Pierre Alechinsky (b. 1927)
Pierre Alechinsky (b. 1927)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more COBRA 70 YEARS: CREATION BEFORE THEORY PROPERTY OF AN IMPORTANT COLLECTOR
Pierre Alechinsky (b. 1927)

Soutien de famille (Provider)

Pierre Alechinsky (b. 1927)
Soutien de famille (Provider)
signed 'Alechinsky' (lower centre)
oil on canvas
200 x 190cm.
Painted in 1960
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 1961.
J. Putman, Alechinsky, Milan 1967, no. 35 (illustrated, unpaged).
Eindhoven, Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Alechinsky, 1963, no. 2 (illustrated in colour, unpaged).
Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Pierre Alechinsky, 1969. This exhibition later travelled to Humbebaek, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and Düsseldorf, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen.
Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Belgique Pays-Bas: Convergences et paralleles dans l'art depuis 1945, 1980, no. 4. This exhibition later travelled to Rotterdam, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen.
Lisbon, Fundac¸a~o Calouste Gulbenkian, Arte Belga depois de 1945, 1980.
Paris, Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Alechinsky, 1998. This exhibition later travelled to Hovikodden, Henie-Ostad Kunstsenter.
Monterrey, Museo de Arte Contemporâneo, Alechinsky, 1999. This exhibition later travelled to Mexico City, Museo José Luis Cuevas.
Valencia, IVAM Centre Julio Gonzalez, Alechinsky, 2000.
Ostend, PMMK Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Pierre Alechinsky Retrospective, 2000.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
Post lot text
Pierre Alechinsky has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

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Elvira Jansen
Elvira Jansen

Lot Essay

'Would I start? Would I start with small lines, small crosses, small dots, with something big going from here to there, with a large patch that would watch me acting, with an idea? Would I start by caressing the canvas that I dreamed of finishing? No, I start’
- Pierre Alechinsky

‘Alechinsky reveals a perfect mastery … Alechinsky says he is looking for a new figuration. And indeed, he has already arrived ... he moves from the abstract to the concrete; from what could be ornamental to what could be figurative. The art of Alechinsky is that of broken interlacing ... In which it is well of our time by its refusal to be defined, by the crumbling, the vaporising, the thirst for destruction which accompanies all living work today, as the shadow makes the body. And to this new thrill he has given a new harmony’
- Jean Grenier

A rare early masterpiece painted in 1960, the same year that the artist represented Belgium at the 30th Venice Biennale, Soutien de famille (Provider) is a superb icon of Pierre Alechinsky’s vibrant improvisatory style. Churning across the vast canvas, which stretches two metres in height, is a vivid array of abstracted biomorphic form: faces and bodies, human and animal, monstrous and playful, erupt in energetic blue, white, green and turquoise against a background awash with pale blue. Flashes of yellow and orange ignite the composition. Birdlike and feline profiles can be glimpsed to the left, while a schematic head gleefully breathes flame to the lower right. Cartoonish eyes and grins jostle amid curtains of dripped colour. The whole assembly explodes upwards like a tree of life, coalescing into what might be the standing form of a winged, many-headed god. It was only during the later 1950s that Alechinsky fully developed his own painterly idiom, having largely sidelined his own work during his leadership of CoBrA, the avant-garde movement he founded and organised between 1948 and 1951. To this day he channels myriad influences into his works, which are never pre-planned but take shape at the moment of painting. In Soutien de famille we can see the teeming menageries of his favourites Bosch and Bruegel, and the intricate, fantastical illuminations of medieval manuscript. Alechinsky’s visceral brushwork has echoes of De Kooning’s monumental Women, and his joyful grotesquery recalls the crowd scenes of James Ensor. Perhaps his most central inspiration, however, was the art of Japanese calligraphy, which had fascinated him since he moved to Paris in 1951, and on which subject he made the acclaimed film Calligraphie japonaise during a visit to Japan in 1955. In 1965 came the discovery of acrylic paint, which he would apply from above to paper on the floor in the manner of a calligraphist. Yet even in the rare, large-scale oil on canvas of Soutien de famille, his liquid medium provides the perfect vehicle for a direct and organic flow of image and line. For all its wild painterly exuberance and complex polyphony of different elements, the composition is held together with the balance and logic of a scriptural character. The act of painting is what is important. Like a jazz solo whose integral form is discovered only in being played, Alechinsky’s forms are only revealed in their creation. Conjuring a mythic, totemic chorus of effervescent shape and colour, in Soutien de famille Alechinsky triumphantly consolidates his unique approach to paint.


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