15 October 2006
François Dufrêne (1930-1982)
signed and dated 'f dufrêne 1960' (lower center)
paper décollage on board with nails
44¾ x 22¼in. (113.5 x 56.5cm.)
Executed in 1960
Jean-Pierre Raynaud, Paris.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1992.
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P. Restany, 'A Rare Collection in Israel', in: Cimaise, revue de l'art actuel, no. 246, April-May 1997 (illustrated, unpaged).
Paris, JGM Galerie, Années 60, L'Objet-Sculpture, May-June 1990 (illustrated in colour, pp. 42-43).
It was in 1954 that Francois Dufrêne met fellow 'affichistes' or 'poster artists' Jacques de la Villeglé and Raymond Hains. Following this meeting Dufrêne himself adopted their method of removing old, worn street posters from Paris' public walls and mounting them onto canvas and presenting them as art.
This practice was part of a wider movement that had pitched itself against the dominating presence of Lyrical Abstraction in Paris in the 1950s but Dufrêne, unlike de la Villeglé and Hains, used a method of décollage on the posters he retrieved from the streets of the city. His colleagues mounted their posters as they found them, but Dufrêne would unglue and tear at the layers to reveal the material buried below. This furious stripping away at layers of historical, social text echoed in a way the frenzied existential search of the Nouveaux Réalistes for reality in art.
Because of his unique technique it is impossible to know which parts of this composition are by Dufrêne's own hand, but the lone white space in the centre of the work, standing upon a pedestal and reading 'Aperitif', appears too coincidental not to be part of Dufrêne's design. Like most Nouveau Réalists, who also at one time went by the name of Neo-dadaists, Dufrêne encouraged chance to play a major part in his work as a way of undermining the regularity and repetition of an everyday metropolitan life formed and distinguished by the habits of a consuming, preoccupied and fidgeting public.
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