« J’ai mieux aimé les tableaux que la vie »

Jean Planque

Simon Hantaï

(1922 – 2008)

It was in the late 50s that Jean Planque, scouting around for young artists who might interest the Galerie Beyeler, discovered Simon Hantaï. “I remember that revelation: Hantaï. Paintings in a bookstore-gallery on Avenue Victor-Hugo, Fournier’s, now on Rue du Bac. Surrealist paintings. Very remarkable. A tangle and profusion of intertwining shapes, heads, figures. Abstractions too. Forms standing by themselves. Dazzling lines. I bought two paintings for myself. I still own one of them” (Jean Planque, Diary, September 1973). This Orange and Black Composition goes back to the period immediately preceding Hantaï’s first pliages. The artist’s hand still leaves perceptible traces of its activity on the canvas. While the brushwork has been freed from any attempt to explain or be legible, its connection with the body remains and testifies to a mastery – or passion – which mirrors a gestural dimension that was to vanish completely with the later pliage canvases

Orange and Black Composition, 1958

Oil on canvas

98 x 74.8 cm (38.6 x 29.4 in)

© 2017, ProLitteris, Zurich