Clouds, Tzara explores the relation between perception, the subconsciousand memory. Largely through exchanges between commentators who act as third parties, the text presents the tribulations of a love triangle (a poet, a bored woman, and her banker husband, whose character traits borrow the clichés of conventional drama), and in part reproduces settings and lines from Hamlet. Tzara mocks classical theater, which demands from characters to be inspiring, believable, and to function as a whole: Handkerchief of Clouds requires actors in the role of commentators to address each other by their real names, and their lines include dismissive comments on the play itself, while the protagonist, who in the end dies, is not assigned any name. Writing for Integral, Tzara defined his play as a note on "the relativity of things, sentiments and events." Among the conventions ridiculed by the dramatist, Philip Beitchman notes, is that of a "privileged position for art": in what Beitchman sees as a comment onMarxism, poet and banker are interchangeable capitalists who invest in different fields. Writing in 1925, Fondane rendered a pronouncement by Jean Cocteau, who, while commenting that Tzara was one of his "most beloved" writers and a "great poet", argued: "Handkerchief of Cloudswas poetry, and great poetry for that matter—but not theater." The work was nonetheless praised by Ion Călugăru at Integral, who saw in it one example that modernist performance could rely not just on props, but also on a solid text.

The Approximate Man and later works

After 1929, with the adoption of Surrealism, Tzara's literary works discard much of their satirical purpose, and begin to explore universal themes relating to the human condition. According to Cardinal, the period also signified the definitive move from "a studied inconsequentiality" and "unreadable gibberish" to "a seductive and fertile surrealist idiom." The critic also remarks: "Tzara arrived at a mature style of transparent simplicity, in which disparate entities could be held together in a unifying vision." In a 1930 essay, Fondane had given a similar verdict: arguing that Tzara had infused his work with "suffering", had discovered humanity, and had become a "clairvoyant" among poets.

This period in Tzara's creative activity centers on The Approximate Man, an epic poem which is reportedly recognized as his most accomplished contribution to French literature. While maintaining some of Tzara's preoccupation with language experimentation, it is mainly a study in social alienation and the search for an escape. Cardinal calls the piece "an extended meditation on mental and elemental impulses [...] with images of stunning beauty",while Breitchman, who notes Tzara's rebellion against the "excess baggage of [man's] past and the notions [...] with which he has hitherto tried to control his life", remarks his portrayal of poets as voices who can prevent human beings from destroying themselves with their own intellects. The goal is a new man who lets intuition and spontaneity guide him through life, and who rejects measure.

The next stage in Tzara's career saw a merger of his literary and political views. His poems of the period blend a humanist vision with communisttheses. The 1935 Grains et issues, described by Beitchman as "fascinating", was a prose poem of social criticism connected with The Approximate Man, expanding on the vision of a possible society, in which haste has been abandoned in favor of oblivion. The world imagined by Tzara abandons symbols of the past, from literature to public transportation and currency, while, like psychologists Sigmund Freud and Wilhelm Reich, the poet depicts violence as a natural means of human expression. People of the future live in a state which combines waking life and the realm of dreams, and life itself turns into revery. Grains et issues was accompanied by Personage d'insomnie ("Personage of Insomnia"), which went unpublished.

Cardinal notes: "In retrospect, harmony and contact had been Tzara's goals all along." The post-World War II volumes in the series focus on political subjects related to the conflict. In his last writings, Tzara toned down experimentation, exercising more control over the lyrical aspects. He was by then undertaking a hermeuticresearch into the work of Goliards and François Villon, whom he deeply admired.



Beside the many authors who were attracted into Dada through his promotional activities, Tzara was able to influence successive generations of writers. This was the case in his homeland during 1928, when the first avant-garde manifesto issued by unu magazine, written by Saşa Pană and Moldov, cited as its mentors Tzara, writers Breton, Ribemont-Dessaignes, Vinea, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, and Tudor Arghezi, as well as artists Constantin Brancusi and Theo van Doesburg. One of the Romanian writers to claim inspiration from Tzara was Jacques G. Costin, who nevertheless offered an equally good reception to both Dadaism and Futurism, whileIlarie Voronca's Zodiac cycle, first published in France, is traditionally seen as indebted to The Approximate Man. The Kabbalist and Surrealist author Marcel Avramescu, who wrote during the 1930s, also appears to have been directly inspired by Tzara's views on art. Other authors from that generation to have been inspired by Tzara were PolishFuturist writer Bruno Jasieński, Japanese poet and Zen thinker Takahashi Shinkichi, and Chilean poet and Dadaist sympathizer Vicente Huidobro, who cited him as a precursor for his own Creacionismo.

An immediate precursor of Absurdism, he was acknowledged as a mentor byEugène Ionesco, who developed on his principles for his early essays of literary and social criticism, as well as in tragic farces such as The Bald Soprano. Tzara's poetry influenced Samuel Beckett (who translated some of it into English); the Irish author's 1972 play Not Ishares some elements with Le Cœur à gaz. In the United States, the Romanian author is cited as an influence on Beat Generation members. Beat writer Allen Ginsberg, who made his acquaintance in Paris, cites him among the Europeans who influenced him and William S. Burroughs. The latter also mentioned Tzara's use of chance in writing poetry as an early example of what became the cut-up technique, adopted by Brion Gysinand Burroughs himself. Gysin, who conversed with Tzara in the late 1950s, records the latter's indignation that Beat poets were "going back over the ground we [Dadaists] covered in 1920", and accuses Tzara of having consumed his creative energies into becoming a "Communist Party bureaucrat".

Among the late 20th century writers who acknowledged Tzara as an inspiration are Jerome Rothenberg, Isidore Isou and Andrei Codrescu. The former Situationist Isou, whose experiments with sounds and poetry come in succession to Apollinaire and Dada, declared hisLettrism to be the last connection in the Charles Baudelaire-Tzara cycle, with the goal of arranging "a nothing [...] for the creation of the anecdote." For a short period, Codrescu even adopted the pen name Tristan Tzara.

In retrospect, various authors describe Tzara's Dadaist shows and street performances as "happenings", with a word employed by post-Dadaists and Situationists, which was coined in the 1950s. Some also credit Tzara with having provided an ideological source for the development of rock music, including punk rock, punk subculture and post-punk. Tristan Tzara has inspired the songwriting technique of Radiohead, and is one of the avant-garde authors whose voices were mixed by DJ Spookyon his trip hop album Rhythm Science. Romanian contemporary classical musicianCornel Ţăranu set to music five of Tzara's poems, all of which date from the post-Dada period. Ţăranu, Anatol Vieru and other ten composers contributed to the album La Clé de l'horizon, inspired by Tzara's work.

Tributes and portrayals

In France, Tzara's work was collected as Oevres complètes("Complete Works"), of which the first volume saw print in 1975, and an international poetry award is named after him (Prix International de Poésie Tristan Tzara). An international periodical titled Caietele Tristan Tzara, edited by the Tristan Tzara Cultural-Literary Foundation, has been published in Moineşti since 1998.

According to Paul Cernat, Aliluia, one of the few avant-garde texts authored by Ion Vinea features a "transparent allusion" to Tristan Tzara. Vinea's fragment speaks of "the Wandering Jew", a character whom people notice because he sings La moară la Hârţa, "a suspicious song from Greater Romania." The poet is a character in Indian novelist Mulk Raj Anand's Thieves of Fire, part four of his The Bubble(1984), as well as in The Prince of West End Avenue, a 1994 book by the American Alan Isler. Rothenberg dedicated several of his poems to Tzara, as did the Neo-Dadaist Valery Oişteanu.

Tzara's legacy in literature also covers specific episodes of his biography, beginning with Gertrude Stein's controversial memoir. One of his performances is enthusiastically recorded by Malcolm Cowley in his autobiographical book of 1934, Exile's Return, and he is also mentioned in Harold Loeb's memoir The Way It Was. Among his biographers is the French author François Buot, who records some of the lesser-known aspects of Tzara's life. At some point between 1915 and 1917, Tzara is believed to have played chess in a coffeehouse that was also frequented by Bolshevikleader Vladimir Lenin. While Richter himself recorded the incidental proximity of Lenin's lodging to the Dadaist milieu, no record exists of an actual conversation between the two figures. Andrei Codrescu believes that Lenin and Tzara did play against each other, noting that an image of their encounter would be "the proper icon of the beginning of [modern] times." This meeting is mentioned as a fact in Harlequin at the Chessboard, a poem by Tzara's acquaintance Kurt Schwitters. German playwright and novelist Peter Weiss, who has introduced Tzara as a character in his 1969 play about Leon Trotsky (Trotzki im Exil), recreated the scene in his 1975-1981 cycle The Aesthetics of Resistance. The imagined episode also inspired much of Tom Stoppard's 1974 play Travesties, which also depicts conversations between Tzara, Lenin, and the Irish modernist author James Joyce(who is also known to have resided in Zürich after 1915). His role was notably played by David Westhead in the 1993 Britishproduction, and by Tom Hewitt in the 2005 American version.

Alongside his collaborations with Dada artists on various pieces, Tzara himself was a subject for visual artists. Max Ernstdepicts him as the only mobile character in the Dadaists' group portrait Au Rendez-vous des Amis ("A Friends' Reunion", 1922), while, in one of Man Ray's photographs, he is shown kneeling to kiss the hand of an androgynousNancy Cunard. Years before their split, Francis Picabia used Tzara's calligraphed name in Moléculaire("Molecular"), a composition printed on the cover of 391. The same artist also completed his schematic portrait, which showed a series of circles connected by two perpendicular arrows. In 1949, Swissartist Alberto Giacometti made Tzara the subject of one of his first experiments with lithography. Portraits of Tzara were also made by Greta Knutson, Robert Delaunay, and the Cubist painters M. H. Maxyand Lajos Tihanyi. As an homage to Tzara the performer, art rockerDavid Bowieadopted his accessories and mannerisms during a number of public appearances. In 1996, he was depicted on a series of Romanian stamps, and, the same year, a concrete and steel monument dedicated to the writer was erected in Moineşti.

Several of Tzara's Dadaist editions had illustrations by Picabia, Janco and Hans Arp. In its 1925 edition, Mouchoir de Nuages featured etchings by Juan Gris, while his late writings Parler seul, Le Signe de vie, De mémoire d'homme, Le Temps naissant, and Le Fruit permis were illustrated with works by, respectively, Joan Miró,Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Nejad Devrim and Sonia Delaunay. Tzara was the subject of an 1949 eponymous documentary film directed by the Danish filmmaker Jørgen Roos, and footage of him featured prominently in the 1953 production Les statues meurent aussi("Statues Also Die"), jointly directed by Chris Marker and Alain Resnais.

Posthumous controversies

The many polemics which surrounded Tzara in his lifetime left traces after his death, and determine contemporary perceptions of his work. The controversy regarding Tzara's role as a founder of Dada extended into several milieus, and continued long after the writer died. Richter, who discusses the lengthy conflict between Huelsenbeck and Tzara over the issue of Dada foundation, speaks of the movement as being torn apart by "petty jealosies".

In Romania, similar debates often involved the supposed founding role of Urmuz, who wrote his avant-garde texts before World War I, and Tzara's status as a communicator between Romania and the rest of Europe. Vinea, who claimed that Dada had been invented by Tzara in Gârceni ca. 1915 and thus sought to legitimize his own modernist vision, also saw Urmuz as the ignored precursor of radical modernism, from Dada to Surrealism. In 1931, the young and modernist literary critic Lucian Boz evidenced that he partly shared Vinea's perspective on the matter, crediting Tzara and Constantin Brancusi with having, each on his own, invented the avant-garde. Eugène Ionesco argued that "before Dadaism there was Urmuzianism", and, after World War II, sought to popularize Urmuz's work among aficionados of Dada. Rumors in the literary community had it that Tzara successfully sabotaged Ionesco's initiative to publish a French edition of Urmuz's texts, allegedly because the public could then question his claim to have initiated the avant-garde experiment in Romania and the world (the edition saw print in 1965, two years after Tzara's death).

A more radical questioning of Tzara's influence came from Romanian essayist Petre Pandrea. In his personal diary, published long after he and Tzara had died, Pandrea depicted the poet as an opportunist, accusing him of adapting his style to political requirements, of dodging military service during World War I, and of being a "Lumpenproletarian".Pandrea's text, completed just after Tzara's visit to Romania, claimed that his founding role within the avant-garde was an "illusion [...] which has swelled up like a multicolored balloon", and denounced him as "the Balkan provider of interlope odalisques, [together] with narcotics and a sort of scandalous literature." Himself an adherent to communism, Pandrea grew disillusioned with the ideology, and later became a political prisoner in Communist Romania.

From the 1960s to 1989, after a period when it ignored or attacked the avant-garde movement, the Romanian communist regime sought to recuperate Tzara, in order to validate its newly-adopted emphasis on nationalisttenets. In 1977, literary historian Edgar Papu, whose controversial theories were linked to "protochronism", which presumes that Romanians took precedence in various areas of world culture, mentioned Tzara, alongside Urmuz, Ionesco and Isou, as representatives of "Romanian initiatives" and "road openers at a universal level." Elements of protochronism in this area, Paul Cernat argues, could be traced back to Vinea's claim that his friend had single-handedly created the worldwide avant-garde movement on the basis of models already present at home.

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Henri Matisse (31 December 1869 – 3 November 1954) was a French artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid, brilliant and original draughtsmanship. As a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but principally as a painter, Matisse is one of the best-known artists of the 20th century. Although he was initially labeled as a Fauve (wild beast), by the 1920s, he was increasingly hailed as an upholder of the classical tradition in French painting. His mastery of the expressive language of colour and drawing, displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art.

Early life and education
Born Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, he grew up in Bohain-en-Vermandois in Northeastern France, where his parents owned a seed business. He was their first son. In 1887 he went to Paris to study law, working as a court administrator in Le Cateau-Cambrésis after gaining his qualification. He first started to paint in 1889, when his mother had brought him art supplies during a period of convalescence following an attack of appendicitis. He discovered "a kind of paradise" as he later described it, and decided to become an artist, deeply disappointing his father. In 1891 he returned to Paris to study art at the Académie Julian and became a student of William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Gustave Moreau. Initially he painted still-lifes and landscapes in the traditional Flemish style, at which he achieved reasonable proficiency. Chardin was one of Matisse's most admired painters;as an art student he made copies of four Chardin paintings in the Louvre.In 1896 he exhibited 5 paintings in the salon of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, and the state bought two of his paintings. In 1897 and 1898, he visited the painter John Peter Russell on the island Belle Île off the coast of Brittany. Russell introduced him to Impressionism and to the work of Van Gogh (who had been a good friend of Russell but was completely unknown at the time). Matisse's style changed completely, and he would later say "Russell was my teacher, and Russell explained colour theory to me."

Influenced by the works of the post-Impressionists Paul Cézanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh and Paul Signac, and also by Japanese art,[citation needed] he made colour a crucial element of his paintings. Many of his paintings from 1899 to 1905 make use of a pointillist technique adopted from Signac. In 1898, he went to London to study the paintings of J. M. W. Turner and then went on a trip to Corsica.

With the model Caroline Joblau, he had a daughter, Marguerite, born in 1894. In 1898 he married Amélie Noellie Parayre; the two raised Marguerite together and had two sons, Jean (born 1899) and Pierre (born 1900). Marguerite often served as a model for Matisse.

Henri Matisse. Woman with a Hat, 1905. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.His first solo exhibition was at Vollard's gallery in 1904, without much success. His fondness for bright and expressive colour became more pronounced after he moved southwards in 1905 to work with André Derain and spent time on the French Riviera. The paintings of this period are characterized by flat shapes and controlled lines, with expression dominant over detail.

In 1905, Matisse and a group of artists now known as "Fauves" exhibited together in a room at the Salon d'Automne. The paintings expressed emotion with wild, often dissonant colors, without regard for the subject's natural colors. Matisse showed Open Window and Woman with the Hat at the Salon. Critic Louis Vauxcelles described the work with the phrase "Donatello au milieu des fauves!" (Donatello among the wild beasts), referring to a Renaissance-type sculpture that shared the room with them. His comment was printed on 17 October 1905 in Gil Blas, a daily newspaper, and passed into popular usage. The pictures gained considerable condemnation, such as "A pot of paint has been flung in the face of the public" from the critic Camille Mauclair, but also some favourable attention. The painting that was singled out for attacks was Matisse's Woman with a Hat, which was bought by Gertrude and Leo Stein: this had a very positive effect on Matisse, who was suffering demoralization from the bad reception of his work.

Matisse was recognized as a leader of the group, along with André Derain; the two were friendly rivals, each with his own followers. Other members were Georges Braque, Raoul Dufy and Maurice Vlaminck. The Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau was the movement's inspirational teacher, and he did much for the era; a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, he pushed his students to think outside of the lines of formality and to follow their visions.

Apollinaire, commenting about Matisse in an article published in La Falange, said, "We are not here in the presence of an extravagant or an extremist undertaking: Matisse's art is eminently reasonable."But Matisse's work of the time also encountered vehement criticism, and it was difficult for him to provide for his family. His controversial 1907 painting Nu bleu was burned in effigy at the Armory Show in Chicago in 1913.

The decline of the Fauvist movement, after 1906, did nothing to affect the rise of Matisse; many of his finest works were created between 1906 and 1917, when he was an active part of the great gathering of artistic talent in Montparnasse, even though he did not quite fit in, with his conservative appearance and strict bourgeois work habits.

Matisse had a long association with the Russian art collector Sergei Shchukin. He created one of his major works La Danse specially for Shchukin as part of a two painting commission, the other painting being Music, 1910. An earlier version of La Danse (1909) is in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Gertrude Stein, Académie Matisse, and the Cone sisters
Around 1904 he met Pablo Picasso, who was 12 years younger than him. The two became life-long friends as well as rivals and are often compared; one key difference between them is that Matisse drew and painted from nature, while Picasso was much more inclined to work from imagination. The subjects painted most frequently by both artists were women and still lifes, with Matisse more likely to place his figures in fully realized interiors. Matisse and Picasso were first brought together at the Paris salon of Gertrude Stein and her companion Alice B. Toklas. During the first decade of the 20th century, Americans in Paris Gertrude Stein, her brothers Leo Stein, Michael Stein and Michael's wife Sarah were important collectors and supporters of Matisse's paintings. In addition Gertrude Stein's two American friends from Baltimore , Clarabel and Etta Cone, became major patrons of Matisse and Picasso, collecting hundreds of their paintings. The Cone collection is now exhibited in the Baltimore Museum of Art.

His friends organized and financed the Académie Matisse in Paris, a private and non-commercial school in which Matisse instructed young artists. It operated from 1911 until 1917. Hans Purrmann and Sarah Stein were amongst several of his most loyal students.

After Paris

Tombstone of Henri Matisse and his wife Noellie, cemetery of the Monastère Notre Dame de Cimiez, Cimiez, FranceIn 1917 Matisse relocated to Cimiez on the French Riviera, a suburb of the city of Nice. His work of the decade or so following this relocation shows a relaxation and a softening of his approach. This "return to order" is characteristic of much art of the post-World War I period, and can be compared with the neoclassicism of Picasso and Stravinsky, and the return to traditionalism of Derain. His orientalist odalisque paintings are characteristic of the period; while popular, some contemporary critics found this work shallow and decorative.

After 1930 a new vigor and bolder simplification appear in his work. American art collector Albert C. Barnes convinced him to produce a large mural for the Barnes Foundation, The Dance II, which was completed in 1932. The Foundation owns several dozen other Matisse paintings.

He and his wife of 41 years separated in 1939. In 1941 he was diagnosed with cancer and, following surgery, he started using a wheelchair. Until his death he would be cared for by a Russian woman, Lidia Delektorskaya, formerly one of his models. With the aid of assistants he set about creating cut paper collages, often on a large scale, called gouaches découpés. His Blue Nudes series feature prime examples of this technique he called "painting with scissors"; they demonstrate the ability to bring his eye for colour and geometry to a new medium of utter simplicity, but with playful and delightful power.

In 1947 he published Jazz, a limited-edition book containing prints of colorful paper cut collages, accompanied by his written thoughts. In the 1940s he also worked as a graphic artist and produced black-and-white illustrations for several books and over one hundred original lithographs at the famous Mourlot Studios in Paris.

Matisse, thoroughly unpolitical, was shocked when he heard that his daughter Marguerite, who had been active in the Résistance during the war, was tortured and imprisoned in the Ravensbrück concentration camp.

In 1951 he finished a four-year project of designing the interior, the glass windows and the decorations of the Chapelle du Rosaire in Vence. This project was the result of the close friendship between Matisse and Sister Jacques-Marie. He had hired her as a nurse and model in 1941 before she became a Dominican Nun and they met again in Vence and started the collaboration, a story related in her 1992 book Henri Matisse: La Chapelle de Vence and in the 2003 documentary "A Model for Matisse".

Matisse died of a heart attack at the age of 84 in 1954. He is interred in the cemetery of the Monastère Notre Dame de Cimiez, near Nice. A museum dedicated to his work was opened nearby in 1952, just before his death, and is now the third-largest collection of Matisse works in France.

The first painting of Matisse acquired by a public collection was Still Life with Geraniums (1910), exhibited in the Pinakothek der Moderne. Today, a Matisse painting can fetch as much as US $17 million. In 2002, a Matisse sculpture, Reclining Nude I (Dawn), sold for US $9.2 million, a record for a sculpture by the artist.

The Plum Blossoms a 1948 painting by Henri Matisse, was purchased on September 8, 2005, for the Museum of Modern Art by Henry Kravis and the new president of the museum, Marie-Josée Drouin. Estimated price was US $25 million. Previously, it had not been seen by the public since 1970.

Matisse's daughter Marguerite often aided Matisse scholars with insights about his working methods and his works. She died in 1982 while compiling a catalog of her father's work.

Matisse's son, Pierre Matisse, (1900-1989) opened an important modern art gallery in New York City during the 1930s. The Pierre Matisse Gallery which was active from 1931 until 1989 represented and exhibited many European artists and a few Americans and Canadians in New York often for the first time. He exhibited Joan Miró, Marc Chagall, Alberto Giacometti, Jean Dubuffet, André Derain, Yves Tanguy, Le Corbusier, Paul Delvaux, Wifredo Lam, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Balthus, Leonora Carrington, Zao Wou Ki, Sam Francis, sculptors Theodore Roszak, Raymond Mason and Reg Butler, and several other important artists, including the work of Henri Matisse.

Henri Matisse's grandson, Paul Matisse, is an artist and inventor living in Massachusetts. Matisse's great granddaughter Sophie Matisse is active as an artist in 2008.

Les Heritiers Matisse functions as his official Estate. The U.S. copyright representative for Les Heritiers Matisse is the Artists Rights Society.

Partial list of works
Woman Reading (1894), Museum of Modern Art, Paris 
Le Mur Rose (1898), Museum of Modern Art, Paris
Notre-Dame, une fin d'après-midi (1902), Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
The green line (1905) 
The Open Window (1905) 
Woman with a Hat (1905)
Les toits de Collioure (1905)
Landscape at Collioure (1905) 
Le bonheur de vivre (1906) 
The Young Sailor II (1906)
Self-Portrait in a Striped T-shirt (1906)
Madras Rouge (1907) [
Blue Nude (Souvenir de Biskra) (1907), Baltimore Museum of Art 
The Dessert: Harmony in Red (The Red Room) (1908) [13]
Bathers with a Turtle (1908), Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri 
La Danse (1909)
Still Life with Geraniums (1910) 
L'Atelier Rouge (1911) 
The Conversation (1908–1912) 
Zorah on the Terrace (1912) 
Le Rifain assis (1912)
Window at Tangier (1912)
Le rideau jaune (the yellow curtain) (1915) 
The Window (1916), Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan 
La leçon de musique (1917) 
The Painter and His Model (1917) 
Interior A Nice (1920) [26]
Odalisque with Raised Arms (1923), National Gallery of Art, Washington 
Yellow Odalisque (1926) [28]
The Dance II (1932), triptych mural (45 ft by 15 ft) in the Barnes Foundation of Philadelphia
Robe violette et Anémones (1937) 
Woman in a Purple Coat (1937) 
Le Rêve de 1940 (the dream of 1940) (1940)
La Blouse Roumaine (1940) 
Le Lanceur De Couteaux (1943) 
Annelies, White Tulips and Anemones (1944), Honolulu Academy of Arts 
L'Asie (1946) 
Deux fillettes, fond jaune et rouge (1947) 
Jazz (1947) 
The Plum Blossoms (1948) 
Chapelle du Saint-Marie du Rosaire (1948 - 1951)
Beasts of the Sea (1950) 
The Sorrows of the King (1952) 
Black Leaf on Green Background (1952) 
La Négresse (1952)peinture inspiration art premier
Blue Nude II (1952)
The Snail (1953)
Le Bateau (1954)

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Maurice de Vlaminck (4 April 1876 – 11 October 1958) was a French painter. Along with André Derain and Henri Matisse he is considered one of the principal figures in the Fauve movement, a group of modern artists who from 1904 to 1908 were united in their use of intense color.


Maurice de Vlaminck was born in Paris to a family of musicians. His father taught him to play the violin. He began painting in his late teens. In 1893, he studied with a painter named Henri Rigalon on the Ile de Chatou In 1894 he married Suzanne Berly. The turning point in his life was a chance meeting on the train to Paris towards the end of his stint in the army. Vlaminck, then 23, met an aspiring artist, André Derain, with whom he struck up a life-long friendship. When Vlaminck completed his army service in 1900, the two rented a studio together for a year before Derain left to do his own military service. In 1902 and 1903 he wrote several mildly pornographic novels illustrated by Derain. He painted during the day and earned his livelihood by giving violin lessons and performing with musical bands at night.

In 1911, Vlaminck traveled to London and painted by the Thames. In 1913, he painted again with Derain in Marseille and Martigues. In World War I he was stationed in Paris, and began writing poetry. Eventually he settled in the northwestern suburbs of Paris. He married his second wife, Berthe Combes, with whom he had two daughters. From 1925 he traveled throughout France, but continued to paint primarily along the Seine, near Paris.

Vlaminck died in Rueil-la-Gadelière on 11 October 1958.

Artistic career
Two of Vlaminck's groundbreaking paintings, Sur le zinc (At the Bar) and L'homme a la pipe (Man Smoking a Pipe) were painted in 1900.

For the next few years Vlaminck lived in or near Chatou (the inspiration for his painting houses at Chatou), painting and exhibiting alongside Derain, Matisse, and other Fauvist painters. At this time his exuberant paint application and vibrant use of color displayed the influence of Vincent van Gogh. Sur le zinc called to mind the work of Toulouse-Lautrec and his portrayals of prostitutes and solitary drinkers, but does not attempt to probe the sitter's psychology—a break with the century-old European tradition of individualized portraiture. According to art critic Souren Melikian, it is "the impersonal cartoon of a type." In his landscape paintings, his approach was similar. He ignored the details, with the landscape becoming a mere excuse to express mood through violent color and brushwork. An example is Sous bois, painted in 1904. The following year, he began to experiment with "deconstruction," turning the physical world into dabs and streaks of color that convey a sense of motion. His paintings Le Pont de Chatou (The Chatou Bridge), Les Ramasseurs de pommes de terre (The Potato Pickers), La Seine a Chatou (The River Seine at Chatou) and Le Verger (The Orchard) exemplify this trend.

Artistic influences

Vlaminck's compositions show familiarity with the Impressionists, several of whom had painted in the same area in the 1870s and 1880s. After visiting a van Gogh exhibit, he declared that he "loved van Gogh that day more than my own father". From 1908 his palette grew more monochromatic, and the predominant influence was that of Cézanne. His later work displayed a dark palette, punctuated by heavy strokes of contrasting white paint.

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Amedeo Clemente Modigliani (July 12, 1884 – January 24, 1920) was an Italian artist of Jewish heritage, practicing both painting and sculpture, who pursued his career for the most part in France. Modigliani was born in Livorno (historically referred to in English as Leghorn), in northwestern Italy and began his artistic studies in Italy before moving to Paris in 1906. Influenced by the artists in his circle of friends and associates, by a range of genres and art movements, and by primitive art, Modigliani's œuvre was nonetheless unique and idiosyncratic. He died in Paris of tubercular meningitis, exacerbated by poverty, overworking, and an excessive use of alcohol and narcotics, at the age of 35.

Early life

Amedeo Modigliani was born into a Jewish family at Livorno, in Tuscany. Livorno was still a relatively new city, by Italian standards, in the late 19th century. The Livorno that Modigliani knew was a bustling centre of commerce focused upon seafaring and shipwrighting, but its cultural history lay in being a refuge for those persecuted for their religion. His own maternal great-great-grandfather was one Solomon Garsin, a Jew who had immigrated to Livorno in the eighteenth century as a religious refugee.

Modigliani was the fourth child of Flaminio Modigliani and his wife, Eugenia Garsin. His father was in the money-changing business, but when the business went bankrupt, the family lived in dire poverty. In fact, Amedeo's birth saved the family from certain ruin, as, according to an ancient law, creditors could not seize the bed of a pregnant woman or a mother with a newborn child. When bailiffs entered the family home, just as Eugenia went into labour, the family protected their most valuable assets by piling them on top of the expectant mother.

Modigliani had a particularly close relationship with his mother, who taught her son at home until he was ten. Beset with health problems after an attack of pleurisy when he was about eleven, a few years later he developed a case of typhoid fever. When he was roughly sixteen he was taken ill with pleurisy again, and it was then that he contracted the tuberculosiswhich was to eventually claim his life. Each time it was his mother Eugenia's intensive care of him which pulled him through. After Modigliani had recovered from the second bout of pleurisy, his mother took him on a tour of southern Italy: Naples, Capri, Rome and Amalfi, then back north to Florenceand Venice.

Art student years

Modigliani is known to have drawn and painted from a very early age, and thought himself "already a painter", his mother wrote, even before beginning formal studies. Despite her misgivings that launching him on a course of studying art would impinge upon his other studies, his mother indulged the young Modigliani's passion for the subject.

At the age of fourteen, while sick with the typhoid fever, he raved in his delirium that he wanted, above all else, to see the paintings in the Palazzo Pitti and the Uffizi in Florence. As Livorno's local museum only housed a sparse few paintings by the Italian Renaissance masters, the tales he had heard about the great works held in Florence intrigued him, and it was a source of considerable despair to him, in his sickened state, that he might never get the chance to view them in person. His mother promised that she would take him to Florence herself, the moment he was recovered. Not only did she fulfil this promise, but she also undertook to enroll him with the best painting master in Livorno, Guglielmo Micheli.

Micheli and the Macchiaioli

Modigliani worked in Micheli's Art School from 1898 to 1900. Here his earliest formal artistic instruction took place in an atmosphere deeply steeped in a study of the styles and themes of nineteenth-century Italian art. In his earliest Parisian work, traces of this influence, and that of his studies of Renaissance art, can still be seen: artists such as Giovanni Boldini figure just as much in this nascent work as do those of Toulouse-Lautrec.

Modigliani showed great promise while with Micheli, and only ceased his studies when he was forced to, by the onset of tuberculosis.

In 1901, whilst in Rome, Modigliani admired the work of Domenico Morelli, a painter of melodramatic Biblical studies and scenes from great literature. It is ironic that he should be so struck by Morelli, as this painter had served as an inspiration for a group of iconoclasts who went known by the title "the Macchiaioli" (from macchia —"dash of colour", or, more derogatively, "stain"), and Modigliani had already been exposed to the influences of the Macchiaioli. This minor, localized art movement was possessed of a need to react against the bourgeois stylings of the academic genre painters. While sympathetically connected to (and actually pre-dating) the French Impressionists, the Macchiaioli did not make the same impact upon international art culture as did the followers of Monet, and are today largely forgotten outside of Italy.

Modigliani's connection with the movement was through Guglielmo Micheli, his first art teacher. Micheli was not only a Macchiaiolo himself, but had been a pupil of the famous Giovanni Fattori, a founder of the movement. Micheli's work, however, was so fashionable and the genre so commonplace that the young Modigliani reacted against it, preferring to ignore the obsession with landscape that, as with French Impressionism, characterized the movement. Micheli also tried to encourage his pupils to paint en plein air, but Modigliani never really got a taste for this style of working, sketching in cafés, but preferring to paint indoors, and especially in his own studio. Even when compelled to paint landscapes (three are known to exist), Modigliani chose a proto-Cubist palette more akin to Cézannethan to the Macchiaioli.

While with Micheli, Modigliani not only studied landscape, but also portraiture, still-life, and the nude. His fellow students recall that the latter was where he displayed his greatest talent, and apparently this was not an entirely academic pursuit for the teenager: when not painting nudes, he was occupied with seducing the household maid.

Despite his rejection of the Macchiaioli approach, Modigliani nonetheless found favour with his teacher, who referred to him as "Superman", a pet name reflecting the fact that Modigliani was not only quite adept at his art, but also that he regularly quoted from Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Fattori himself would often visit the studio, and approved of the young artist's innovations.

In 1902, Modigliani continued what was to be a life-long infatuation with life drawing, enrolling in the Accademia di Belle Arti (Scuola Libera di Nudo, or "Free School of Nude Studies") in Florence. A year later while still suffering from tuberculosis, he moved to Venice, where he registered to study at the Istituto di Belle Arti.

It is in Venice that he first smoked hashish and, rather than studying, began to spend time frequenting disreputable parts of the city. The impact of these lifestyle choices upon his developing artistic style is open to conjecture, although these choices do seem to be more than simple teenage rebellion, or the cliched hedonism and bohemianismthat was almost expected of artists of the time; his pursuit of the seedier side of life appears to have roots in his appreciation of radical philosophies, such as those of Nietzsche.

Early literary influences

Having been exposed to erudite philosophical literature as a young boy under the tutelage of Isaco Garsin, his maternal grandfather, he continued to read and be influenced through his art studies by the writings of Nietzsche, Baudelaire, Carducci,Comte de Lautréamont, and others, and developed the belief that the only route to true creativity was through defiance and disorder.

Letters that he wrote from his 'sabbatical' in Capri in 1901 clearly indicate that he is being more and more influenced by the thinking of Nietzsche. The work of Lautréamontwas equally influential at this time. This doomed poet's Les Chants de Maldoror became the seminal work for the Parisian Surrealists of Modigliani's generation, and the book became Modigliani's favourite to the extent that he learnt it by heart. The poetry of Lautréamont is characterized by the juxtaposition of fantastical elements, and by sadistic imagery; the fact that Modigliani was so taken by this text in his early teens gives a good indication of his developing tastes. Baudelaire and D'Annunzio similarly appealed to the young artist, with their interest in corrupted beauty, and the expression of that insight through Symbolist imagery.

Modigliani wrote to Ghiglia extensively from Capri, where his mother had taken him to assist in his recovery from the tuberculosis. These letters are a sounding board for the developing ideas brewing in Modigliani's mind. Ghiglia was seven years Modigliani's senior, and it is likely that it was he who showed the young man the limits of his horizons in Livorno. Like all precocious teenagers, Modigliani preferred the company of older companions, and Ghiglia's role in his adolescence was to be a sympathetic ear as he worked himself out, principally in the convoluted letters that he regularly sent, and which survive today.



In 1906 Modigliani moved to Paris, then the focal point of the avant-garde. In fact, his arrival at the centre of artistic experimentation coincided with the arrival of two other foreigners who were also to leave their marks upon the art world: Gino Severini and Juan Gris.

He settled in Le Bateau-Lavoir, a commune for penniless artists in Montmartre, renting himself a studio in Rue Caulaincourt. Even though this artists' quarter of Montmartre was characterized by generalized poverty, Modigliani himself presented—initially, at least—as one would expect the son of a family trying to maintain the appearances of its lost financial standing to present: his wardrobe was dapper without ostentation, and the studio he rented was appointed in a style appropriate to someone with a finely attuned taste in plush drapery and Renaissance reproductions. He soon made efforts to assume the guise of the bohemian artist, but, even in his brown corduroys, scarlet scarf and large black hat, he continued to appear as if he were slumming it, having fallen upon harder times.

When he first arrived in Paris, he wrote home regularly to his mother, he sketched his nudes at the Académie Colarossi, and he drank wine in moderation. He was at that time considered by those who knew him as a bit reserved, verging on the asocial. He is noted to have commented, upon meeting Picassowho, at the time, was wearing his trademark workmen's clothes, that even though the man was a genius, that did not excuse his uncouth appearance.


Within a year of arriving in Paris, however, his demeanour and reputation had changed dramatically. He transformed himself from a dapper academician artist into a sort of prince of vagabonds.

The poet and journalist Louis Latourette, upon visiting the artist's previously well-appointed studio after his transformation, discovered the place in upheaval, the Renaissance reproductions discarded from the walls, the plush drapes in disarray. Modigliani was already an alcoholic and a drug addict by this time, and his studio reflected this. Modigliani's behaviour at this time sheds some light upon his developing style as an artist, in that the studio had become almost a sacrificial effigy for all that he resented about the academic art that had marked his life and his training up to that point.

Not only did he remove all the trappings of his bourgeois heritage from his studio, but he also set about destroying practically all of his own early work. He explained this extraordinary course of actions to his astonished neighbours thus:

The motivation for this violent rejection of his earlier self is the subject of considerable speculation. The self-destructive tendencies may have stemmed from his tuberculosis and the knowledge (or presumption) that the disease had essentially marked him for an early death; within the artists' quarter, many faced the same sentence, and the typical response was to set about enjoying life while it lasted, principally by indulging in self-destructive actions. For Modigliani such behavior may have been a response to a lack of recognition; he sought the company of artists such as Utrillo and Soutine, seeking acceptance and validation for his work from his colleagues.

Modigliani's behavior stood out even in these Bohemiansurroundings: he carried on frequent affairs, drank heavily, and used absinthe and hashish. While drunk, he would sometimes strip himself naked at social gatherings. He became the epitome of the tragic artist, creating a posthumous legend almost as well-known as that of Vincent van Gogh.

During the 1920s, in the wake of Modigliani's career and spurred on by comments by André Salmon crediting hashish and absinthe with the genesis of Modigliani's style, many hopefuls tried to emulate his "success" by embarking on a path of substance abuse and bohemian excess.

While this propaganda served as a rallying cry to those with a romantic longing to be a tragic, doomed artist, these strategies did not produce unique artistic insights or techniques in those who did not already have them.

In fact, art historians suggestthat it is entirely possible for Modigliani to have achieved even greater artistic heights had he not been immured in, and destroyed by, his own self-indulgences. We can only speculate what he might have accomplished had he emerged intact from his self-destructive explorations.


During his early years in Paris, Modigliani worked at a furious pace. He was constantly sketching, making as many as a hundred drawings a day. However, many of his works were lost—destroyed by him as inferior, left behind in his frequent changes of address, or given to girlfriends who did not keep them.

He was first influenced by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, but around 1907 he became fascinated with the work of Paul Cézanne. Eventually he developed his own unique style, one that cannot be adequately categorized with other artists.

He met the first serious love of his life, Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, in 1910, when he was 26. They had studios in the same building, and although 21-year-old Anna was recently married, they began an affair Tall (Modigliani was only 5 foot5 inches) with dark hair (like Modigliani's), pale skin and grey-green eyes, she embodied Modigliani's aesthetic ideal and the pair became engrossed in each other. After a year, however, Anna returned to her husband.


In 1909, Modigliani returned home to Livorno, sickly and tired from his wild lifestyle. Soon he was back in Paris, this time renting a studioin Montparnasse. He originally saw himself as a sculptor rather than a painter, and was encouraged to continue after Paul Guillaume, an ambitious young art dealer, took an interest in his work and introduced him to sculptor Constantin Brancusi.

Although a series of Modigliani's sculptures were exhibited in the Salon d'Automne of 1912, by 1914 he abandoned sculpting and focused solely on his painting, a move precipitated by the difficulty in acquiring sculptural materials due to the outbreak of war, and by Modigliani's physical debilitation.

Question of influences

In Modigliani's art, there is evidence of the influence of art from Africa and Cambodia which he may have seen in the Musée de l'Homme, but his stylizations are just as likely to have been the result of his being surrounded by Mediæval sculpture during his studies in Northern Italy (there is no recorded information from Modigliani himself, as there is with Picasso and others, to confirm the contention that he was influenced by either ethnic or any other kind of sculpture). A possible interest in African tribal masks seems to be evident in his portraits. In both his painting and sculpture, the sitters' faces resemble ancient Egyptianpainting in their flat and mask-like appearance, with distinctive almond eyes, pursed mouths, twisted noses, and elongated necks. However these same characteristics are shared by Mediæval European sculpture and painting.

Modigliani painted a series of portraits of contemporary artists and friends in Montparnasse: Chaim Soutine, Moise Kisling, Pablo Picasso, Diego Rivera, Marie "Marevna" Vorobyev-Stebeslka, Juan Gris, Max Jacob, Blaise Cendrars, and Jean Cocteau, all sat for stylized renditions.

At the outset of World War I, Modigliani tried to enlist in the armybut was refused because of his poor health.

The war years

Known as Modì, which translates as 'cursed' (maudit), by many Parisians, but as Dedo to his family and friends, Modigliani was a handsome man, and attracted much female attention.

Women came and went until Beatrice Hastings entered his life. She stayed with him for almost two years, was the subject for several of his portraits, including Madame Pompadour, and the object of much of his drunken wrath.

When the British painter Nina Hamnett arrived in Montparnasse in 1914, on her first evening there the smiling man at the next table in the café introduced himself as Modigliani; painter and Jew. They became great friends.

In 1916, Modigliani befriended the Polish poet and art dealer Leopold Zborovski and his wife Anna.

Jeanne Hébuterne

The following summer, the Russian sculptor Chana Orloff introduced him to a beautiful 19-year-old art student named Jeanne Hébuterne who had posed for Tsuguharu Foujita. From a conservative bourgeoisbackground, Hébuterne was renounced by her devout Roman Catholic family for her liaison with the painter, whom they saw as little more than a debauched derelict, and, worse yet, a Jew. Despite her family's objections, soon they were living together, and although Hébuterne was the current love of his life, their public scenes became more renowned than Modigliani's individual drunken exhibitions.

On December 3, 1917, Modigliani's first one-man exhibitionopened at the Berthe Weill Gallery. The chief of the Paris police was scandalized by Modigliani's nudes and forced him to close the exhibition within a few hours after its opening.

After he and Hébuterne moved to Nice, she became pregnant and on November 29, 1918 gave birth to a daughter whom they named Jeanne (1918-1984).


During a trip to Nice, conceived and organized byLeopold Zborovski, Modigliani, Foujita and other artists tried to sell their works to rich tourists. Modigliani managed to sell a few pictures but only for a few francs each. Despite this, during this time he produced most of the paintings that later became his most popular and valued works.

During his lifetime he sold a number of his works, but never for any great amount of money. What funds he did receive soon vanished for his habits.

In May 1919 he returned to Paris, where, with Hébuterne and their daughter, he rented an apartment in the rue de la Grande Chaumière.While there, both Jeanne Hébuterne and Amedeo Modigliani painted portraits of each other, and of themselves.


Although he continued to paint, Modigliani's health was deteriorating rapidly, and his alcohol-induced blackouts became more frequent.

In 1920, after not hearing from him for several days, his downstairs neighbor checked on the family and found Modigliani in bed delirious and holding onto Hébuterne who was nearly nine months pregnant. They summoned a doctor, but little could be done because Modigliani was dying of the then-incurable disease tubercular meningitis.

Modigliani died on January 24, 1920. There was an enormous funeral, attended by many from the artistic communities in Montmartre and Montparnasse.

Hébuterne was taken to her parents' home, where, inconsolable, she threw herself out of a fifth-floor window two days after Modigliani's death, killing herself and her unborn child. Modigliani was interred in Père Lachaise Cemetery. Hébuterne was buried at the Cimetière de Bagneux near Paris, and it was not until 1930 that her embittered family allowed her body to be moved to rest beside Modigliani. A single tombstone honors them both. His epitaph reads: "Struck down by Death at the moment of glory." Hers reads: "Devoted companion to the extreme sacrifice."

Modigliani died penniless and destitute—managing only one solo exhibition in his life and giving his work away in exchange for meals in restaurants. Since his death his reputation has soared. Nine novels, a play, a documentary and three feature films have been devoted to his life.


Modigliani's sister in Florence adopted their 15-month old daughter, Jeanne (1918-1984). As an adult, she wrote a biography of her father titled, Modigliani: Man and Myth.


Two films have been made about Modigliani: Les Amants de Montparnasse in 1958, directed by Jacques Becker, and Modigliani in 2004, directed by Mick Davis starring Andy Garcia as Modigliani.

Red Nude (1917) plays an important part in the 1972 film Travels with My Aunt. The slyly winking face of Maggie Smith, complete with bright red hair, seems to have been superimposed onto the original painting.

Selected paintings

  • Head of a Woman with a Hat (1907)
  • Portrait of Juan Gris (1915)
  • Portrait of the Art Dealer Paul Guillaume (1916)
  • Portrait of Jean Cocteau (1916)
  • Seated Nude (ca. 1918) Honolulu Academy of Arts
  • Portrait of Jeanne Hébuterne (1918)
  • Portrait of Marios Varvoglis (1920; Modigliani's last painting)

Selected sculptures

(Only 27 sculptures by Modigliani are known to exist.)

  • Head of a Woman (1910/1911).
  • Head (1911-1913).
  • Head (1911-1912).
  • Head (1912).
  • Rose Caryatid (1914).


  1. Werner, Alfred (1967). Amedeo Modigliani. London: Thames and Hudson.. pp. 13. 
  2. Fifield, William (19 Jun 1978). Modigliani: A Biography. W.H. Allen. pp. 316. 
  3. Diehl, Gaston (Reissue edition (Jul 1989)). Modigliani. Crown Pub. pp. 96. 
  4. Soby, James Thrall (Sep 1977). Amedeo Modigliani. New York: Arno P. pp. 55. 
  5. Werner, Alfred (1967). Amedeo Modigliani. London: Thames and Hudson.. pp. 14. 
  6. Mann, Carol (1980). Modigliani. London: Thames and Hudson.pp. 12.
  7. Werner, Alfred (1967). Amedeo Modigliani. London: Thames and Hudson. pp. 16. 
  8. Mann, Carol (1980). Modigliani. London: Thames and Hudson.. pp. 12. Mann, Carol (1980). Modigliani. London: Thames and Hudson.. pp. 16. Werner, Alfred (1967). Amedeo Modigliani. London: Thames and Hudson.. pp. 17. 
  9. Mann, Carol (1980). Modigliani. London: Thames and Hudson.. pp. 16. Mann, Carol (1980). Modigliani. London: Thames and Hudson.. pp. 19–22. Mann, Carol (1980). Modigliani. London: Thames and Hudson.. pp. 20. Werner, Alfred (1967). Amedeo Modigliani. London: Thames and Hudson.. pp. 17. 
  10. Werner, Alfred (1967). Amedeo Modigliani. London: Thames and Hudson.. pp. 17. 
  11. Werner, Alfred (1967). Amedeo Modigliani. London: Thames and Hudson.. pp. 17. 
  12. Werner, Alfred (1967). Amedeo Modigliani. London: Thames and Hudson.. pp. 19. 
  13. Werner, Alfred (1967). Amedeo Modigliani. London: Thames and Hudson.. pp. 19. 
  14. Werner, Alfred (1985). Amedeo Modigliani. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.. pp. 24. 
  15. Werner, Alfred (1967). Amedeo Modigliani. London: Thames and Hudson.. pp. 20. 
  16. Werner, Alfred (1967). Amedeo Modigliani. London: Thames and Hudson.. pp. 20. 
  17. Klein, Mason, et al, Modigliani: Beyond the Myth, page 197. The Jewish Museum and Yale University Press, 2004.
  18. Lappin, Linda (Summer 2002). "Missing person in Montparnasse: The case of Jeanne Hebuterne". Literary Review: an international journal of contemporary writing45 (4): 785–811. 0024458

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Paul Jackson Pollock (January 28, 1912 – August 11, 1956) was an influential American painter and a major force in the abstract expressionist movement. He was married to noted abstract painter Lee Krasner.

Early life

Pollock was born in Cody, Wyoming in 1912, the youngest of five sons. His father was a farmer and later a land surveyor for the government.He grew up in Arizona and Chico, California, studying at Los Angeles' Manual Arts High School. During his early life, he experienced Native American culture while on surveying trips with his father.In 1930, following his brother Charles, he moved to New York City, where they both studied under Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League of New York. Benton's rural American subject matter shaped Pollock's work only fleetingly, but his rhythmic use of paint and his fierce independence were more lasting influences. From 1935 to 1943, Pollock worked for the WPA Federal Art Project.

The Springs period and the unique technique

In October 1945, Pollock married another important American painter, Lee Krasner, and in November they moved to what is now known as the Pollock-Krasner House and Studioin Springs on Long Island, New York. Peggy Guggenheim loaned them the down payment for the wood-frame house with a nearby barn that Pollock made into a studio. It was there that he perfected the technique of working spontaneously with liquid paint.

Pollock was introduced to the use of liquid paint in 1936, at an experimental workshop operated in New York City by the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. He later used paint pouring as one of several techniques in canvases of the early 1940s, such as "Male and Female" and "Composition with Pouring I." After his move to Springs, he began painting with his canvases laid out on the studio floor, and developed what was later called his "drip" technique. The drip technique required paint with a fluid viscosity so Pollock turned to then new synthetic resin-based paints, called alkyd enamels. Pollock described this use of household paints, instead of artist’s paints, as "a natural growth out of a need". He used hardened brushes, sticks and even basting syringes as paint applicators. Pollock's technique of pouring and dripping paint is thought to be one of the origins of the term action painting. With this technique, Pollock was able to achieve a more immediate means of creating art, the paint now literally flowing from his chosen tool onto the canvas. By defying the conventional way of painting on an upright surface, he added a new dimension, literally, by being able to view and apply paint to his canvases from all directions.

In the process of making paintings in this way he moved away from figurative representation, and challenged the Western tradition of using easel and brush, as well as moving away from use only of the hand and wrist; as he used his whole body to paint. In 1956 Timemagazine dubbed Pollock "Jack the Dripper" as a result of his unique painting style.



Pollock observed Indiansandpaintingdemonstrations in the 1940s. Other influences on his dripping technique include the Mexican muralistsand also Surrealistautomatism. Pollock denied "the accident"; he usually had an idea of how he wanted a particular piece to appear. It was about the movement of his body, over which he had control, mixed with the viscous flow of paint, the force of gravity, and the way paint was absorbed into the canvas. The mix of the uncontrollable and the controllable. Flinging, dripping, pouring, spattering, he would energetically move around the canvas, almost as if in a dance, and would not stop until he saw what he wanted to see. Studies by Taylor, Micolich and Jonas have explored the nature of Pollock's technique and have determined that some of these works display the properties of mathematicalfractals; and that the works become more fractal-like chronologically through Pollock's career. They even go on to speculate that on some level, Pollock may have been aware of the nature of chaotic motion, and was attempting to form what he perceived as a perfect representation of mathematical chaos - more than ten years before Chaos Theory itself was discovered. Even though some experts have pointed to the possibility that he (Pollock) could have simply been imitating popular theories of the time in order to give his paintings a depth not previously seen.

In 1950 Hans Namuth, a young photographer, wanted to photograph and film Pollock at work. Pollock promised to start a new painting especially for the photographic session, but when Namuth arrived, Pollock apologized and told him the painting was finished. Namuth's comment upon entering the studio:

The 1950s and beyond

Pollock's most famous paintings were during the "drip period" between 1947 and 1950. He rocketed to popular status following an August 8, 1949 four-page spread in Life Magazine that asked, "Is he the greatest living painter in the United States?" At the peak of his fame, Pollock abruptly abandoned the drip style.

Pollock's work after 1951 was darker in color, including a collection in black on unprimed canvases, followed by a return to color and he reintroduced figurative elements. During this period Pollock had moved to a more commercial gallery and there was great demand from collectors for new paintings. In response to this pressure, along with personal frustration, his alcoholismdeepened.

From naming to numbering

Pollock wanted an end to the viewer's search for representational elements in his paintings, thus he abandoned naming them and started numbering them instead. Of this, Pollock commented: "...look passively and try to receive what the painting has to offer and not bring a subject matter or preconceived idea of what they are to be looking for." Pollock's wife, Lee Krasner, said Pollock "used to give his pictures conventional titles... but now he simply numbers them. Numbers are neutral. They make people look at a picture for what it is - pure painting."


Pollock did not paint at all in 1955. After struggling with alcoholism his whole life, Pollock's career was cut short when he died in an alcohol-related, single car crash in his Oldsmobile convertible, less than a mile from his home in Springs, New York on August 11, 1956 (10 p.m.) at the age of 44. One of his passengers, Edith Metzger, died, while the other passenger, Pollock's girlfriend Ruth Kligman, survived. After his death, Pollock's wife, Lee Krasner, managed his estate and ensured that Pollock's reputation remained strong in spite of changing art-world trends. They are buried in Green River Cemetery in Springs with a large boulder marking his grave and a smaller one marking hers.


The Pollock-Krasner House and Studiois owned and administered by the Stony Brook Foundation, a non-profit affiliate of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. There are regular tours of the house and studio from May - October.

A separate organization, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, was established in 1985. The Foundation not only functions as the official Estate for both Pollock and his widow Lee Krasner, but also, under the terms of Krasner's will, serves "to assist individual working artists of merit with financial need." The U.S. copyright representative for the Pollock-Krasner Foundation is the Artists Rights Society

In 2000, the biographical film Pollockwas released. Marcia Gay Harden won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Lee Krasner. The movie was the project of Ed Harris who portrayed Pollock and directed it. He was nominated for Academy Award for Best Actor.

In 1960, Ornette Coleman's album "Free Jazz" featured a Pollock painting as its cover artwork.

In 1973, Blue Poles(Blue Poles: Number 11, 1952), was purchased by the AustralianWhitlamGovernment for the National Gallery of Australia for US$2 million (A$1.3 million at the time of payment). At the time, this was the highest price ever paid for a modern painting. In the conservative climate of the time, the purchase created a political and media scandal.

The painting is now one of the most popular exhibits in the gallery, and now is thought to be worth between $100 and $150 million, according to the latest news.It was a centerpiece of the Museum of Modern Art's 1998 retrospective in New York, the first time the painting had returned to America since its purchase.

In November 2006 Pollock's "No. 5, 1948" became the world's most expensive painting, when it was sold privately to an undisclosed buyer for the sum of $140,000,000. The previous owner was film and music-producer David Geffen. It is rumored that the current owner is a German businessman and art collector.

An ongoing debate rages over whether 24 paintings and drawings found in a Wainscott, New York locker in 2003 are Pollock originals. Physicists have argued over whether fractals can be used to authenticate the paintings. Analysis of the pigments shows some were not yet patented at the time of Pollock's death. The debate is still inconclusive.

In 2006 adocumentary, Who the Fuck Is Jackson Pollock?, was released which featured a truck driver named Teri Horton who bought what may be a Pollock painting worth millions at a thrift store for five dollars.

Relationship to Native American art

Pollock stated: “I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk round it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting. This is akin to the methods of the Indian sand painters of the West.”

Critical debate

Pollock's work has always polarized critics and has been the focus of many important critical debates.

In a famous 1952 article in ARTnews, Harold Rosenberg coined the term "action painting," and wrote that "what was to go on the canvas was not a picture but an event. The big moment came when it was decided to paint 'just to paint.' The gesture on the canvas was a gesture of liberation from value — political, aesthetic, moral." Many people assumed that he had modeled his "action painter" paradigm on Pollock.

Clement Greenberg supported Pollock's work on formalistic grounds. It fit well with Greenberg's view of art history as being about the progressive purification in form and elimination of historical content. He therefore saw Pollock's work as the best painting of its day and the culmination of the Western tradition going back via Cubism and Cézanne to Manet.

Posthumous exhibitions of Pollock's work had been sponsored by the Congress for Cultural Freedom, an organization to promote American culture and values backed by the CIA. Certain left wing scholars, most prominently Eva Cockcroft, argue that the U.S. government and wealthy elite embraced Pollock and abstract expressionism in order to place the United States firmly in the forefront of global art and devalue socialist realism. In the words of Cockcroft, Pollock became a 'weapon of the Cold War'.

Painter Norman Rockwell's work Connoisseur also appears to make a commentary on the Pollock style. The painting features what seems to be a rather upright man in a suit standing before a Jackson Pollock-like spatter painting.

Others such as artist, critic, and satirist Craig Brown, have been "astonished that decorative 'wallpaper', essentially brainless, could gain such a position in art history alongside Giotto, Titian, and Velázquez."

Reynolds News in a 1959 headline said, "This is not art — it's a joke in bad taste."

List of major works

  •  (1942) Male and FemalePhiladelphia Museum of Art
  • (1942) Stenographic FigureMuseum of Modern Art
  • (1943) MuralUniversity of Iowa Museum of Art
  • (1943) Moon-Woman Cuts the Circle
  • (1943) The She-WolfMuseum of Modern Art
  • (1943) Blue (Moby Dick)Ohara Museum of Art
  • (1945) Troubled QueenMuseum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • (1946) Eyes in the HeatPeggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice
  • (1946) The KeyArt Institute of Chicago
  • (1946) The Tea Cup Collection Frieder Burda
  • (1946) Shimmering Substance, from The Sounds In The GrassMuseum of Modern Art
  • (1947) Full Fathom FiveMuseum of Modern Art
  • (1947) Cathedral
  • (1947) Enchanted ForestPeggy Guggenheim Collection
  • (1948) Painting
  • (1948) Number 5 (4ft x 8ft) Private collection
  • (1948) Number 8
  • (1948) Summertime: Number 9ATate Modern
  • (1949) Number 1Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
  • (1949) Number 3
  • (1949) Number 10Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • (1950) Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist)National Gallery of Art
  • (1950) Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), 1950Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • (1950) Number 29, 1950National Gallery of Canada
  • (1950) One: Number 31, 1950Museum of Modern Art
  • (1950) No. 32
  • (1951) Number 7National Gallery of Art
  • (1952) ConvergenceAlbright-Knox Art Gallery
  • (1952) Blue Poles: No. 11, 1952National Gallery of Australia
  • (1953) Portrait and a Dream
  • (1953) Easter and the TotemThe Museum of Modern Art
  • (1953) Ocean Greyness
  • (1953) The Deep

african art / art africain / primitive art / art primitif / arts premiers / art gallery / art tribal / tribal art / l'oeil et la main / galerie d'art premier / Agalom / Armand Auxiètre / www.african-paris.com / www.agalom.com


David Norden

In a crucial moment for the world of Tribal Arts, Ana &Antonio Casanovas from Arte y Ritual and Alain Bovis Gallery present two consecutive exhibitions in Paris with a selection of masterworks from the Kerchache collection:

1.”HOMMAGE” June 16-July 22 2006
2. “NIGERIA” September 13th –October 20th 2006



The Quai Branly

We want to pay an HOMAGE to Jacques Kerchache and , in his name, give support to an important historical event : the opening of the Quai Branly,one of the most important museums in the world dedicated entirely to “les Arts Premiers”. Jacques was first appointed to asses the selection of art works for the “Pavillion des Sessions” in the Louvre Museum which was conceived as an antennae of the Quai Branly.He had a crucial role in the creation of this innovative museum and was an important member of the Acquisition Committee.

Jacques could be considered the “ambassador”, of all the traditional artists from Africa, America, Oceania and South East Asia for his role in defending their rights for them to be recognized and valued as all other artists in the History of Art. The “eye”: his sharp eye supported by a vast academic knowledge - he went several times around the world visiting and studying all the tribal sculptures in Museums-.allowed him to become one of the best experts in the world of “non- European Art” and create a collection of world masterpieces. ”The difference between a common art work and a masterpiece is by millimeters”

Expert :he was curator and organizer of important exhibitions in museums and in his private gallery. A genius of the “miss en scene”. Responsible for rediscovering and promoting the artistic value of such important cultures today as the Mumuye, the Lobi and the Mahongwe. Author of important articles and books.

Adventurer: Insatiable traveller in search of art treasures. He took part in traditional rites and rituals like the Voudu in Togo. Deep understanding of the native people and their traditions.


“Arts premiers,un nouveau regard sur l’Art Africaine”1975
“L’Art Africain” Citadelles & Mazenod,1984(Coauthor)
“Scultura Africana”Villa Medicis, Roma 1986…
“Picasso ,Afrique, état d’espirit”
“L’Art Africaine dans la collectionBaselitz”



“Des Mahongwe” Paris 1967
“Fleuve Sepik” 1967
“Les Lobi” Paris ?
“Afrique ,Amerique,Oceanie”Paris 1969
“Masques Yoruba” 1973.


“Derain et l’Art Negre”
“Picasso Afrique”,
”Primitivism in XX c Art”MOMA ,New York 1984
“Scultura African,Hommage á Andre Malraux,Vila
Medicis,Roma 1986.
“L’Art des sculptures Tahino 1994 “


“HOMAGE” to Jacques Kerchache
June 16 .- July 22 2006

A major selection of 21 masterpieces from the Kerchache collection ,most of them exhibited and published in important exhibitions and publications will be presented in Paris between the 16 June and the 22 July. An exceptional byery Fang from Gabon from the collection of the well known dealer Paul Guillaume ,later on acquired by Kerchache, with segmented round cubist volumes and which can be considered the maximum exponent of Fang sculpture, an incredible ancestor figure from the Hemba dating back to the 18th century with a delicate spiritual inner expression, and dark deep patina adding to the beauty of this masterpiece.(published in the famous book “LUBA”-F. Neyt- by the Dapper Museum).

A Bangwa fetish figure from Cameroon in a unique squatted bent pose, with arms and legs freely executed showing the originality of Bamileke sculpture and one of the oldest Mahongwe reliquary figures known from Gabon which is the perfect example of what is probably the most famous abstract representation of a human being in African Art-actually used by Jacque as his logotype-,covered by greenish patina due to long exposure underground, as to complete a list of some the art works that will be exhibited and published on the catalogue with the same name “HOMAGE”,all of which have become icons of the forms of expression of African Art.
“NIGERIA” –Jacques Kerchache
September 13th –October 20th

A monographic selection of 27 important pieces from different Nigerian cultures, from the Kerchache collection ,an area of the world which specially interested Jaccques as it is the source of some of the most incredible and free invention sculptures in the African continent. This can be seen in pieces like the Mumuyes ,one of Jacques major discoveries to the art world. The powerful Mbembe drum finial which could remind us of a modern expressionist sculpture for which reason it was exhibited and published in the land mark exhibition “Primitivism in XX century Art”, in the MOMA, New York, where he had a key role in the selection of the tribal objects. A very rare Tiv shrine sculpture, to our knowledge the oldest and most beautiful example known ,an impressing Urhobo sculpture , several small Wurkum planting figures with cubist and abstract forms , a nice selection of Ekoi and Ejagham heads,and a fantastic horse skull from the Abalaki ,covered all over,eyes inclusive, with rottan fibre, and with the incredible almost “Picassian” invention of putting the hooves of the horse as the ears.

african art / art africain / primitive art / art primitif / arts premiers / art gallery / art tribal / tribal art / l'oeil et la main / galerie d'art premier / Agalom / Armand Auxiètre / www.african-paris.com / www.agalom.com

african art / art africain / primitive art / art primitif / arts premiers / art gallery / art tribal / tribal art / l'oeil et la main / galerie d'art premier / Agalom / Armand Auxiètre / www.african-paris.com / www.agalom.com

african art / art africain / primitive art / art primitif / arts premiers / art gallery / art tribal / tribal art / l'oeil et la main / galerie d'art premier / Agalom / Armand Auxiètre / www.african-paris.com / www.agalom.com

Georges Braque

Georges Braque, né à Argenteuil (Seine-et-Oise, actuellement Val-d'Oise) le 13 mai 1882 et mort à Paris le 31 août 1963, était un peintre et sculpteur français. Il fut, avec Pablo Picasso, l'un des initiateurs du cubisme.
Georges Braque : « Je fuis mon semblable, dans tout semblable il y a un sosie. »

Georges Braque grandit au sein d’une famille d’artisans. Il passe sa jeunesse au Havre et étudie à l'École des Beaux-Arts de 1897 à 1899 dirigé par Charles Lhuillier. Il y fait la connaissance d'Othon Friesz. Sa première formation comme peintre décorateur, il la doit à son père, Charles Braque, entrepreneur-peintre en bâtiment.

À Paris, il suit les cours d'un maître décorateur et obtient son certificat d'artisanat en 1901. L'année suivante, il entre à l'académie Humbert qu'il fréquente jusqu'en 1904. C'est là qu'il rencontre Marie Laurencin et Francis Picabia.

 Du fauvisme au cubisme
Il peint ses premières œuvres sous l'influence de l'impressionnisme jusqu'à ce qu'il découvre au Salon d’Automne de 1905 les toiles d'Henri Matisse et d'André Derain. Puis débute une collaboration artistique avec Othon Friesz avec qui il fait un séjour à Anvers, puis l'année suivante à L'Estaque (Bouches-du-Rhône) d'où il rapporte des tableaux fauves aux couleurs pures et aux compositions géométriques. ( « Souvenirs d'Anvers » ). Ses tableaux sont exposés en mars 1906 au Salon des indépendants.

En 1907, il est marqué par l'exposition de tableaux de Paul Cézanne au Salon d’Automne. Il commence à élaborer un nouveau système de représentation en se basant sur la simplification et la géométrisation des formes et la mise à plat de la perspective. Puis il rencontre Pablo Picasso qui peint alors « Les Demoiselles d'Avignon ». C’est pour lui une révélation. En accord avec ces deux influences et son intérêt pour l’art primitif, son orientation picturale est complètement bouleversée. Alors il peint, de décembre 1907 à juin 1908, « Le Grand nu » dans lequel il représente les volumes par de larges hachures cernées de noir.

 La période cubiste
Lors de l’exposition de ses toiles à la galerie Kahnweiler, le critique Louis Vauxcelles compare sa peinture à un amoncellement de petits cubes. Le mot est dit, de 1909 à 1912, Braque et Picasso élaborent les théories du cubisme. L'artiste ne va plus chercher à copier la nature mais à la décomposer en masses pour la recomposer.Il représentera le modèle selon plusieurs points de vue, mais en une seule image fixe (comme si le peintre tournait autour du modèle pour en peindre l’intégralité). Ainsi aura lieu une multiplication des facettes. Les formes seront alors géométrisées et simplifiées ainsi que les couleurs qui seront majoritairement des camaïeu de gris et de bruns. Il s’agit d’une peinture toujours figurative mais complexe. Parallèlement, Georges Braque poursuit sa peinture de paysages influencée par Cézanne, paysages qu'il finit par abandonner pour les natures mortes pour lesquelles il est très connu (Guitare et Compotier en 1909).Il a aussi peint quelques figures comme Torse de femme en 1911.

En 1911, il s’aperçoit que sa peinture s’éloigne trop du modèle . Sa peinture tend vers l’abstraction et cela lui déplaît. Pour renouer avec le réel, il innove avec l’introduction directe dans sa peinture d'objets du réel. Dans Le Portugais, il ajoute des lettres et des chiffres peints au pochoir. Se souvenant de sa formation d'artiste décorateur il fera des imitations de matière notamment dans Femme à la guitare en 1913. Georges Braque introduit également dans sa peinture des collages, que ce soit de papiers peints, de journaux, d’affiches. Cette technique est appelée papiers collés. Il est maintenant plutôt question d’aplats de papier dans un plan frontal que d’amoncellement de volumes, c'est la phase synthétique du Cubisme.


Egalement, il realisera une serie de trois toiles "les oiseaux" suite a la commande du louvre.Elles sont visibles sur le plafond de la salle Henri 2.

 Retour vers la réalité
La Première Guerre mondiale interrompt l'étroite collaboration avec Picasso.

Braque est mobilisé et doit participer au grand carnage. Envoyé au front il est gravement blessé à la tête en 1915 et doit être trépané. Il ne pourra recommencer à peindre qu'en 1917. Son style et ses recherches évolueront dès lors plus individuellement mais il restera toujours préoccupé par la représentation du sujet comme le prouvent ses très nombreuses études d'ateliers, de guéridons ou de natures mortes. Il attachera une très grande importance à la matière de ses couleurs, aux libertés des formes et au rythme de ses figures. Il poursuit son œuvre dans la même perspective du cubisme,en le faisant évoluer vers des formes moins anguleuses et des tons plus colorées,un peu plus proches de la réalité.Il peindra, de manière plus traditionnelle, dès 1918, des séries de guéridons et de cheminées de 1922 à 1927. Il fait une sorte de "retour à l'ordre" en peignant des Canéphores évoquant les porteuses d'offrandes de l'Antiquité grecque. Braque travaille avec des verts, des bruns et des noirs jusqu'en 1928 où les couleurs réapparaissent et la matière devient plus fluide. Vers 1930, il exécute plusieurs séries : baigneuses, plages, falaises. Puis jusqu’en 1938, il peint des natures mortes décoratives comme la Nappe rose (1933) et la Nappe Jaune (1935).

La guerre est pour Georges Braque synonyme d'austérité et d'accablement. Il se tourne encore plus vers les objets de la quotidienneté de cette période d'occupation, le verre de vin ou le morceau de pain, les poissons. En 1942 sa production devient encore plus féconde, il achève le poële, plusieurs guéridons et des compositions réintroduisant la figure humaine la patienceou décorative [Intérieur à la palette]. En 1945, atteint d’une grave maladie, il doit s’arrêter de peindre pendant plusieurs mois. De 1949 à 1956, il compose « les Ateliers », huit toiles aux tons légèrement funèbres (aux couleurs éteintes). Ce sont les fruits des recherches, souvenirs et évolutions du peintre. Ces œuvres sont le couronnement de nombreuses années de travail inconditionnel. Déjà apparaît dans ces travaux, le thème de l'oiseau à la forme très schématisée. L'essor de son vol, de sa liberté, de ses jeux avec la pesanteur et l'espace, de ses migrations semblant sans limites, en ont fait un symbole de rêve, de paix et d'évasion. Pour lui, il s'agit aussi d'un message adressé à son ami Laurens, décédé. La peinture reste pour Braque cet espace d'absolu et il continuera ses recherches loin des modes et des salons parisiens.
Il réalise également de nombreux travaux de décoration comme la sculpture de la porte du tabernacle de l'église d'Assy en 1948 ou, de 1952 à 1953, la décoration du plafond de la salle étrusque du musée du Louvre, sur le thème de l'oiseau. Il devient ainsi le premier peintre exposé au Louvre de son vivant. On lui doit aussi la création des cinq vitraux de la chapelle de Varengeville-sur-Mer en 1956.

Par ses qualités humaines, la sagesse de son caractère et sa personnalité très attachante, il sera un des peintres les plus marquants pour les nouvelles générations (en particulier pour Nicolas de Stael). Reconnu internationalement comme l'un des peintres majeurs du XXe siècle, il meurt le 31 aout 1963 à Paris. Il est enterré au cimetière marin de Varengeville-sur-Mer.

 Quelques œuvres
« Le Port de La Ciotat », 1907, huile sur toile, 64,8 x 81 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington
« Le Grand nu », 1907.
« L'Estaque », 1908, huile sur toile, 60,3 x 50,2 cm, MoMA, New York.
«  Le Portugais », 1911, huile sur toile, 116,5 x 81,5 cm, Kunstmuseum, Bâle.
« Coupe à fruits et verre », 1912, fusain et papiers collés, 62 x 44,5 cm, collection particulière.
« La Guitare : Statue d’épouvante », novembre 1913.
« Le Guéridon »
«L'oiseau sans nid»

Marcel Brion, Braque, Somogy, 1963
Philippe Colignon, Le Trésor des bijoux de Braque créés par Heger de Löwenfeld, Art International Publishers/Circe, 1995, 113 p.
Métamorphoses de Braque, de Raphaël de Cuttoli et Baron Heger de Loewenfeld - Editions France Art Center - Paris 1989
Georges Braque et le paysage de L'Estaque à Varengeville 1906-1963, catalogue de l'exposition au Musée Cantini à Marseille, Hazan, 2006, avec des textes de Claude Esteban, Claude Frontisi, Théodore Reff et Véronique Serrano.

 Principales expositions
« Les Métamorphoses de Braque », Mairie de Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche, du 13 janvier au 4 février 2007.
« Georges Braque et le paysage de L'Estaque à Varengeville 1906-1963 », musée Cantini de Marseille, 2006.
« Braque, la poétique de l'objet », Centre des Rencontres Économiques et Culturelles de Dinan, 2006.
« Braque Friesz », musée de Lodève, 2005

Paul Klee, (prononcer "Klé"), est né le 18 décembre 1879 à Münchenbuchsee, près de Berne en Suisse et mort le 29 juin 1940. C'est un peintre suisse.



 Années de formation
Il grandit dans une famille de musiciens : sa mère, Ida, est chanteuse professionnelle, et son père, citoyen allemand, est professeur de musique dans la capitale helvétique. C'est de lui que Klee hérite son amour pour la musique. Lui-même excelle très tôt dans l'apprentissage du violon. À l'automne 1898, ayant terminé ses "examens de maturité" (baccalauréat) pour devenir avocat, il commence ses études de peinture à Munich, d'abord dans l'atelier particulier de Knirr, puis à l'Académie, sous la direction de Franz von Stuck. En 1899, il rencontre sa future femme, Lily Stumpf (*1876-†1946), une pianiste. En 1900, il s'inscrit à l'académie des beaux-arts de Munich où il cotoie Vassily Kandinsky. Il passe l'hiver 1901-1902 en Italie et visite Rome, Naples, Florence. Il se laisse prendre par le charme de l'architecture de la Renaissance, de Michel-Ange et des premiers maîtres du Quattrocento. Quelques voyages occasionnels le conduisent à Munich, où il découvre en 1904, Aubrey Beardsley, William Blake, Francisco Goya, James Ensor, puis à Paris en 1905. Il retourne à Munich à la fin de 1906 pour y épouser Lily Stumpf avec qui il aura un seul fils, Félix, né en 1907 et mort en 1990.

 Premières œuvres
À l'exposition de Munich, il fait la connaissance des oeuvres de Vincent van Gogh et de Paul Cézanne. Il y expose ses premières eaux-fortes. Pendant l'hiver 1911, il se rapproche du groupe des peintres du Der Blaue Reiter (Le Cavalier bleu), il y retrouve Kandinsky et se lie d'amitié avec Franz Marc, August Macke et Alexej von Jawlensky. Il participe à plusieurs expositions de ce groupe. En avril 1912, il rencontre Robert Delaunay, dans son atelier parisien et découvre les œuvres de Henri Rousseau, Picasso et Georges Braque. Il achève des illustrations pour le « Candide » de Voltaire.
Il continue à s'investir dans la pensée et la pratique musicales (chant, violon). Ses écrits couvrent de multiples domaines : introspection et poésie jusqu'à la Première Guerre mondiale ; théorie et didactique durant les années du Bauhaus.

Après un bref voyage en 1914 en Tunisie, Klee choisit de devenir peintre.

Il se définit comme un « peintre-poète ».

Son catalogue compte plus de neuf mille titres. Sa réflexion sur l'art évoque, par son ampleur, celle de Léonard de Vinci. Ainsi, Klee reste l'une des personnalités déterminantes du XXe siècle; référence irrécusable de la pensée esthétique actuelle. Les titres de ses tableaux témoignent de cette amplitude poétique: Carillon de la lune d'argent, Doux paysages des tropiques, Paillasse en tranches, Exercice en bleu et orange, Croissance des plantes nocturnes. Toujours la réalité visible est dépassée. Sa peinture rejoint aussi la musique. Des signes et écritures marquant ainsi son goût pour l'Orient.

L'écriture intervient constamment dans ses tableaux. En 1914, Klee séjourne en Tunisie avec August Macke et Louis Moilliet. Ce voyage témoigne de recherches identiques à celles de Delaunay. La démarche décorative, longtemps limitée aux expressions mineures dans la culture occidentale, se confond dans le monde islamique avec l'art tout entier. C'est bien cette harmonie que recherche la peinture de Klee, de Macke et de Delaunay. Le « motif » disparaît au profit d'une perception synthétique, ici plus abstraite encore. Préparant la structure en carrés de son œuvre future, Klee « s'attaque », selon ses propres termes, « à la synthèse architecture urbaine-architecture du tableau ». À Kairouan, il note dans son Journal : « La couleur me possède […] Je suis peintre. » (Journal 9 260) Voilà que s'élabore ce que pressentait Macke dans l'Almanach du Blaue Reiter (1911) : la fusion de l'Europe et de l'Orient, dans ce « troisième style » qui caractérise en effet bien des œuvres de la modernité. Natif de Constantine, cette ville qu'il dit « vieille comme Jugurtha, construite avec des rochers, des ravins, des nids d'aigle et des cactus ».

L'orientalisme semble ainsi, plus qu'une fantaisie, une véritable « obsession », selon le mot de l'historien d'art J. Sweetman. Elle est entretenue par le voyage au Moyen-Orient ou en Afrique du Nord, vite devenu parcours initiatique, à l'image du séjour romain pour les générations précédentes. Klee a en effet effectué en 1929 un séjour en Égypte qui marque certaines de ses toiles comme Route principale et routes secondaires.

Durant la Première Guerre mondiale, il est engagé en 1916 le jour même du décès de son ami Franz Marc. Sous l'influence de son père, il restera loin du front, ce qui lui permit de poursuivre son œuvre. Démobilisé en 1919, il retourne à Munich. Mais entre-temps, il a acquis la célébrité. Trois petites monographies paraissent sur lui.

 Le Bauhaus
En octobre1920, l'architecte allemand Walter Gropius l'appelle au Staatliches Bauhaus, sorte d'institut des arts et des métiers fondé par ce dernier en avril 1919 à Weimar.

De 1921 à 1924, Klee y enseigne dans la branche de la peinture sur verre, puis du tissage. Plus tard, il se verra confier personnellement un cours de peinture. En collaboration avec Kandinsky, il donne des leçons régulières sur la forme et expose la première théorie systématique des moyens picturaux purs, qui conduit à une clarification exceptionnelle des possibilités suggestives contenues dans les procédés abstraits. Les notes de ses cours sont consignées et seront publiées sous le titre Contributions à la théorie de la forme picturale. En 1924, il donne une conférence à la Société des beaux-arts d'Iéna dont le texte est transcrit dans sa Théorie de l'art moderne, publié à titre posthume en 1945. Cependant le Bauhaus est soumis à d'intenses critiques, concernant en particulier sa non-rentabilité et il est dissous officiellement le 26 décembre 1924 avec fin de contrats des enseignants en avril 1925. L'école est alors reprise à Dessau-Roßlau où Klee s'installe dans le même pavillon que Kandinsky. Sa carrière d'enseignant commence à souffrir cependant d'un certain absentéisme, sa production artistique intense captant toute son énergie. Après le départ de Gropius de l'école, cette dernière prend une orientation vers l'architecture et l'urbanisme, les peintres étant relégués au second plan, ce que ne manque pas de critiquer Klee, qui démissionne de son poste au 1er avril 1931.

Cependant, sur le plan lexical, la terminologie commune (composition, ton, gamme, harmonie, rythme, accord, fugue, etc.) fournit à Klee nombre de titres dont fugues en rouge. Dans ce contexte, Klee imagine une peinture polyphonique qui « surpasse la musique dans la mesure où le temporel y est davantage spatial » (Journal 1081). Des œuvres « divisionnistes » - l'une s'intitule singularité des plantes - transposent le mode sonore au visuel : des aplats colorés recouverts par la modulation de touches séparées constituent des études de contrepoint mélodique et rythmique.

 Dernières années
En 1931, Klee est appelé à l'Académie de Düsseldorf, où il peut se consacrer avec plus d'indépendance à son propre travail. Mais avec l'avènement du nazisme, en 1933, l'artiste, qui se place pourtant en dehors de toute politique, est accusé de « bolchevisme culturel », et destitué. Il retourne alors, en qualité d'émigrant, dans sa ville natale de Berne. Et c'est là que commence la dernière phase de son art. Le format de ses œuvres s'amplifie, une extrême simplicité le pousse à éliminer tout ce qui est superflu, la légère texture linéaire se renforce de grands signes.

Il peut être instructif d'étudier les œuvres des peintres en se souvenant des indications de Klee, et d'y chercher la multiplicité des chemins ménagés dans l'œuvre. Les théories de Klee ont eu un intérêt considérable, non seulement pour les artistes, mais aussi pour le spectateur et l'historien lui-même. En posant de façon nouvelle le rapport des moyens techniques et du sens, elles montrent que le point, la ligne, la touche, les tons, la composition sont les véritables signes du peintre.

Vers la fin de sa vie, il revient aux images inspirées par le langage des malades mentaux, aux monstres, aux anges, à l'obsession de la mort (Voyage sombre en hiver, 1940) et du passage, thématique essentielle de ce poète-peintre visionnaire. En 1935, Klee commence à ressentir les premiers effets d'une affection maligne de la peau, la sclérodermie. Il en meurt le 29 juin 1940 à l'hôpital de Locarno, Suisse, sans jamais avoir eu la nationalité suisse qu'il avait tant désirée. Ironie du sort, ce n'est que le lendemain que la ville de Berne la lui décernera; soixante-cinq ans plus tard, sera érigé en cette même ville le superbe musée consacré à l'œuvre de l'artiste, réunissant la plus grande collection au monde de ses productions, le Zentrum Paul Klee.

Paul Klee laisse un immense héritage. Il a su exprimer que le tableau doit être une chose organique en lui-même, comme sont organiques les plantes et les animaux, tout ce qui vit au monde et dans le monde. C'est là l'affirmation la plus importante de l'œuvre de Paul Klee qui annonce par là les peintres de la peinture inobjective . Il devance les surréalistes par ses visions, son goût du rêve, son abandon à l'irrationnel, et les abstraits par ses fonds musicaux qui ne sont que taches de couleur et suggestion de mélodie.

 Œuvres écrites
Théorie de l'art moderne
Cours du Bauhaus : contributions à la théorie de la forme picturale
Correspondances, traduction française en 5 volumes.
Journal : il jalonne sa vie jusqu'en 1917, on y retrouve des souvenirs d'enfance, les premiers amours mais aussi une réflexion sur la peinture et la musique
Confession créatrice et Poèmes, traduits en français par Armel Guerne, dans Aquarelles et dessins, Delpire, 1959.

Claude Lévi-Strauss, né le 28 novembre 1908 à Bruxelles, est un anthropologue, ethnologue et philosophe français. Professeur honoraire au Collège de France, dont il a occupé la chaire d'anthropologie sociale de 1959 à 1982, et membre de l'Académie française, dont il est devenu le premier centenaire, il compte parmi les premiers théoriciens de la pensée structuraliste.

Depuis ses premiers travaux sur les Indiens du Brésil, qu'il a étudiés sur le terrain entre 1935 et 1939, et la publication de sa thèse Les Structures élémentaires de la parenté en 1949, il a produit une œuvre scientifique dont les apports ont été reconnus au plan international. Il a ainsi consacré une tétralogie, les Mythologiques, à l'étude des mythes. Mais il a également publié des ouvrages qui sortent du strict cadre des études académiques, dont le plus célèbre, Tristes Tropiques, publié en 1955, l'a fait connaître et apprécier d'un vaste cercle de lecteurs.


 Enfance et formation
Claude Lévi-Strauss, issu d'une famille juive d'origine alsacienne, est né à Bruxelles de parents français. Son père était un peintre portraitiste, qui fut ruiné par l'arrivée de la photographie et son grand-père maternel était le rabbin de la synagogue de Versailles. Il fait ses études secondaires à Paris aux lycées Janson-de-Sailly et Condorcet ; puis des études supérieures à la faculté de droit de Paris (licence) et à la Sorbonne (troisième à l'agrégation de philosophie en 1931, doctorat ès lettres en 1948). Il est pendant cette période engagé à gauche.

 Missions ethnographiques et premières fonctions académiques
Après deux ans d'enseignement de la philosophie au lycée Victor-Duruy de Mont-de-Marsan et au lycée de Laon, le directeur de l'École normale supérieure, Célestin Bouglé, lui téléphone pour lui proposer de devenir membre de la mission universitaire au Brésil, en tant que professeur de sociologie à l'université de São Paulo, où il enseigne de 1935 à 1938. C'est ce coup de téléphone qui a décidé de la vocation ethnographique de Lévi-Strauss, expliquera ce dernier dans Tristes Tropiques. De 1935 à 1939, il organise et dirige plusieurs missions ethnographiques dans le Mato Grosso et en Amazonie. « L'ethnologie jette un pont entre psychanalyse et marxisme d'un côté, géologie de l'autre. Lévi-Strauss a trouvé la science dans laquelle se marient toutes ses passions antérieures » écrit son biographe Denis Bertholet.

En 1938, il traverse l'État du Mato Grosso. Il part de Cuiabá, une ancienne ville pionnière de chercheurs d'or, à bord de sa Ford 34. À partir de Diamantino, il suit avec des chars à boeufs une ligne télégraphique qui traverse le cerrado, une brousse à la végétation très dense. Il rencontre les Nambikwara dont il rapporte une documentation fournie et 200 photos, puis les indiens Mundé et Tupi Kawahib dans l'État du Rondônia. Toutes ces missions auprès de populations indiennes lui permettent de réunir les premiers matériaux qui seront à la base de sa thèse sur Les Structures élémentaires de la parenté, soutenue en 1949.

De retour en France à la veille de la guerre, il est mobilisé en 1939-1940 sur la ligne Maginot comme agent de liaison, puis affecté au lycée de Montpellier, après sa révocation en raison des lois raciales. Il quitte la France en 1941 pour se réfugier à New York, alors haut lieu de bouillonnement culturel, où il enseigne à la New School for Social Research[8]. La rencontre avec Roman Jakobson, dont il suit les cours, est décisive sur un plan intellectuel. La linguistique structurale lui apporte les éléments théoriques qui lui faisaient jusqu'à présent défaut pour mener à bien son travail d'ethnologue sur les systèmes de parenté. Il est engagé volontaire dans les Forces françaises libres et affecté à la mission scientifique française aux États-Unis. Il fonde avec Henri Focillon, Jacques Maritain, Jean Perrin et d'autres l'École Libre des Hautes Etudes de New York en février 1942.

 L'apogée scientifique
Fronton du Collège de FranceRappelé en France, en 1944, par le ministère des Affaires étrangères, il retourne aux États-Unis en 1945 pour y occuper les fonctions de conseiller culturel auprès de l'ambassade de France. Il démissionne en 1948 pour se consacrer à son travail scientifique. En 1949, il publie sa thèse Les Structures élémentaires de la parenté. Cette même année, il devient sous-directeur du musée de l'Homme, puis directeur d'études à l'École pratique des hautes études, chaire des religions comparées des peuples sans écriture.

Il publie en 1955 ce qui reste son livre le plus célèbre, Tristes Tropiques, livre qui, à mi-chemin de l'autobiographie, de la méditation philosophique et du témoignage ethnographique, connait un énorme succès public et critique : de Raymond Aron à Maurice Blanchot, de Georges Bataille à Michel Leiris, de nombreux intellectuels applaudissent à la publication de cet ouvrage qui sort des sentiers battus de l'ethnologie.

En 1959, après deux échecs, il est élu professeur au Collège de France, chaire d'anthropologie sociale, qu'il quitte à sa mise à la retraite en 1982 (il pèse de tout son poids pour que Françoise Héritier, sa collaboratrice de longue date, lui succède). Parmi les mandarins de l'Université, seul Georges Gurvitch ne voit pas d'un bon œil cette élection de Lévi-Strauss mais, explique Denis Bertholet, « Lévi-Strauss n'a plus aucune raison de s'expliquer avec son concurrent ». À l'été 1960 est mise en place la structure d'un laboratoire d'anthropologie sociale qui relève à la fois du Collège de France et de l'École pratique des hautes études. Il obtient de Fernand Braudel que le seul exemplaire européen des Human Relations Area Files produit par l'Université Yale soit confié au nouveau laboratoire ce qui fait de cette nouvelle structure « avant même d'avoir lancé recherches et missions [...] un centre de référence en matière ethnographique ».

Il fonde en 1961 avec Émile Benveniste et Pierre Gourou la revue L'Homme qui s'ouvre aux multiples courants de l'ethnologie et de l'anthropologie, et cherche à favoriser l'approche interdisciplinaire.

Du début des années 1960 au début des années 1970, il se consacre à l'étude des mythes. Ces études – les Mythologiques – donnent lieu à la publication de plusieurs volumes dont le premier, Le Cru et le Cuit, paraît en 1964. C'est à cette époque que le milieu intellectuel, dont Les Temps Modernes, commence à faire entendre des critiques sur la pensée de Lévi-Strauss. Mais c'est également, à partir de 1970, l'époque où son œuvre commence à être étudiée pour elle-même avec la publication de Claude Lévi-Strauss. The Anthropologist as a Hero par les presses du MIT et du livre que lui a consacré l'anthropologue britannique Edmund Leach. Il donne de nombreux entretiens à la presse grâce auxquels, selon Denis Bertholet, il peut présenter « sous une forme vulgarisée les idées qui lui tiennent à cœur » et à ce titre, « dans les années 1960, avant que l'écologie ne devienne une idéologie et un parti [...] Lévi-Strauss, par ses vues distantes et sévères, lui a sans doute donné, hors de tout effet de pathos, sa formulation la plus radicale ».

Il est élu en mai 1973 à l'Académie française. Comme le veut la tradition, il fait l'éloge de son prédécesseur, Henry de Montherlant, et Roger Caillois prononçant – à la demande de Lévi-Strauss – le discours de « réponse » en profite pour lancer « une série de flèches empoisonnées » sur sa méthode et ses présupposés scientifiques. Son entrée à l'Académie française suscite autant d'interrogations au sein de la Coupole que parmi ses amis et collaborateurs.

 Fin de vie
À partir de 1994, Claude Lévi-Strauss publie moins. Il continue toutefois à donner régulièrement des comptes rendus de lecture pour L'Homme. En 1998, à l'occasion de son quatre-vingt-dixième anniversaire, la revue Critique lui dédie un numéro spécial dirigé par Marc Augé, et une réception a lieu au Collège de France. Lévi-Strauss évoque sans détour la vieillesse et déclare notamment : « [il y a] aujourd'hui pour moi un moi réel, qui n'est plus que le quart ou la moitié d'un homme, et un moi virtuel qui conserve encore une vive idée du tout. Le moi virtuel dresse un projet de livre, commence à en organiser les chapitres, et dit au moi réel : "C'est à toi de continuer." Et le moi réel, qui ne peut plus, dit au moi virtuel : "C'est ton affaire. C'est toi seul qui vois la totalité." Ma vie se déroule à présent dans ce dialogue très étrange. »

Il donne pour un numéro de L'Homme d'avril-septembre 2002 consacré à « La question de parenté » une postface dans laquelle il se félicite de constater que les lois et règles de fonctionnement qu'il a mises au jour « restent au cœur des travaux contemporains » selon l'expression de Denis Bertholet.

Au début de l'année 2005, lors d'une de ses dernières apparitions à la télévision française il déclare, reprenant en des termes très proches un sentiment qu'il avait déjà exprimé en 1972 (entretien avec Jean José Marchand) et en 1984 (entretien avec Bernard Pivot) : « Ce que je constate : ce sont les ravages actuels ; c'est la disparition effrayante des espèces vivantes, qu'elles soient végétales ou animales ; et le fait que du fait même de sa densité actuelle, l'espèce humaine vit sous une sorte de régime d'empoisonnement interne —-si je puis dire—- et je pense au présent et au monde dans lequel je suis en train de finir mon existence. Ce n'est pas un monde que j'aime ».

En mai 2008, une partie de son œuvre est publiée dans la Bibliothèque de la Pléiade.

Le 28 novembre 2008, à l'occasion de son centenaire, de nombreuses manifestations sont organisées. Le Musée du quai Branly lui dédie une journée au cours de laquelle, devant une affluence record, des écrivains, des scientifiques et des artistes lisent un choix de ses textes. L'Académie française l'honore également, le 27 novembre, en fêtant le premier académicien centenaire de son histoire. La BNF organise une journée au cours de laquelle les visiteurs découvrent les manuscrits, les carnets de voyages, les croquis, les notes, et même la machine à écrire, de l'anthropologue.

Le Président de la République, Nicolas Sarkozy, se rend au domicile parisien de Lévi-Strauss en compagnie d'Hélène Carrère d'Encausse pour s'entretenir avec lui de « l'avenir de nos sociétés ».

La ministre de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche, Valérie Pécresse, annonce pour son centenaire la création d’un Prix Claude Lévi-Strauss, d’un montant de 100 000 euros, qui viendra récompenser à partir de juin 2009, et chaque année, le « meilleur chercheur » dans les disciplines telles que l’histoire, l’anthropologie, les sciences sociales ou l'archéologie.


Claude Lévi-Strauss a appliqué à l'anthropologie l'analyse structurale exploitée dans le domaine linguistique par Ferdinand de Saussure puis Roman Jakobson. L'anthropologie prenait traditionnellement comme objet fondamental de son étude la famille, considérée comme une unité autonome composée d'un mari, d'une femme et de leurs enfants, et tenait pour secondaires les neveux, cousins, oncles, tantes et grands-parents. Lévi-Strauss estime que, de manière analogue à la « valeur linguistique » chez Saussure, les familles n'acquièrent des identités déterminées que par les relations qu'elles entretiennent les unes avec les autres. Il renverse ainsi le point de vue traditionnel de l'anthropologie en mettant en premier les membres secondaires de la famille et en centrant son analyse sur les relations entre les unités plutôt que sur les unités elles-mêmes.

En analysant comment se forment les identités au cours des mariages intertribaux, Lévi-Strauss remarque que la relation entre un oncle et son neveu (A) est à la relation entre un frère et sa sœur (B) ce que la relation entre un père et son fils (C) est à celle qui relie un mari à sa femme (D) : A est à B ce que C est à D. De la sorte, si nous connaissons A, B et C, nous pouvons prédire D. L'objectif de l'anthropologie structurale de Lévi-Strauss est donc d'extraire de masses de données empiriques des relations générales entre des unités, ce qui permet d'isoler des lois à valeur prédictive, telles que : « A est à B ce que C est à D ».

Dans les Structures élémentaires de la parenté, avec l'aide ponctuelle du mathématicien André Weil, il dégage le concept de structure élémentaire de parenté en utilisant la notion de groupe de permutations.

De manière similaire, Lévi-Strauss voit dans le mythe un acte de parole dans lequel on peut découvrir un langage. Comment donc, sans cela, des contes si fantastiques et si arbitraires pourraient-ils se ressembler autant d'une culture à l'autre ? Il part donc à la recherche des unités fondamentales du mythe : les « mythèmes ». Partant de l'idée qu'il n'y a pas une version unique « authentique » du mythe mais que toutes les versions sont des manifestations d'un même langage, il analyse chaque version en une série de propositions, chacune consistant en la relation entre une fonction et un sujet. Les propositions pourvues de la même fonction sont regroupées sous le même numéro : il s'agit des mythèmes.

En examinant les relations entre les mythèmes, Lévi-Strauss déclare qu'un mythe consiste uniquement en oppositions binaires. Le mythe d'Œdipe, par exemple, c'est à la fois l'exagération et la sous-évaluation des relations de sang, l'affirmation d'une origine autochtone de l'humanité et le déni de cette origine. Sous l'influence de Hegel, Lévi-Strauss pense que l'esprit humain organise fondamentalement sa pensée autour de telles oppositions binaires et de leur unification (thèse, antithèse, synthèse), ce mécanisme permettant de rendre la signification possible. De plus, il considère que le mythe est un stratagème habile qui transforme une opposition binaire inconciliable en une opposition binaire conciliable, créant ainsi l'illusion ou la croyance qu'elle a été résolue.

 L'étude des relations de parenté
À l'aide de la méthode structuraliste, Lévi-Strauss a donné un nouveau souffle aux études de la parenté. Il est le premier à insister sur l'importance de l'alliance au sein des structures de parenté, et a mis en évidence la nécessité de l'échange et de la réciprocité découlant du principe de prohibition de l'inceste. Dans cette optique, il a été jusqu'à avancer l'idée que toute société humaine est fondée sur une unité minimale de parenté : l'atome de parenté. Cette théorie globale est connue plus communément sous le nom de « théorie de l'alliance ».

Élu en 1973 au fauteuil 29 de l'Académie française. Doyen d'âge de l'Académie depuis la mort du professeur Jean Bernard en 2006, vice-doyen d'élection depuis la mort de Henri Troyat en 2007.
Membre étranger de la National Academy of Sciences des États-Unis.
Membre de l'Académie britannique
Membre de l'Académie royale des arts et des sciences néerlandaise
Membre de l'Académie norvégienne des sciences et des lettres
Conservateur d'honneur du Musée du quai Branly, nommé en 2007

 Décorations françaises et étrangères
Grand-croix de la Légion d'honneur
Commandeur de l'ordre national du Mérite
Commandeur des Palmes académiques
Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres
Commandeur de l'ordre de la Couronne de Belgique
Commandeur de l'ordre de la Croix du Sud du Brésil
Ordre du Soleil levant, Étoile d'or et d'argent
Grand-croix de l'ordre du Mérite scientifique du Brésil

 Prix et Médailles
Médaille d'or et Prix du Viking Fund, 1966
Médaille d'or du CNRS, 1967
Prix Erasme, 1973
Prix de la Fondation Nonino, 1986
Prix Aby M. Warburg, 1996
Prix Meister Eckhart, 2002

 Docteur honoris causa
Il est docteur honoris causa des universités suivantes  :

Université libre de Bruxelles
Université de Chicago
Université de Columbia
Université Harvard
Université Johns-Hopkins,
Université Laval (Québec)
Université nationale autonome du Mexique
Université de Montréal
Université d'Oxford
Université de São Paulo (Brésil)
Université de Stirling
Université d'Uppsala
Université Visva Bharati (Inde)
Université Yale
Université nationale du Zaïre

 Œuvres (premières éditions)
Liste non exhaustive ; la plupart des titres sont aujourd'hui disponibles en collection poche.

La Vie familiale et sociale des Indiens Nambikwara, Paris, Société des américanistes, 1948.
Les Structures élémentaires de la parenté, Paris, PUF, 1949 ; nouv. éd. revue, La Haye-Paris, Mouton, 1968.
Race et Histoire, Paris, UNESCO, 1952.
« Introduction à l'œuvre de Marcel Mauss », dans Marcel Mauss, Sociologie et anthropologie, Paris, PUF, 1950.
Tristes Tropiques, Plon, Paris, 1955.
Anthropologie structurale, Paris, Plon, 1958 ; nombreuses rééd. Pocket, 1997. (ISBN 2-266-07754-6)
Le Totémisme aujourd'hui, Paris, PUF, 1962.
La Pensée sauvage, Paris, Plon, 1962.
Mythologiques, t. I : Le Cru et le cuit, Paris, Plon, 1964.
Mythologiques, t. II : Du miel aux cendres, Paris, Plon, 1967.
Mythologiques, t. III : L'Origine des manières de table, Paris, Plon, 1968.
Mythologiques, t. IV : L'Homme nu, Paris, Plon, 1971.
Anthropologie structurale deux, Paris, Plon, 1973.
La Voie des masques, 2 vol., Genève, Skira, 1975 ; nouv. éd. augmentée et rallongée de « Trois Excursions », Plon, 1979.
(en) Myth and Meaning, Londres, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978.
Le Regard éloigné, Paris, Plon, 1983.
Paroles données, Paris, Plon, 1984.
Histoire de Lynx, Paris, Pocket, 1991. (ISBN 2-266-00694-0)
Regarder écouter lire, Paris, Plon, 1993. (ISBN 2-259-02715-6)
Saudades do Brasil, Paris, Plon, 1994. (ISBN 2-259-18088-4)
Le Père Noël supplicié, Pin-Balma, Sables, 1994 (ISBN 2-907530-22-4)
Œuvres, préface par Vincent Debaene ; édition établie par Vincent Debaene, Frédéric Keck, Marie Mauzé, et al., Paris, Gallimard, « Bibliothèque de la Pléiade », 2008. (ISBN 978-2-07-0118021) (Ce volume réunit Tristes tropiques ; Le totémisme aujourd'hui ; La pensée sauvage ; La voie des masques ; La potière jalouse ; Histoire de lynx ; Regarder écouter lire avec une bibliographie des oeuvres de et sur Claude Lévi-Strauss).

Vassily Kandinsky (Vassili Vassilievitch Kandinski, en russe : Василий Васильевич Кандинский) est un peintre russe et un théoricien de l’art né à Moscou le 4 décembre 1866 et mort à Neuilly-sur-Seine le 13 décembre 1944.

Considéré comme l’un des artistes les plus importants du XXe siècle aux côtés notamment de Picasso et de Matisse, il est le fondateur de l'art abstrait : il est généralement considéré comme étant l’auteur de la première œuvre non figurative de l’histoire de l’art moderne, une aquarelle de 1910 qui sera dite "abstraite". Certains historiens ou critiques d'art ont soupçonné Kandinsky d'avoir antidaté cette aquarelle pour s'assurer la paternité de l'abstraction sous prétexte qu'elle ressemble à une esquisse de sa Composition VII de 1913[réf. souhaitée].

Kandinsky est né à Moscou mais il passe son enfance à Odessa. Il s'inscrit à l’Université de Moscou et choisit le droit et l’économie. Il décide de commencer des études de peinture (dessin d’après modèle, croquis et anatomie) à l’âge de 30 ans.

En 1896 il s’installe à Munich où il étudie à l’Académie des Beaux-Arts. Il retourne à Moscou en 1918 après la révolution russe. En conflit avec les théories officielles de l’art, il retourne en Allemagne en 1921. Il y enseigne au Bauhaus à partir de 1922 jusqu’à sa fermeture par les nazis en 1933. Il émigre alors en France et y vit le reste de sa vie, acquérant la nationalité française en 1939. Il s'éteint à Neuilly-sur-Seine en 1944, laissant derrière lui une œuvre abondante.

 Périodes artistiques

La création par Kandinsky d’une œuvre purement abstraite n’est pas intervenue comme un changement abrupt, elle est le fruit d’un long développement, d’une longue maturation et d’une intense réflexion théorique fondée sur son expérience personnelle de peintre et sur l'élan de son esprit vers la beauté intérieure et ce profond désir spirituel qu’il appelait la nécessité intérieure et qu’il tenait comme un principe essentiel de l’art.

 Jeunesse et inspirations (1866-1896)
La jeunesse et la vie de Kandinsky à Moscou lui apportent une multitude de sources d’inspiration. Il se souvient plus tard qu’étant enfant il était fasciné et exceptionnellement stimulé par la couleur.[2] C’est probablement lié à sa synesthésie, qui lui permettait littéralement d’entendre les couleurs qu’il voyait comme des sons musicaux., Sa fascination pour les couleurs continue à augmenter pendant son enfance à Moscou, bien qu’il n’ait semble-t-il jamais tenté de faire des études artistiques.

En 1889 il participe à un groupe ethnographique qui voyagea jusqu’à la région de Vologda au nord-est de Moscou pour étudier les coutumes relatives au droit paysan. Il raconte dans Regards sur le passé qu’il a l’impression de se mouvoir dans un tableau lorsqu’il rentre dans les maisons ou dans les églises de cette région décorées des couleurs les plus chatoyantes. Son étude du folklore de cette région, en particulier l’usage de couleurs vives sur un fond sombre a rejailli sur son œuvre primitive. Kandinsky écrit quelques années plus tard que « la couleur est le clavier, les yeux sont les marteaux et l’âme est le piano avec les cordes. » C'est cette même année, avant de quitter Moscou, qu’il voit une exposition de Monet et qu’il est impressionné par la représentation d’une meule de foin qui lui montre la puissance de la couleur utilisée presque indépendamment de l’objet lui-même.

 Épanouissement artistique (1896-1911)
Le temps que Kandinsky a passé à l’école des Beaux-Arts est facilité par le fait qu’il est plus âgé et plus expérimenté que les autres étudiants. Il commence une carrière de peintre tout en devenant un véritable théoricien de l’art du fait de l’intensité de ses réflexions sur son propre travail. Malheureusement, très peu de ses œuvres de cette période ont subsisté au temps, bien que sa production ait probablement été importante. Cette situation change à partir du début du XXe siècle.Un grand nombre de tableaux de paysages et de villes, utilisant de larges touches de couleur mais des formes bien identifiables, ont été conservés.

Pour l’essentiel, les peintures de Kandinsky de cette époque ne comportent pas de visages humains. Une exception est Dimanche, Russie traditionnelle (1904) où Kandinsky nous propose une peinture très colorée et sans doute imaginaire de paysans et de nobles devant les murs d’une ville. Sa peinture intitulée Couple à cheval (1906-1907) dépeint un homme sur un cheval, portant avec tendresse une femme, et qui chevauche devant une ville russe aux murs lumineux au-delà d’une rivière. Le cheval qui est couvert d’une étoffe somptueuse se tient dans l’ombre, tandis que les feuilles des arbres, la ville et les reflets dans la rivière luisent comme des taches de couleur et de lumière.

Une peinture fondamentale de Kandinsky de ces années 1900 est probablement Le cavalier bleu (Der blaue reiter, 1903) qui montre un personnage portant une cape chevauchant rapidement à travers une prairie rocailleuse. Kandinsky montre le cavalier davantage comme une série de touches colorées que par des détails précis. En elle-même, cette peinture n’est pas exceptionnelle, lorsqu’on la compare aux tableaux d’autres peintres contemporains, mais elle montre la direction que Kandinsky va suivre dans les années suivantes, et son titre annonce l’association qu’il va fonder quelques années plus tard.

De 1906 à 1908 Kandinsky passe une grande partie de son temps à voyager à travers l’Europe, jusqu’à ce qu’il s’installe dans la petite ville bavaroise de Murnau. La montagne bleue (1908-1909) peinte à cette époque montre davantage sa tendance vers l’abstraction pure. Une montagne de bleu est flanquée de deux grands arbres, l’un jaune et l’autre rouge. Un groupe de trois cavaliers et de quelques autres personnages traverse le bas de la toile. Le visage, les habits et la selle des cavaliers sont chacune d’une couleur unie, et aucun des personnages ne montre de détail réaliste. Le large emploi de la couleur dans La montagne bleue illustre l’évolution de Kandinsky vers un art dans lequel la couleur elle-même est appliquée indépendamment de la forme.

À partir de 1909, ce que Kandinsky appelle le « chœur des couleurs » devient de plus en plus éclatant, il se charge d’un pouvoir émotif et d’une signification cosmique intense. Cette évolution a été attribuée à un ouvrage de Goethe, le Traité des couleurs (Farbenlehre), qui a influencé ses livres Du Spirituel dans l’Art et Regards sur le passé. L'année suivante, il peint la première œuvre abstraite réalisée à partir d’une conviction profonde et dans un but clairement défini : substituer à la figuration et à l’imitation de la « réalité » extérieure du monde matériel une création pure de nature spirituelle qui ne procède que de la seule nécessité intérieure de l’artiste. Ou pour reprendre la terminologie du philosophe Michel Henry, substituer à l’apparence visible du monde extérieur la réalité intérieure pathétique et invisible de la vie.

 Le Cavalier bleu (1911-1914)
Les peintures de cette période comportent de grandes masses colorées très expressives évoluent indépendamment des formes et des lignes qui ne servent plus à les délimiter ou à les mettre en valeur mais qui se combinent avec elles, se superposent et se chevauchent de façon très libre pour former des toiles d’une force extraordinaire.

La musique a eu une grande influence sur la naissance de l’art abstrait, étant abstraite par nature et ne cherchant pas à représenter vainement le monde extérieur mais simplement à exprimer de façon immédiate des sentiments intérieurs à l’âme humaine. Kandinsky utilise parfois des termes musicaux pour désigner ses œuvres : il appelle beaucoup de ses peintures les plus spontanées des "improvisations", tandis qu’il nomme "compositions" quelques unes parmi les plus élaborées et les plus longuement travaillées, un terme qui résonne en lui comme une prière.

En plus de la peinture elle-même, Kandinsky se consacre à la constitution d’une théorie de l’art. Il a contribué à fonder l’association des Nouveaux Artistes de Munich dont il devint le président en 1909. Le groupe fut incapable d’intégrer les approches les plus radicales comme celle de Kandinsky du fait d’une conception plus conventionnelle de l’art, et le groupe se dissout fin 1911. Kandinsky fonde alors une nouvelle association, Le Cavalier bleu (Der Blaue Reiter) avec des artistes plus proches de sa vision de l’art tels que Franz Marc. Cette association réalise un almanach, appelé L’Almanach du Cavalier Bleu qui connu deux parutions. Davantage de numéros étaient prévus, mais la déclaration de la première guerre mondiale en 1914 mit fin à ces projets, et Kandinsky retourna chez lui en Russie via la Suisse et la Suède.

Son premier grand ouvrage théorique sur l’art, intitulé Du spirituel dans l’art et dans la peinture en particulier, paraît fin 1911. Il expose dans ce court traité sa vision personnelle de l’art dont la véritable mission est d’ordre spirituel, ainsi que sa théorie de l’effet psychologique des couleurs sur l’âme humaine et leur sonorité intérieure. L’Almanach du Cavalier Bleu est publié peu de temps après. Ces écrits de Kandinsky servent à la fois de défense et de promotion de l’art abstrait, ainsi que de démonstration que toute forme d’art authentique était également capable d’atteindre une certaine profondeur spirituelle. Il pense que la couleur peut être utilisée dans la peinture comme une réalité autonome et indépendante de la description visuelle d’un objet ou d’une autre forme.

 Retour en Russie (1914-1921)
Durant les années 1918 à 1921, Kandinsky s’occupe du développement de la politique culturelle de la Russie, il apporte sa collaboration dans les domaines de la pédagogie de l’art et de la réforme des musées. Il se consacre également à l’enseignement artistique avec un programme reposant sur l’analyse des formes et des couleurs, ainsi qu’à l’organisation de l’Institut de culture artistique à Moscou. Il peint très peu durant cette période. Il fait la connaissance en 1916 de Nina Andreievskaïa qui deviendra son épouse l’année suivante. Kandinsky reçu en 1921 pour mission de se rendre en Allemagne au Bauhaus de Weimar, sur l’invitation de son fondateur, l’architecte Walter Gropius. L’année suivante, les soviétiques interdirent officiellement toute forme d’art abstrait car jugé nocif pour les idéaux socialistes.

 Le Bauhaus (1922-1933)
Le Bauhaus est alors une école d'architecture et d’art novateur qui a pour objectif de fusionner les arts plastiques et les arts appliqués, et dont l’enseignement repose sur la mise en application théorique et pratique de la synthèse des arts plastiques. Kandinsky y donne des cours dans le cadre de l’atelier de peinture murale, qui reprennent sa théorie des couleurs en y intégrant de nouveaux éléments sur la psychologie de la forme. Le développement de ces travaux sur l’étude des formes, en particulier le point et les différentes formes de lignes, conduit à la publication de son second grand ouvrage théorique Point et ligne sur plan en 1926.

Les éléments géométriques prennent dans son enseignement comme dans sa peinture une importance grandissante, en particulier le cercle, le demi-cercle, l’angle et les lignes droites ou courbes. Cette période est pour lui une période d’intense production. Par la liberté dont témoigne chacune de ses œuvres, par le traitement des surfaces riches en couleurs et en dégradés magnifiques comme dans sa toile Jaune – rouge – bleu (1925), Kandinsky se démarque nettement du constructivisme ou du suprématisme dont l’influence était grandissante à cette époque.

Les formes principales qui constituent cette grande toile de deux mètres de large intitulée Jaune – rouge – bleu sont un rectangle vertical jaune, une croix rouge légèrement inclinée et un grand cercle bleu foncé, tandis qu’une multitude de lignes noires droites ou sinueuse et d’arcs de cercles, ainsi que quelques cercles monochromes et quelques damiers colorés contribuent à sa délicate complexité. Cette simple identification visuelle des formes et des principales masses colorées présentes sur la toile ne correspond qu’à une première approche de la réalité intérieure de l’œuvre dont la juste appréciation nécessite une observation bien plus approfondie non seulement des formes et des couleurs utilisées dans la peinture, mais également de leur relation, de leur position absolue et de leur disposition relative sur la toile, de leur harmonie d’ensemble et de leur accord réciproque.

Confronté à l’hostilité des partis de droite, le Bauhaus quitta Weimar pour s’installer à Dessau-Roßlau dès 1925. Suite à une campagne de diffamation acharnée de la part des nazis, le Bauhaus est fermé à Dessau en 1932. L’école poursuit ses activités à Berlin jusqu’à sa dissolution en juillet 1933. Kandinsky quitte alors l’Allemagne pour venir s’installer à Paris.

 La grande synthèse (1934-1944)
A Paris, il se trouve relativement isolé, d’autant que l’art abstrait, en particulier géométrique, n’est guère reconnu : les tendances artistiques à la mode étaient plutôt l’impressionnisme et le cubisme. Il vit et travaille dans un petit appartement dont il a aménagé la salle de séjour en atelier. Des formes biomorphiques aux contours souples et non géométriques font leur apparition dans son œuvre, des formes qui évoquent extérieurement des organismes microscopiques mais qui expriment toujours la vie intérieure de l’artiste. Il recourt à des compositions de couleurs inédites qui évoquent l’art populaire slave et qui ressemblent à des ouvrages en filigrane précieux. Il utilise également du sable qu’il mélange aux couleurs pour donner à la peinture une texture granuleuse.

Cette période correspond en fait à une vaste synthèse de son œuvre antérieure, dont il reprend l’ensemble des éléments tout en les enrichissant. Il peint en 1936 et 1939 ses deux dernières grandes compositions, ces toiles particulièrement élaborées et longuement mûries qu’il avait cessé de produire depuis de nombreuses années. Composition IX est une toile aux diagonales puissantes fortement contrastées et dont la forme centrale évoque un embryon humain dans le ventre de sa mère. Les petits carrés de couleurs et les bandes colorées semblent se détacher du fond noir de Composition X comme des fragments ou des filaments d’étoiles, tandis que d’énigmatiques hiéroglyphes aux tons pastels recouvrent la grande masse marron qui semble flotter dans le coin supérieur gauche de la toile.

Dans les œuvres de Kandinsky, un certain nombre de caractéristiques sautent immédiatement aux yeux tandis que certaines sonorités sont plus discrètes et comme voilées, c’est-à-dire qu’elles ne se révèlent que progressivement à ceux qui font l’effort d’approfondir leur rapport avec l’œuvre et d’affiner leur regard. Il ne faut donc pas se contenter d’une première impression ou d’une identification grossière des formes que l’artiste a utilisées et qu’il a subtilement harmonisées et mises en accord pour qu’elles rentrent efficacement en résonance avec l’âme du spectateur.

 Gloire posthume
A partir de la mort de Vassily Kandinsky et durant une trentaine d’années, Nina Kandinsky n’a cessé de diffuser le message et de divulguer l’œuvre de son mari. L’ensemble des œuvres en sa possession ont été léguées au Centre Georges Pompidou, à Paris, où l’on peut voir la plus grande collection de ses peintures.

 Ecrits théoriques sur l’art Les analyses de Kandinsky sur les formes et sur les couleurs ne résultent pas de simples associations d’idées arbitraires, mais de l’expérience intérieure du peintre qui a passé des années à créer des peintures abstraites d’une incroyable richesse sensorielle, à travailler sur les formes et avec les couleurs, observant longuement et inlassablement ses propres toiles et celles d’autres artistes, constatant simplement leur effet subjectif et pathétique sur son âme d’artiste et de poète d’une très grande sensibilité aux couleurs.

Il s’agit donc d’une forme d'expérience purement subjective que chacun peut faire et répéter en prenant le temps de regarder ses peintures et de laisser agir les formes et les couleurs sur sa propre sensibilité vivante. Il ne s’agit pas d’observations scientifiques et objectives, mais d’observations intérieures radicalement subjectives et purement phénoménologiques qui relèvent de ce que le philosophe Michel Henry appelle la subjectivité absolue ou la vie phénoménologique absolue.

 Du spirituel dans l’art
Kandinsky compare la vie spirituelle de l’humanité à un grand Triangle semblable à une pyramide et que l’artiste a pour tâche et pour mission d’entraîner vers le haut par l’exercice de son talent. La pointe du Triangle est constituée seulement de quelques individus qui apportent aux hommes le pain sublime. Un Triangle spirituel qui avance et monte lentement, même s’il reste parfois immobile. Durant les périodes de décadence les âmes tombent vers le bas du Triangle et les hommes ne recherchent que le succès extérieur et ignorent les forces purement spirituelles.

Lorsque l’on regarde les couleurs sur la palette d’un peintre, un double effet se produit : un effet purement physique de l’œil charmé par la beauté des couleurs tout d’abord, qui provoque une impression de joie comme lorsque l’on mange une friandise. Mais cet effet peut être beaucoup plus profond et entraîner une émotion et une vibration de l’âme, ou une résonance intérieure qui est un effet purement spirituel par lequel la couleur atteint l’âme.

La nécessité intérieure est pour Kandinsky le principe de l’art et le fondement de l’harmonie des formes et des couleurs. Il la définit comme le principe de l’entrée en contact efficace de la forme et des couleurs avec l’âme humaine. Toute forme est la délimitation d’une surface par une autre, elle possède un contenu intérieur qui est l’effet qu’elle produit sur celui qui la regarde avec attention. Cette nécessité intérieure est le droit de l’artiste à la liberté illimitée, mais cette liberté devient un crime si elle n’est pas fondée sur une telle nécessité. L’œuvre d’art naît de la nécessité intérieure de l’artiste de façon mystérieuse, énigmatique et mystique, puis elle acquiert une vie autonome, elle devient un sujet indépendant animé d’un souffle spirituel.

Les premières propriétés qui sautent aux yeux lorsque l’on regarde la couleur isolée, en la laissant agir seule, c’est d’une part la chaleur ou la froideur du ton coloré, et d’autre part la clarté ou l’obscurité de ce ton.

La chaleur est une tendance au jaune, la froideur une tendance au bleu. Le jaune et le bleu forment le premier grand contraste, qui est dynamique. Le jaune possède un mouvement excentrique et le bleu un mouvement concentrique, une surface jaune semble se rapprocher de nous, tandis qu’une surface bleue semble s’éloigner. Le jaune est la couleur typiquement terrestre dont la violence peut être pénible et agressive. Le bleu est la couleur typiquement céleste qui évoque un calme profond. Le mélange du bleu et du jaune produit l’immobilité totale et le calme, le vert.

La clarté est une tendance vers le blanc et l’obscurité une tendance vers le noir. Le blanc et le noir forment le second grand contraste, qui est statique. Le blanc agit comme un silence profond et absolu plein de possibilités. Le noir est un néant sans possibilité, il est un silence éternel et sans espoir, il correspond à la mort. C’est pourquoi toute autre couleur résonne si fortement à son voisinage. Le mélange du blanc et du noir conduit au gris, qui ne possède aucune force active et dont la tonalité affective est voisine de celle du vert. Le gris correspond à l’immobilité sans espoir, il tend vers le désespoir lorsqu’il devient foncé et retrouve un peu d’espoir en s’éclaircissant.

Le rouge est une couleur chaude très vivante, vive et agitée, il possède une force immense, il est un mouvement en soi. Mélangé au noir, il conduit au brun qui est une couleur dure. Mélangé au jaune, il gagne en chaleur et donne l’orangé qui possède un mouvement d’irradiation sur l’entourage. Mélangé au bleu, il s’éloigne de l’homme pour donner le violet, qui est un rouge refroidi. Le rouge et le vert forment le troisième grand contraste, l'orangé et le violet le quatrième.

 Point et ligne sur plan
Kandinsky analyse dans cet écrit les éléments géométriques qui composent toute peinture, à savoir le point et la ligne, ainsi que le support physique et la surface matérielle sur laquelle l’artiste dessine ou peint et qu’il appelle le plan originel ou P.O.[48] Il ne les analyse pas d’un point de vue objectif et extérieur, mais du point de vue de leur effet intérieur sur la subjectivité vivante du spectateur qui les regarde et les laisse agir sur sa sensibilité.[49]

Le point est dans la pratique une petite tache de couleur déposée par l’artiste sur la toile. Le point qu’utilise le peintre donc n’est pas un point géométrique, il n’est pas une abstraction mathématique, il possède une certaine extension, une forme et une couleur. Cette forme peut être carrée, triangulaire, ronde, en forme d’étoile ou plus complexe encore. Le point est la forme la plus concise, mais selon son emplacement sur le plan originel il va prendre une tonalité différente. Il peut être seul et isolé ou bien être mis en résonance avec d’autres points ou avec des lignes.

La ligne est le produit d’une force, elle est un point sur lequel une force vivante s’est exercée dans une certaine direction, la force exercée sur le crayon ou sur le pinceau par la main de l’artiste. Les formes linéaires produites peuvent être de plusieurs types : une ligne droite qui résulte d’une force unique exercée dans une seule direction, une ligne brisée qui résulte de l’alternance de deux forces possédant des directions différentes, ou bien une ligne courbe ou ondulée produite par l’effet de deux forces qui agissent simultanément. Une surface peut être obtenue par densification, à partir d’une ligne que l’on fait pivoter autour d’une de ses extrémités.

L’effet subjectif produit par une ligne dépend de son orientation : la ligne horizontale correspond au sol sur lequel l’homme se repose et se meut, au plat, elle possède une tonalité affective sombre et froide semblable au noir ou au bleu, tandis que la ligne verticale correspond à la hauteur et n’offre aucun point d’appui, elle possède au contraire une tonalité lumineuse et chaude proche du blanc ou du jaune. Une diagonale possède par conséquent une tonalité plus ou moins chaude ou froide selon son inclinaison par rapport à la verticale ou à l’horizontale.

Une force qui se déploie sans obstacle comme celle qui produit une ligne droite correspond au lyrisme, tandis que plusieurs forces qui s’opposent et se contrarient forment un drame. L’angle que forme une ligne brisée possède également une sonorité intérieure qui est chaude et proche du jaune pour un angle aigu (triangle), froide et similaire au bleu pour un angle obtus (cercle) et semblable au rouge pour un angle droit (carré).

Le plan originel est en général rectangulaire ou carré, il est donc composé de lignes horizontales et verticales qui le délimitent et qui le définissent comme un être autonome qui va servir de support à la peinture en lui communiquant sa tonalité affective. Cette tonalité est déterminée par l’importance relative de ces lignes horizontales et verticales, les horizontales donnant une tonalité calme et froide au plan originel, tandis que les verticales lui communique une tonalité calme et chaude.[55] L’artiste possède l’intuition de cet effet intérieur du format de la toile et de ses dimensions, qu’il va choisir en fonction de la tonalité qu’il souhaite donner à son œuvre. Kandinsky considère même le plan originel comme un être vivant que l’artiste « féconde » et dont il sent la « respiration ».

Chaque partie du plan originel possède une coloration affective qui lui est propre et qui va influer sur la tonalité des éléments picturaux qui seront dessinés dessus, ce qui contribue à la richesse de la composition qui résulte de leur juxtaposition sur la toile. Le haut du plan originel correspond à la souplesse et à la légèreté, tandis que le bas évoque plutôt la densité et la pesanteur. Il appartient au peintre d’apprendre à connaître ces effets afin de produire des peintures qui ne soit pas l’effet du hasard, mais le fruit d’un travail authentique et le résultat d’un effort vers la beauté intérieure.

Ce livre comporte une multitude d’exemples photographiques et de dessins issus d’œuvres de Kandinsky qui offrent la démonstration de ses observations théoriques, et qui permettent au lecteur d’en reproduire en lui l’évidence intérieure pour peu qu’il prenne le temps de regarder avec attention chacune de ces images, qu’il les laisse agir sur sa propre sensibilité et qu’il laisse vibrer les cordes sensibles de son âme et de son esprit. Kandinsky met néanmoins son lecteur en garde contre une contemplation trop longue, qui conduirait l'imagination à prendre le dessus sur l'expérience intérieure immédiate :

« Pour ce genre d'expérience, il vaut mieux se fier à la première impression, car la sensibilité se lasse vite et cède le champ à l'imagination. »

 Livres de Vassily Kandinsky
Voir aussi sur Wikiquote les citations «  Vassily Kandinsky ».
 Wikimedia Commons propose des documents multimédia libres sur Vassily Kandinsky.
Vassily Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art et dans la peinture en particulier, éd. Denoël, collection "Folio Essais", 1989
Vassily Kandinsky et Franz Marc (éd.), L’almanach du "Blaue Reiter" : Le Cavalier bleu, éd. Klincksieck, 1987
Vassily Kandinsky, Regards sur le passé et autres textes 1912-1922, éd. Hermann, 1974
Vassily Kandinsky, Point Ligne Plan, éd. Gallimard, collection "Folio Essais", 1991
Vassily Kandinsky, Point Ligne Surface. Contribution à l'analyse des éléments picturaux, traduit de l'allemand par Christine Boumeester, Paris, Éditions de Beaune, Les nouveaux manifestes n°4, in-8 broché, 126 pp + 26 planches d'illustrations hors-texte, 1963.
Vassily Kandinsky, Écrits complets (tome I) : La synthèse des arts, éd. Denoël-Gonthier, 1975
Vassily Kandinsky, Écrits complets (tome II) : Point ligne plan - La grammaire de la création - L'avenir de la peinture., éd. Denoël-Gonthier, 1970
Vassily Kandinsky, Interférences, traduit en français par Armel Guerne, Delpire, 1959

 Ouvrages sur Kandinsky

 Ouvrages philosophiques
Michel Henry, Voir l’invisible. Sur Kandinsky, Bourin-Julliard, 1988, PUF, collection "Quadridge", 2005
Philippe Sers, Kandinsky. Philosophie de l'art abstrait: peinture, poésie, scénographie., éd. Skira, 2003
Alexandre Kojève, Les peintures concrètes de Kandinsky, La lettre volée, 2002.

 Témoignages et correspondances
Nina Kandinsky, Kandinsky et moi, éd. Flammarion, 1978
Schoenberg - Busoni, Schoenberg - Kandinsky, correspondances, textes, Éditions Contrechamps, Genève, 1995

 Reproductions de ses oeuvres
Jéléna Hahl-Fontaine, Kandinsky, Marc Vokar éditeur, 1993
François le Targat, Kandinsky, éd. Albin Michel, collection "Les grands maîtres de l’art contemporain", 1986
Hajo Duechting, Kandinsky, éd. Taschen, 1990
Pierre Volboudt, Kandinsky, éd. F. Hazan, 1984
V. E. Barnett et A. Zweit, Kandinsky. Dessins et aquarelles, éd. Flammarion, 1992
A. et L. Vezin, Kandinsky et
cavalier bleu, éd. Terrail, 1991

 Catalogues d'expositions

Kandinsky. Rétrospective, Fondation Maeght, 2001
Kandinsky. Œuvres de Vassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), Centre Georges Pompidou, 1984

 Ouvrages d'histoire de l'art
Marcel Brion, Kandinsky, éd. Somogy, 1960

 Notes et références
↑ Le découpage en périodes proposé dans cette section est repris du livre de Hajo Düchting, Vassili Kandinsky, éd. Taschen, 1990. Le titre donné à chacune des périodes artistiques de Kandinsky a cependant été modifié et simplifié.
↑ Kandinsky, Regards sur le passé, éd. Hermann, 1974, pp. 87 et 114
↑ Kandinsky, Regards sur le passé, éd. Hermann, 1974, p. 98
↑ Hajo Düchting, Vassili Kandinsky, éd. Taschen, 1990, p. 10
↑ Kandinsky, Regards sur le passé, éd. Hermann, 1974, p. 101
↑ Kandinsky, Regards sur le passé, éd. Hermann, 1974, pp. 107-108
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l’art, éd. Denoël, 1989, p. 112
↑ Kandinsky, Regards sur le passé, éd. Hermann, 1974, pp. 96-97
↑ Hajo Düchting, Vassili Kandinsky, éd. Taschen, 1990, p. 13
↑ Hajo Düchting, Vassili Kandinsky, éd. Taschen, 1990, reproduction p. 9
↑ Hajo Düchting, Vassili Kandinsky, éd. Taschen, 1990, reproduction p. 6
↑ François le Targat, Kandinsky, éd. Albin Michel, 1986, reproduction n° 11
↑ François le Targat, Kandinsky, éd. Albin Michel, 1986, reproduction n° 8
↑ François le Targat, Kandinsky, éd. Albin Michel, 1986, reproduction n° 18
↑ Hajo Düchting, Vassili Kandinsky, éd. Taschen, 1990, pp. 37-56
↑ Kandinsky, Regards sur le passé, éd. Hermann, 1974, p. 105
↑ Hajo Düchting, Vassili Kandinsky, éd. Taschen, 1990, pp. 57-63
↑ Hajo Düchting, Vassili Kandinsky, éd. Taschen, 1990, pp. 64-77
↑ Hajo Düchting, Vassili Kandinsky, éd. Taschen, 1990, reproduction p. 75
↑ François le Targat, Kandinsky, éd. Albin Michel, 1986, reproduction n° 87
↑ Hajo Düchting, Vassili Kandinsky, éd. Taschen, 1990, pp. 70 et 76
↑ Hajo Düchting, Vassili Kandinsky, éd. Taschen, 1990, pp. 78-91
↑ Hajo Düchting, Vassili Kandinsky, éd. Taschen, 1990, reproduction p. 82
↑ François le Targat, Kandinsky, éd. Albin Michel, 1986, reproduction n° 112
↑ Hajo Düchting, Vassili Kandinsky, éd. Taschen, 1990, reproduction p. 88
↑ François le Targat, Kandinsky, éd. Albin Michel, 1986, reproduction n° 117
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, pp. 61-75
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, pp. 105-107
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, pp. 112 et 118
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, p. 118
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, p. 199
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, p. 197
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, p. 142
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, pp. 142-143
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, p. 143
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, p. 148
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, pp. 149-150
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, pp. 150-154
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, p. 143
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, p. 155
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, p. 156
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, p. 157
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, p. 157
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, p. 160
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, p. 162
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, pp. 162-163
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, pp. 163-164
↑ Kandinsky, Point et ligne sur plan, éd. Gallimard, 1991, p. 143
↑ Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l'art, éd. Denoël, 1989, p. 45 : "Les idées que je développe ici sont le résultat d'observations et d'expériences intérieures" c'est-à-dire purement subjectives. Cela vaut également pour Point et ligne sur plan qui en est "le développement organique" (avant-propos de la première édition, éd. Gallimard, 1991, p. 9).
↑ Kandinsky, Point et ligne sur plan, éd. Gallimard, 1991, pp. 25-63
↑ Kandinsky, Point et ligne sur plan, éd. Gallimard, 1991, pp. 67-71
↑ Kandinsky, Point et ligne sur plan, éd. Gallimard, 1991, pp. 69-70
↑ Kandinsky, Point et ligne sur plan, éd. Gallimard, 1991, pp. 80-82
↑ Kandinsky, Point et ligne sur plan, éd. Gallimard, 1991, p. 89
↑ Kandinsky, Point et ligne sur plan, éd. Gallimard, 1991, pp. 143-145
↑ Kandinsky, Point et ligne sur plan, éd. Gallimard, 1991, pp. 145-146
↑ Kandinsky, Point et ligne sur plan, éd. Gallimard, 1991, p. 146-151
↑ Kandinsky, Point et ligne sur plan, éd. Gallimard, 1991, p. 170


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