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The gallery A&R Fleury is pleased to share with you a set of post-war and contemporary works.Through ten artists, the project allows for the exploration of the numerous artistic languages developed throughout the second half of the 20th century, from abstract and figurative forms to more conceptual means of expression.

In the 1950s, abstraction developed through a greater gesturality. Over the following decades, artists incessantly explored painting and its extensive expressivity.

In the United States, in the wake of Abstract Expressionism, Sam Francis used techniques derived from action painting to address the questions of space and depth.

In Europe, Hans Hartung was the pioneering figure of a Lyrical Abstraction tinged with spirituality, which he reinvented in the last years of his life through his paint projection technique, reflecting the great energy and spirit of innovation that would accompany him until his death in 1989. Olivier Debré’s soft, fluid painting is more descriptive. Landscape-like, it represents another face of abstraction, one that remains in touch with a simplified reality.

With works by Antoni Tàpies, Lucio Fontana and, later, Bernar Venet, the exhibition revisits the extraordinary vitality of post-war art through the materialist, spatial or conceptual directions taken by artists.

With a practice similar to no other in art history, Tàpies revealed all the possibilities offered by the use of matter and the addition of poor materials to the painting, whose often spiritual or political reading is guided by symbols and letters inscribed on the work’s surface.

With Fontana, art became spatial. By piercing his works with his buchis and taglis, the artist metamorphosed the canvas into a three-dimensional surface. Guided by the desire to integrate the notions of space and time into his work, he revolutionised the way of looking at canvases, beyond mere painting.

Meanwhile, Bernar Venet became the French figure of conceptual art in the 1980s. He embarked on a study of line and its variations, generated into drawing and sculpture, incorporating mathematical notions in his works and exploring the order/chaos dichotomy with his arcs and indeterminate lines.

César, Homme de Draguignan, 1964-68

The second part of the gallery displays post-war figurative works. Subject to various influences, they sometimes found their source in the abstract practices of their creators.

Both Le Corbusier and Joan Miró produced figurative pieces inherited from the Modern tradition: it runs throughout the work of the former, father of Purism, whose surrealist influences can be seen in many respects – not least in the themes of his graphic works. In the same way, the second’s onirism was initially rooted in Surrealism, and evolved from there.

American artist Alexander Calder, creator of the well-known mobiles, was familiar with the Parisian avant-garde, from which he drew inspiration for the shapes of his works. Affiliated with abstraction, his painted works and sculptures also sometimes echo his interest to the circus and its characters.

Finally, César, akin to the New Realism movement, is at the origin of the famous compressions begun in the 1960s. Before that, he experimented with scrap metal, welding wire and metal plates to create animals or hybrid beings, between abstract and figurative forms.


Hans Hartung

T1988-E27, 1988
Acrylic on canvas
154 x 195 cm | 60 5/8 x 76 3/4 in.

Bernar Venet, 226,5° Arc x 4


Sam Francis, Untitled SF75-601



Homme de Draguignan, 1964-68
Gilded bronze
65,5 x 101 x 22,5 cm

Joan Miró, Personnage, oiseau

XI 1977

Alexander Calder, Circus


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