With this major retrospective, the Centre Pompidou
celebrates the work of Pierre Soulages, indisputably the greatest living French painter. Soon to be ninety, Soulages, the painter of black and light, is recognized as one of the major abstract artists of the post-War period.
The Centre Pompidou staged its first major exhibition of Soulagess work in 1979, which followed another held at the Musée National dArt Moderne in 1967, before the Centre opened. Looking back over more than 60 years of activity, this autumns exhibition will offer a new reading of the artists work, with an emphasis on recent developments in his painting. It will bring together more than a hundred major pieces produced between 1946 and the present, from the tremendous walnut-stain works of 1947-1949 to the paintings of the recent years many of the latter here exhibited for the first time testimony to the dynamism and diversity of a body of work characterized by ceaseless development.
The opening section of the exhibition will focus on the first, foundational period of Soulagess work, with a substantial group of works on paper and tar on glass works, followed by a representative selection of paintings from 1950 to 1970, the best-known period of the artists career.
In 1979, Pierre Soulages, who had already been painting for three decades, embarked on a new phase with works he called Outrenoir [Ultra-Black], based on the light reflected from a surface entirely covered in black. Using only the latter and working on the relation between black and light, Soulages constructed a pictorial space that despite his reliance on one single color stands opposed to the monochrome in the development of modern art. The exhibition will thoroughly explore this other painting in all its diversity.
In the concluding section, the recent large multi-paneled paintings will be displayed hanging freely within the exhibition space.