Jean Léon Fautrier, born in Paris, France, in 1898, moved to London with his mother in 1907. Five years later, he integrated the Royal Academy of Arts, which is a British institution whose purpose is to promote visual arts through exhibitions, education and debates. The artist came back at home country a few years later.Read More
During 1920s, Fautrier made Andrée Pierson his first model. He also travelled around Europe between 1920 and 1921. In 1924, his first personal exhibition at the Visconti gallery generated enthusiasm. He also exhibited his first paintings at the Fabre gallery the same year. His artistic style is then closed to Post-Expressionism from the German New Objectivity.
In 1929, the artist had no other choice than moving on to different jobs to face the crisis that did not spare the world of art. Simultaneously, he still kept practising sculpture with several nudes, portraits and heads. In 1937, Fautrier painted landscapes, glaciers, mountain lakes, and sunsets, influenced by the work of Turner.
During World War II, the artist took part in Parisian fairs and exhibited at the Alfred Poyet gallery, in June 1942. He would also begin to paint his series named 'Otages' (or 'Hostages'), inspired by the war.
In 1945, 'Otages' series, including a preface written by André Malraux, was revealed at the Drouin gallery. The theme was considered as highly topical so the exhibition was met with great success.
In 1950, Fautrier and his wife, Janine Aeply, developed a reproduction technique called 'multiple originals' that consisted in combining chalcography reproduction (engravings on copper plates) and painting. In the next few years, he also worked on the illustration of various handworks, with Alleluia from Georges Bataille being one of these. In 1951, the critic Michel Tapié associated Fautrier with artists such as Jean Dubuffet or Henri Michaux during an 'informal' exhibition named Signifiants de l'informel.
In 1955, he exhibited the painting series 'Objets' including several still lives at the Rive Droite gallery in Paris. Next year, he exhibited his series named 'Nus', including a preface written by Francis Ponge, at the same place.
Until he died, Fautrier painted canvases with more structure where stripes, coloured lines and multi-sided grids are superimposed. His inspiration came from previous artworks retaking patterns of old series.
In 1960, the artist was awarded the Grand Prize for painting at the 33rd Venice Biennale. One year later, he also received the Grand Prize at the 7th Tokyo Biennale.
Jean Fautrier died in July 1964 in Châtenay-Malabry, France.
Text courtesy Helene Bailly Gallery.