Georges Mathieu | the artist
The artist Georges Mathieu
Born Jan 271921, Boulogne sur Mer, France.
Died June 10 2012, Paris, France.
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As an artist, Georges Mathieu is not in fashion not even in France. In spite of his last Paris retrospective in 2002 at the Jeu de Paume, this self-taught artist (born 1921), who to this day claims to be a royalist, is better known for his feats of media publicity (live painting performances for galleries, museums and television) and for selling out to the establishment. Among other things, we can thank him for the fresco at the Maison de la Radio (the building that houses Frances public service radio broadcaster), posters for Air France, the design on the face of the old ten franc coin and the logo for the television channel Antenne 2. This doesnt even include the countless stamps, medals and designs for treasury bond notes he inundated France with in the 1970s and 1980s. Influenced by the paintings of Wols, Atlan and Hartung, Mathieu took on the role of chief protagonist and instigator of Lyrical Abstraction, which as early as 1947 contrasted itself to the Geometric Abstraction movement…
Lyrical Abstraction is a French style of abstract painting current in the 1945 -1960. Very close to Art Informel, presents the European equivalent to Abstract Expressionism. The name Tachisme is sometimes used to describe the style. In 1947 the painter Georges Mathieu organized the exhibition "Abstraction lyrique" in Paris. The term that Mathieu chose for the exhibition, pointing clearly to the gap separating "cold" geometric abstraction from a "hot" organic and lyrical form of abstraction. Works by Wols, Hartung and Riopelle were exhibited..
A youthful, cavorting master of Lyrical Absractionism, Georges Mathieu, at age thirty, is also a brilliant theoretician whom no modern scientific, psychological, or linguistic notion escapes. Skipping over the Renaissance, he believes that painting today is undergoing its most radical revolution since the time of classical Greece in that, from now on, the sign will precede meaning–something never before seen in the history of art. Descriptive or allusive figuration is over, gone are the days of Automatic Writing so dear to the Surrealists and later adopted in the United States by Hans Hofmann and Jackson Pollock. We must start all over on different premises…