Noon, 1954 signed and dated 'Mathieu 54' (lower left) oil on canvas 35 x 51 1/8in. (89 x 130cm)
PROVENANCE: Kootz Gallery, New York. Maxwell Galleries, San Francisco. Acquired from the above by the previous owners in May 1969. By descent from the above to the present owners.
Jean-Marie Cusinberche has kindly confirmed the authenticity of this work.
With gestural and spontaneous strokes akin to calligraphy, Georges Matthieu was a painter and an important collaborator with several artists in Paris in the 1950s, including Jean Dubuffet, Jean Fautrier and Wols (Alfred Otto Wolfgang Schulze). As American artists were waking up to possibilities of new frontiers promised through Abstract Expressionism, so too, were the abstractionists on the other side of the Atlantic suddenly energized after a difficult period of history following World War II. Working as a curator and an artist, Matthieu exhibited his first tache works in 1950. Showing that works could be made without the formal rigor of Cubism. The artists of Tachisme truly sought a less raw approach to abstract painting than others before them and by that same year Matthieu had contributed further to the Art Informel movement with a solo exhibition at the historic Galerie René Drouin. Michel Tapié in his book Un Art autre--published in 1952--put the school of Tachisme on the map for greater Europe and beyond.
Perhaps, Matthieu's greatest contribution today is the performance-based nature of his art. Beginning in 1946, the artist stood before an audience at the Thêatre du Sarah Bernhardt to paint a canvas that measured over 7 meters and requiring roughly 200 tubes of paint over the course of one hour. The event became a declaration as well as a catalyst for other painters in Europe as they sought to move beyond the notion of the object as the final product of visual art. In this way, Matthieu anticipated the rise of Yves Klein and his highly interactive Anthropométrie series which became a landmark moment in art history in 1960. At Galerie Internationale d'Art Contemporain located on rue Faubourg Saint Honore, Comte Maurice d'Arquian gave Klein his first gallery presentation of Anthropométrie of the Blue Epoch. Since Matthieu had exhibited there previously, it stands to reason that the former presentation may have led Klein and d'Arquian to a more restrained choice of a dramatic presentation only to be shared with gallery attendants and not an entire audience. In any case Matthieu was in attendance that evening on March 9, 1960 and shared discourse with Klein about myths and the role of the artist and author. (H. Weitemeier, Yves Klein, 2001).
Please note the title should read: Soumission de Guillaume III, duc d'Aquitaine.