Current Exhibition  10.06 – 31.12.2022

Presentations of works in Paris / Summer – Winter 2022

The new presentation of the modern permanent collections of the musée national d’art moderne at the Centre Pompidou has been recently redesigned. We now can admire two paintings by Zao Wou-Ki in Room 26 and Room 29.

Musée national d’art moderne - Salles 26 et 29 : Zao Wou-Ki et Frédéric Benrath. Droits réservés

Musée national d’art modern – Rooms 26 and 29 : Zao Wou-Ki and Frédéric Benrath. All rights reserved

Room 26 called “Movement and matter” remain unchanged and evidence the pictorial renewal in Paris after World War II. Some of the artists re-invent their painting by enhancing and developing the materiality of their works with color impasto, clusters and scratches. This is the case with Jean Dubuffet (Michel Tapié soleil, 1946), Jean Fautrier (L’Ecorché, 1944 and Femme douce, 1946), Wols (Il me regarde, 1940/1951 and Aile de papillon, 1947) or Christo (Cratère, 1960).

Others, such as Francis Bacon (Van Gogh in a landscape, 1957), remain faithful to a figuration full of freedom, strength and contrasts. Meanwhile Zao Wou-Ki explores a very personal route : the Chinese signs he had incorporated in his paintings have become colored movements, thus creating a vibrant abstraction, both rhythmical and nervous (18.10.59 – 15.02.60, 1959-1960 ; bought in 1960).

Several sculptures by Germaine Richier, who was close to these artists – more especially to Zao Wou-Ki with whom she collaborated on the realization of a painted sculpture – punctuate the room : the strength and materiality of L’Orage, 1947-1948 and also of Ouragane, 1948-1949 offer a perfect echo to the turmoil and sensitivity of the paintings of this innovative era.

Musée national d’art moderne - Salle 26 : Jean Fautrier, Germaine Richier, Francis Bacon et Zao Wou-Ki. Droits réservés

Musée national d’art moderne – Room 26 : Jean Fautrier, Germaine Richier, Francis Bacon and Zao Wou-Ki. All rights reserved.

Room 29 has been redesigned and now presents a group of paintings from the 1950’s –60’s period showing the various trends of non-geometrical abstraction. Zao Wou-Ki’s stormy 04.05.64 (oil on canvas, 1964, 200 x 260 cm, offered by the artist for his naturalization) is now close to his friend Pierre Soulages’ Peinture 260 x 202 cm – 19 juin 1963 (oil on canvas, offered by the artist in 1967) where great dark masses contrast with the background left untouched. Les Correspondances, painted by Frederic Benrath in 1956 (oil on canvas, 195 x 113 cm, donated in 2019), is one of his series of works entitled Les Zones d’insécurité : vibrations of the colors, strength of the brush strokes and of the scratches of the knife evidence a much less serene abstraction.

Musée national d’art moderne - Salle 29 : Zao Wou-Ki et Pierre Soulages. Droits réservés

Musée national d’art moderne – Room 29 : Zao Wou-Ki and Pierre Soulages. All rights reserved

This Room also presents works by Olivier Debré (Grande ocre tache jaune pâle, oil on canvas dated 1964, 194,5 x 197,5 cm, dation 2002), Jean Messagier (Accès à l’été, oil on canvas dated 1967, 200 x 300 cm, donation 2020) and Gérard Schneider (Opus 15C, oil on canvas dated 1956, 200 x 149,8 cm, purchased in 1982).

In October 2019, the musée d’art moderne de Paris (former MAMVP) unveiled for its re-opening a new presentation of its permanent collections entitled “La vie moderne” (Modern life). To highlight the richness of its collections, the museum regularly modifies the organization of this presentation.

Starting June 10th and up to February 25th 2023, a new version is presented. If we still can see the rooms dedicated to the 1920’s design and to the Delaunay collection, groups of works have been re-organized such as the one presenting the post war abstract painting which is now located in the Room Langlois-Meurine. 

Musée d’art moderne : salle Langlois-Meurine (Fontana, Bergman, Noël, Degottex, Zao, Reigl et César). Droits réservés

Musée d’art moderne : Room Langlois-Meurine (Fontana, Bergman, Noël, Degottex, Zao, Reigl and César). All rights reserved

Zao Wou-Ki’s large painting entitled 06.01.68 (260 x 200 cm, purchased by the museum in 1971)es majestically presented surrounded by works from several of his close friends such as Anna-Eva Bergman’s Stèle n°2 (Vinyl paint and sheet of metal on canvas dared 1964, purchased in 1965), Maria Helena Vieira da Silva’s Propositions contestées (oil on canvas, 1966, purchased from the artist in 1968), Hans Hartung’s T 1946-16 (oil on canvas, 1946, bequest from Dr Girardin in 1953) and Cesar’s Le Scorpion (welded iron dated 1955, purchased in 1956).

Musée d’art moderne : salle Langlois-Meurine (Degottex, Zao, Reigl, César, Dumitresco et Vieira da Silva). Droits réservés

Musée d’art moderne : Room Langlois-Meurine (Degottex, Zao, Reigl, Cesar, Dumitresco and Vieira da Silva). All rights reserved

There are also works from artists linked to abstract art of the second half of the 20th Century such as Lucio Fontana’s Concetto Spatiale, Attese (water and oil painting on canvas, 1959, donated by Ms Rasini-Fontana in 1969), Jean Degottex’s ETC IV, 30.3.1967 (Indian ink on canvas, 1967, purchased in 1999), Judith Reigl’s Guano (oil on canvas dated 1958-1963, offered by the artist in 2019) and Chu Teh-Chun’s Composition 228 (oil on canvas, 1966, purchased from the artist during the Salon des réalités nouvelles in 1967).

Musée d’art moderne : salle Langlois-Meurine (Hartung, Chu, Francès et César). Droits réservés

Musée d’art moderne : Room Langlois-Meurine (Hartung, Chu, Francès and César). All rights reserved.

The new presentation of the musée d’art moderne de Paris also highlights in monographic exhibitions groups of previously unseen works by artists who were among Zao Wou-Ki’s friends. This is how Pierrette Bloch’s (1928-2017) rare and demanding work is beautifully exhibited. It is a gathering of the graphic works and weavings that made her reputation. The Untitled dated 1976 is a large sheet of paper saturated with Indian ink (purchased in 1984). Far from being uniformly black, this work explores the richness of Indian ink in a saturated space. Black is also at the heart of the brilliant Maille n°8 dated 1974 (purchased in 1984). These 28 crocheted and stitched on felt elements create a raw symphony where light plays with the voids and various tones of black.

Musée d’art moderne - Salle Pierrette Bloch : Sans titre, 1976 et Maille n° 8, 1974. Droits réservés

Musée d’art moderne – Room Pierrette Bloch : Untitled, 1976 and Maille n° 8, 1974. All rights reserved.

The three long inks dated 1999 explore repetitive rhythms, games alternating solids and voids and some sort of obsession (Ligne 1, 2 and 3, offered by the artist in 2000). The obsession of a pointillist pattern in rhythmical waves is at the heart of the three vertical Indian inks on paper (Untitled, purchased from the Galerie Frank Elbaz in 1999).

Musée d’art moderne - Salle Pierrette Bloch : Sans titre, 1999. Droits réservés

Musée d’art moderne – Room Pierrette Bloch : Untitled, 1999. All rights reserved.

Thanks to the generous donation by Françoise Marquet-Zao of thirteen works, the musée d’art moderne de Paris is able to dedicate a room to one of Zao Wou-Ki’s closest friends, Jean-Michel Meurice (born in 1938). Both a painter and a director, he is an original and particularly endearing figure of the post war art scene.

It is as a director that he meets with Zao Wou-Ki in 1964, and later with his wife Françoise in the 1970’s. Both men discover many common affinities and remain faithful friends until Zao Wou-Ki’s death in 2013.

Musée d’art moderne : salle Jean-Michel Meurice – Donation Françoise Marquet-Zao, Vinyle Navajo I et II, 1969. Droits réservés

Musée d’art moderne : Room Jean-Michel Meurice – Donation by Françoise Marquet-Zao, Vinyle Navajo I and II, 1969. All rights reserved.

Françoise Marquet’s donation is the occasion to celebrate Jean-Michel Meurice and also his friendship with Zao Wou-Ki. The two vinyl paintings dated 1969 evidence the experimentations of a young artist who for some time was close to the Media/Surfaces movement, to distance himself from traditional painting and work with new materials and new media.

Musée d’art moderne : salle Jean-Michel Meurice – Donation Françoise Marquet-Zao, Fragment n° 9, 1974 ; Toile pliée en triangle, 1976 ; Carrés collés I, 1982 ; Rayures X, 1976. Droits réservés

Musée d’art moderne : Room Jean-Michel Meurice – Donation by Françoise Marquet-Zao, Fragment n° 9, 1974 ; Toile pliée en triangle, 1976 ; Carrés collés I, 1982 ; Rayures X, 1976. All rights reserved.

The acrylic paintings on canvas of the 1970’s are saturated with repetitive color stripes that create a strong structuration of the space while releasing a strong poetry and a subtle colored diversity. The large diptych entitled Portrait jumeau d’une belladone has been painted in 1977 on the roof terrace of Zao Wou-Ki’s studio in Ibiza.

Musée d’art moderne : salle Jean-Michel Meurice – Donation Françoise Marquet-Zao, Portrait jumeau d’une belladone, 1977 ; Lipo X, 1983 ; Ipomée 7, 2008. Droits réservés

Musée d’art moderne : Room Jean-Michel Meurice – Donation by Françoise Marquet-Zao, Portrait jumeau d’une belladone, 1977 ; Lipo X, 1983 ; Ipomée 7, 2008. All rights reserved.

Jean-Michel Meurice draws his inspiration from many sources, from American abstraction to Henri Matisse’s paper cutouts. His numerous trips as a grand reporter take him, among other countries, to Uzbekistan in the 1980’s. The vision of the rich patterns of the ceramics of the monuments in Bukhara leaves a lasting impression and reappears, transformed, in the paintings entitles Lipo X and Urgell 3.

Musée d’art moderne : salle Jean-Michel Meurice – Donation Françoise Marquet-Zao, Urgell 3, 2004. Droits réservés

Musée d’art moderne : Room Jean-Michel Meurice – Donation by Françoise Marquet-Zao, Urgell 3, 2004. All rights reserved.

The works from the 2000’s evidence an artist pursuing a perpetual renewal, going each time further in his experimentations including collages, stencil repetitive patterns creating a colored world full of movement with a great chromatic richness.

Musée d’art moderne : video of the presentation in Room Jean-Michel Meurice – Donation by Françoise Marquet-Zao. All rights reserved – YH