Leading figure of abstract art, Pierre Soulages is the most renowned French contemporary artist in the world. With exhibits in some 90 museums, he has created more than 1,500 works of art and held countless exhibitions around the globe.
It is to Rodez, his birthplace, that he, along with his wife Colette, has made two donations comprising nearly 500 paintings representing all of his work, from post-war oil paintings to his phase of work called Outrenoir. The colour black defines Soulages’ world but the Rodez museum will prove that his world is not just confined to black..
1/5 - Works from Pierre Soulages' youth, representative of the "early years" 1934-1938 period. 21 oil paintings selection of works from the 1940's to the 1970's, reflecting partial use, and then his complete use of black. The paintings from 1946 to 1950 are the first works showcased by Pierre Soulage himself in French exhibitions, Europe and the United States.
2/5 - 100 paintings on paper produced from 1946. This period truly marks the beginning of his abstract paintings and the new domination of black, including the invaluable "brous de noix" (walnut stain), where reigns the memory of the carved standing stones now in the Rodez Museum Fenaille. Rarely represented in public collections, the works of 1946-1948 rang amongthe artist's major art pieces, in the same way that the Outrenoirs did as from 1979. The paper paintings make up a unique ensemble, incorporating the clean linear gouaches from the 70's.
3/5 - In november 2012, the Soulages couple made a second donation. This includes 14 canvases : some carried out between 1946 and 1948, major works from 1964 and 1967, and an invaluable Outrenoir from 1986.
In 2019 : a third donation.
4/5 - All the prints which represent 49 etchings, 41 lithographs and 26 serigraphs. The coppers and matrices were added to the donation to help reveal the secrets of the genesis of these works. Three bronzes from 1975-1977, steles created from copper plates, a matrix of the engravings. Two paintings incrusted in glass from 1979, a cross between a painting and a sculpture.
5/5 - All of his stained glass windows preparatory work from Conques Abbey Church dating from 1987 until 1994. The full-size cardboard artworks on melanine panels used as a model, notes and drawings testifying both the artistic and technical research involved in the developpment of the specific type of glass used. An important collection of documents gathered by Pierre Soulages books, catalogues, films, archives and letters.