Mathieu, “founding father honored”


On the occasion of the exhibition held in the two Applicat-Prazan galleries (right bank and left bank of Paris), Pariscope features this week an article in which Alexandre Grenier honors Mathieu for his role as a “founding father”.

Can you fathom today the star Georges Mathieu (1921-2012) was back in the 1950s and 1960s? (…) Mathieu was THE French artist of his generation. (…)

Franck Prazan (…) rightfully argues that as time passes, Mathieu’s work has to be seen as measured by the other devotees of that lyrical abstraction movement he himself founded — that is in opposition to geometric abstraction. So there is nothing astonishing about the fact that today artists like Hartung, Schneider, Riopelle, Soulages and Degottex, who are all at home in this gallery, witness their founding father honored in this way. Because Mathieu was at the origin of this “language” which so totally reformed art in the period following the war: he pushed the creative act to its pinnacle in a surge and an ardor set in motion only by that rapidity of execution allied in his work with the true concern of the calligrapher (as opposed to artists like Hartung or Degottex, who were characterized by more cautious technique).

“Mathieu identified painting with action, and in his work performance is consubstantial to the act of painting”, concludes Franck Prazan, who assembled a magnificent collection from the early works of this major painter, an artist who clearly merits new consideration.

Photograph: Massacre de Louys de Bourbon, Evêque de Liège (Massacre of Louys de Bourbon, Bishop of Liège, 1957)