To be included in the forthcoming Jean Fautrier Catalogue Raisonné, being prepared by Marie-José Lefort, Galerie Jeanne Castel, Paris.
Végétaux exemplifies in its cloud-like formlessness the poetic and transcendental qualities that Fautrier sought to achieve during his last major period of creativity. Although the title of the picture refers to the specific subject of vegetables, the artist steers away from the literalism of his Objets series completed three years earlier, and opts instead for pure material abstraction. As such, Fautrier declared himself here to be the main pioneer and protagonist of the art informel movement.
Végétaux merely hints, by means of its earthy coloration and ploughed texture, to the objects proposed by its title. Instead Fautrier has created a painting for the imagination, where the viewer is taken on a mental journey of sensation, suggestion and association. The exquisite rendering of paste and powdered colour over a sea green ground creates a shifting image of hazy luminosity, where form is no longer descriptive or symbolic, but along with colour and brushstroke, becomes a language in itself. As Fautrier stated: "One does no more than reinvent what already exists, one restores, with hints of emotion the reality that is embodied in material, in form, in colour..." (in: Fautrier 1898-1964, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris 1989, p.13)
Fautrier presents a painting of tactile frontality, where suggestions of depth and horizon are discarded. This is nature in its most intangible essence, which on the one hand is defined by its extreme materialism, and yet at the same time is as elusive as a cloud of steam or a clod of earth that never holds to one form or connotation.