"When, on August 27th, 1957, Georges Mathieu took off for a three-week stay in Japan, his main intention was to compare his method of painting - which 10 years previously he had named Abstraction Lyrique - with the secular Far Eastern art of calligraphy. He was then aged 26.
In Tokyo, he produced, in public, 21 canvases in three days, including BATAILLE DE HAKATA, 2 x 8 meters (in the collection of Teshigahara Sôfu, a great master pf the art of ikebana (flower arrangement); sculptor and founder of the Sogetsu school of floral art) for an exhibition at Shirokya.
In Osaka, he painted six canvases in public, including HOMMAGE AU GENERAL HIDEYOSHI, 2 x 6 meters (former collection of Yoshihara Jirö, founder of the Gutai group), for an exhibition in the Daimaru department stores.
Georges Mathieu would declare that in Japan he had found: A sense of grandeur and ceremony among the humble, a rare distinction in their smallest gestures which revealed refinement of spirit.... And art naturally everywhere, down the plates, the way of washing, sleeping - art meaning the communion of beings through the most refined marks of sensibility.
Alongside his immense canvases, Mathieu created a small screnn with two panels for an enthusiast and collector of ukiyo-e (literally 'pictures of floating world') or Japanese prints;
Known as furosaki (literally 'instrument locker') this limited-size screen is usually used to conceal the tidied-away ustensils used in the traditional tea ceremony: tray, flat bamboo spoons, summer and winter bowls, stirrers to mix the ground tea, as well as the various teacloths used. It is worth nothing that Mathieu used red and mauve to decorate this furoski screen, in reference to the colours of the pieces of cloth measuring 27.5 centimetres across, folded by the Tea Master in front of the guests: mauve for men, red for women.
Following his Japanese experience, Georges Mathieu wrote in 1962: What is use of inventing a language, after 20 years of work, if it is not to introduce these new forms into life. And he would work in all areas - from architecture to greeting cards - to revisit everyday objects and give them a style.
Among his Oeuvres Annexes, only one other screen exits, painted with eight panels in 1968 for a French enthusiast (private collection), in a very uncluttered style, close to zen and slightly reminiscent of calligraphy ... from Japan!"
Nous remercions Monsieur Jean-Marie Cusinberche pour les informations qu'il nous a aimablement communiquées concernant cette oeuvre de Georges Mathieu.