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Galerie Alexis Pentcheff to present a selection of postimpressionist and modern works at BRAFA
Bernard Buffet (1928 - 1999), Le port de Beaulieu. Oil on canvas signed and dated 57 top left, 97 x 130 cm.

MARSEILLE.- For its tenth anniversary in January 2019, Galerie Alexis Pentcheff announced a very special exhibition. Genuine journey through the ages, from the mid-19th century to the post-war period, this ambitious project is just like the two founders of the gallery, Giulia and Alexis Pentcheff. Deeply rooted in the origins of modern art, this exhibition also draws important parallels between eras and regions.

Deployed in two stages, this anniversary aims to highlight the work of artists that the gallery has been supporting for the last ten years, but also to present one masterpiece for each leading modern and post-impressionist artist.

The first part of the exhibition will take place in Marseille, and will open the festivities with living works by the French contemporary artist Ben, produced especially for this show. The artistic selection carefully picked and dear to the heart of the two gallery owners will establish the basics of modern painting in the South of France, with the Provençal school starting from Emile Loubon. The second part will be subsequently presented at BRAFA, prestigious art fair taking place in Brussels. Just as a reflection of the region’s great influence on the avant-garde, the gallery will unveil important and ambitious works by modern art masters such as Pablo Picasso, Albert Marquet and Bernard Buffet, to name a few.

From January 11, a tribute exhibition to the painters of Provence will launch the first part of this anniversary. Guided by the southern light and the considerable influence of Emile Loubon (1809 - 1863), important works of art by some of the Provençal school’s finest painters including Raphael Ponson (1835 - 1904), Paul Guiguou (1834) - 1971), Jean-Baptiste Olive (1848 - 1936), or Joseph Garibaldi (1863 - 1941) will be displayed at the gallery in Marseille.

Emile Loubon is appointed Director of the School of Drawing in Marseille in 1845 and is today considered as the «father» of the Provencal school and the instigator of an unprecedented pictorial development in the region. His influences, drawn on multiple travels across Italy and Paris and friendships that Loubon built with some of the finest artists of his time, lead him to encourage his students to use innovative techniques, such as outdoor painting «on the spot».

Strongly committed to the national art scene, he also founds the Salon de la Société des Amis des Arts and invites Delacroix, Corot or Rousseau to join his classes and meet his students in Marseille. Hence, he creates a significant artistic emulation that is clearly beneficial to budding artists and builds the foundations of modernity in the south of France.

For the journalist and art critic Ferdinand Servian, this new way of teaching is a small revolution in the region: «And his flock of students, moving as such a flock of sheep, was going to graze not in the beaten track of a servum pecus, but among the unexplored ways, under the careful and debonair eye of that pastor of young souls who made his flock drink from the pure sources of the ideal and gave them as grazing, the vast fields of art.»

Some important figures, breaking with academicism and traditional painting, will be exhibited during the show and will point the region’s new influence on modern art from the beginning of the twentieth century.

Thus, René Seyssaud (1867 - 1952), Auguste Chabaud (1882 - 1955), Alfred Lombard (1884 - 1973), Pierre Girieud (1876 - 1948), Augustin Carrera (1878 - 1952) and Louis-Mathieu Verdilhan (1875 - 1928) ) will provoke the Provençal landscape with their radical research on color and aesthetics.

The subjects gradually move away from the domination of landscape painting and become the witnesses of a new life, sometimes influenced by Parisian lifestyles, as in the work of Auguste Chabaud, showing a striking modernity.

Marseille’s history and its colonial past led the city to become a place of exchange, most noticeably with Eastern countries. Hence, many painters throughout the twentieth century express a profound fascination for exotic landscapes. Therefore, a sensible space of this exhibition will be given to two painters whose work was considerably influenced by multiple journeys across Indochina, Joseph Inguimberty (1896 - 1971), professor at the School of Fine Arts in Hanoi for over twenty years and André Maire (1898 - 1984), insatiable traveler who made his classes with Emile Bernard.

Through this anniversary, the gallery wishes, for a few weeks, to return to its history, with its painters and its region. However, the resonance of these works goes beyond regional art as the contribution of some of these artists to landscape painting and avant-gardes remain considerable.

The second part of this anniversary will take place during BRAFA, with a very special booth, displaying modern masterpieces from post-Impressionism to Picasso and César. Nonetheless, this artistic selection will not be less influenced by the gallery’s history and its attachment to its region.

Strongly attached to its region, the gallery wishes to pay special tribute to the Mediterranean for its fifth participation in the fair with works by Henri Lebasque, Henri Manguin, Louis Valtat, Albert Marquet, Henri Martin, and Achille Laugé. Inspired by south of France’s bright light and lush landscapes, these delicate works are also intimate testimonies of the artistic influence of Provence in modern painting.

A mesmerizing painting by Louis Valtat will illustrate this desire. The painter appears as elusive, often producing on the canvas the synthesis between elements that would often be seen as antinomic. Through a curious and open mind, Valtat instinctively seizes elements. Thus, the artist reconciles an incredible power of execution with an assumed decorative aspect, which characterizes a large part of his work.

After Gustave Moreau’s teaching with Manguin, Matisse and Camoin to name a few, Albert Marquet returns to his native city, Marseille, between 1916 and 1918. There, he rents a studio quai Rive-Neuve, with a breathtaking view of the old port. From his window, he can spend hours observing a teeming life, organized around the basin. In the background of Marquet’s painting, the ferry bridge’s schematic perpendicular responds to the vertical masts of the boats. In his work, the painter captures an instantaneity that gives substance to the pictorial reality, and in a somewhat paradoxical way, to eventually confer a character of universality and permanence.

An exceptional painting by Bernard Buffet (1928 - 1999), Le Port de Beaulieu, will also be a key piece of this special selection. Seduced by southern landscapes and the bright light of the Mediterranean coast, many artists live and create in the south of France throughout the twentieth century. This painting, made in 1957, is part of an important period of Buffet’s work during which the artist lives in Château d’Arc near Aix-en-Provence and thus finds himself under the radiant influence of the local atmosphere between 1956 and 1961.

Henri Manguin is also a painter that the gallery has been supporting for several years with multiple projects and exhibitions. For this exhibition, the gallery is delighted to unveil a new ensemble of nine works by the Manguin, which transcribes his lifetime research on harmonisation but also the great sensuality emanating from his painting and displaying a genuine marital and familial happiness.

In Manguin’s work, the rigour of the construction influenced by Cézanne is often associated with the use of pure colours, as well as with a simplification of forms never going to deformation. These elements serve the artist’s composition but also emphasize his sensitive gaze to the world.

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