Opera Gallery Hong Kong is pleased to present French Maze, a selection of French Masters, from the post war to contemporary time. The exhibition comprises a series of twenty-seven artworks from ten artists made between 1949 and 2017, shown together for the first time. Deeply rooted in the pages of Art History, French art has greatly influenced the European and world art scenes. Both figurative and abstract, these compositions form a collection of highly personal memories and ideas, interweaving the artists’s reflections and their artistic paths. Exploring different styles and mediums in the French art scene, French Maze will showcase works by Marc Chagall, Bernard Buffet, Jean Dubuffet and Georges Mathieu to the contemporary Andre Brasilier, Pierre Soulages, Chu Teh-Chun, Robert Combas, and Andre Lanskoy.
Opening hours from 10 am to 7 pm
52 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong
Jean Dubuffet (Le Havre, France 1901-1985) is considered the founding father of Art Brut. Dubuffet’s oeuvre includes paintings, collages, sculptures and monuments. Retrospectives of his works have been held at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, the Tate Gallery in London, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. During the last ten years of his life, Dubuffet made a series of works with colored pencil and felt-tip pen on paper. In the artist’s own words, these works were ‘excursions of the mind into no man’s land.’
Marc Chagall (Vitebsk 1887-1985). Rubbing shoulders with Fauvism, Cubism and Surrealism, Chagall’s dreamlike hues and whimsical subjects distinguished his work from the Cubist artists of the time. His works can also be found adorning landmarks such as the Opéra de Paris and the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. The Musée National Marc Chagall in Nice was inaugurated in 1973 and retrospectives of his work have been held in major museums worldwide including the Musée du Luxembourg, the Jewish Museum of New York, the Tate Modern in London, the MoMA in New York and the Grand Palais in Paris. His works are found in the most important public and private collections in the world.
André Brasilier’s (1929, Saumur, France) paintings reflect the influence of Expressionist artists alongside the strength and serenity of Japanese print-making made primarily in oil paint on canvas. His stylised compositions feature a range of themes and motifs, notably horses, as he said ‘horse, I really like this animal, as much for its beauty, for the harmony that it has with nature. In nature, the horse gives a sense of scale.’ His wife was his life long muse is portrayed in many of his paintings where he captures an intimate, deep and enchanted communion with love. His works have been exhibited in important institutions such as the Château de Chenonceau, the Musée Picasso-Château Grimaldi in Antibes, Russia’s renowned State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg in 2005 and at the Museum Haus Ludwig für Kunstausstellungen Saarlois in Germany in 2007.
Pierre Soulages (b. 1919, Aveyron, France,) was influenced by prehistoric and Roman art. Pierre Soulages is one of the pioneers of post-war Abstract painting and is considered one of the most innovative painters of the 20th century. As of 1979, Soulages devoted himself to what he called ‘outrenoir’ (ultra-black) paintings. “I work with the light reflected off a black surface. Light is made more dynamic by the strokes.”
Georges Mathieu (b.1921 Boulogne-sur-Mer -2012). Mathieu is considered the leader of the post-war artistic movement Abstraction Lyrique. Mathieu vehemently developed his theories in favour of fostering a powerful artistic presence in public institutions, a part of his legacy, alongside his contributions to painting, tapestry, advertising and architecture. Mathieu’s works were exhibited internationally since the 1950s in galleries and institutions, with retrospectives held at Grand Palais and Jeu de Paume in Paris.
Andreï Mikhaïlovitch Lanskoy (Moscow 1902-1976) He arrived in Paris in 1921 and decided to devote his life exclusively to painting. He spent several years involved in the Abstraction movement of the 1940s and was considered a leading figure of the School of Paris. Rejecting the austerity of Geometric Abstraction, Lanskoy opted for a style characterised by lyricism, gestural spontaneity and immediacy. Lanskoy exhibited regularly in Paris since the beginning of his career.
Chu Teh-Chun (b.1920 Anhui, China- Paris 2014). After he moved to Paris in 1955, he turned towards abstraction and quickly became one of the masters of action painting. The works of Chu Teh-Chun are expressive, evoking spontaneous strokes that mirror the artist’s mental landscapes and are nourished by both Eastern and Western influences. His work has been exhibited in the André Malraux Museum in Le Havre (1982), the Taiwan Museum (1991) and the Hong Kong Museum (1997). The city of Cannes has organized a triple exhibition tribute in 2004, the Year of China in France, at the Marlborough Gallery in New York (2006), the Pinacothèque of Paris (2013) and at the Fondation Monticelli in Marseille (2014).
Robert Combas (b. 1957,Sète). He lives and works in Paris. He is one of the founding members of the Figuration Libre movement that started in the 1980s. References from popular culture are numerous in his works. Robert Combas wields images to ‘provoke, that is, to trigger a reaction in the spectator’. Robert Combas has exhibited prolifically throughout his career in galleries and museums, not only in his native France but also all over Europe and extensively in Asia.
Bernard Buffet (Paris 1928-1999). He was a well-known Expressionist painter and member of the anti-abstract art group ‘L’Homme Témoin’ (The Witness Man). He was a young man during World War II, the profundity of which greatly affected his childhood and stayed with him throughout his life. His restricted palette, the melancholic nature of his protagonists and his unique sketched style with its black, angular strokes, are the visible characteristics which embody the dark and light of the human condition. In 1973, the Bernard Buffet Museum was inaugurated in Japan. Ever since, the artist’s work has been featured in the most prestigious modern art collections around the world including the MoMA, New York, the Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris and the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.