André Marfaing — Les Noirs de Marfaing



André Marfaing
Les Noirs de Marfaing

Past: September 21 → October 28, 2017

André Marfaing was born in Toulouse on December 11, 1925.

In 1949, he left Toulouse. In 1951 he befriended Alfred Manessier, and in 1952 he became friends with Pierre Soulages. With Soulages he shared his French Southwestern roots, a passion for Romanesque art, and a love of black. He definitively adopted black, a combination of all colors, and white, its absence.

«For me, black is the most natural means of expression,» he confided. This was his radical way of attaining an absolute, a world without reference to external nature, «to reinvent painting, knock down one’s own borders,» said the artist.

Marfaing’s first solo exhibition was held in 1958 at Galerie Claude Bernard. The following year, he was invited to participate in Documenta in Kassel, Germany, and the first Paris Biennale at the Musée d’Art Modern. He won awards alongside Martin Barre, Hundertwasser, Yves Klein, and Joan Mitchell. Already Marfaing was considered one of the most promising artists. In 1962, he took part in the Venice Biennale and joined the Ariel Gallery, directed by Jean Pollak. In 1967 he also joined the Birch Gallery in Copenhagen, Denmark.

In the 1960s, when Marfaing was in his prime, he expressed himself with vehemence and tumult. In Les lettres Françaises, Georges Boudaille described Marfaing’s work thus: «Its drama, a storm. It’s the struggle between shadow and light…»

Marfaing indeed spoke of painting as «an adventure that allows mankind to emerge from chaos.» Especially shadow, like a mystery whose contours he explored. Light, as an immanent revelation emerging from his painting.

In the 1970’s, the artist crossed a new threshold in his way of streamlining the paintings.

«I want to express one thing in its totally with as few words as possible.»

This tendency toward purification was amplified in the 1980s in his final works, which could be illustrated by Vladimir Nabokov’s phrase, «…Our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.»

André Marfaing died on March 30, 1987 at the age of 62.

  • André Marfaing Les Noirs de Marfaing Opening Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 6 PM
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14 et 29, rue de Seine

75006 Paris

T. 01 43 26 53 09

Louvre – Rivoli
Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre
Pont Neuf

Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 1 PM / 2:30 PM – 7 PM

Venue schedule

The artist