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Exceptional Exhibition of Post-War European Painting at Musee Rath in Geneva
Pierre Soulages, Peinture 130 x 162 cm, 21 juillet 1958, 1958. Huile sur toile, 130 x 162 cm © 2011, ProLitteris, Zurich. Photo : Sandra Pointet © Fondation Gandur pour l’Art, Genève.
GENEVA.- For the first time, the public is able to view the collection of Jean Claude Gandur dedicated to non-figurative Expressionist painting of the post-war period in Europe. The second largest collection in the world of its kind after that of the Centre Pompidou, it provides an overview of this important and often little-known period of art history. Éric de Chassey, curator of the exhibition and director of the French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici, has selected around one hundred works of primal importance organised in ten sections, of which three are dedicated to some of the movement’s greatest names: Pierre Soulages, Georges Mathieu, Hans Hartung, and Swiss artist Gérard Schneider.

Subjects of Abstraction chronicles the history of non-figurative Expressionist painting in Europe from the mid-1940s until the early 1960s. This is a highly dynamic but still little-known movement due to nearly half a century of prejudices centred on hostile confrontations with contemporary American art. Thanks to these hundred and one masterpieces from the fine arts collection of the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art, exhibition curator Éric de Chassey intends to “ensure a transformation of opinion, a reversal of biases and the possible establishment of new hierarchies (...) that will rehabilitate artists that until now have been badly or little considered by their epoch or posterity.” The exhibition is divided into ten sections: seven thematic and chronological ones and three monographic sections dedicated to Soulages, Mathieu, Hartung, and the latter’s Swiss friend Schneider.

A large programme of events has been conceived around the exhibition so as to provide new and original perspectives on this period. The high points of these rendezvous will be the encounters of Jean Claude Gandur with the public on the subject of his collection on 21 and 22 June.

Subjects of Abstraction will then travel to France. It will be shown first at the Musée Fabre de Montpellier Agglomération (2 December 2011 – 18 March 2012). Other institutions have also shown their interest in hosting the exhibit.

To give an idea of the works on display, one of the paintings by Pierre Soulages is commented upon in a video in the series “Complément d’objet”. Made with the support of the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of Geneva, the video is available from 5 May on the website of the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire at

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