Pierre SOULAGES (né en 1919)

Lot 177
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Estimation :
22000 - 25000 EUR
Result without fees
Result : 540 000EUR
Pierre SOULAGES (né en 1919)

Bronze, n°2, 1976
Bronze print with patina and gilding, signed, numbered 3/5
Blanchet fondeur, Paris.
66,5 x 88 cm
Bibliography :
- Pierre Encrevé, Soulages, l'oeuvre complet - II, 1959-1975, Seuil, 1995, a similar copy described and reproduced on page 274 (with dimensions : 66 x 88 cm).
Soulages and his approach to sculpture are well described in: Interview with Pierre Soulages, Annales littéraires de l'Université de Franche-Comté-2/1999: L'art, by Jean-Michel Le Lannou:
Jean-Michel Le Lannou: What is the place of bronzes in your work?
Pierre Soulages: These bronzes all three derive from engraving plates, copper plates cut by acid, as I used to do, but always corroded until they were cut and also engraved according to the imprint they were going to leave on paper, according to the inking too. They were perfectly flat, with, of course, hollows corresponding to the places where the ink was to be applied, hollows produced by the corrosion of the acid with the combination of chance and intentional things involved in the process. These flat copper plates used to print my prints had long been abandoned against a wall in the studio or on a shelf, and many people said to me: "
But they are sculptures! And always I would recriminate, "But no, not at all, it's not worked in that sense at all." And then one day, a very long time later, it was in the seventies, and I had been working on my engravings in this way since the fifties, I first had these plates enlarged in an absolutely mechanical and faithful way by someone whose job it is:
Aligon, who uses a kind of pantograph in three dimensions (it was his father or grandfather who created it and who enlarged many works including, among others, Rodin's "Balzac"). Once I had this object, which was just a flat plaster plate, I had it cast in bronze, hoping for some accident or transformation. When the castings came out of the mould, the heat had started to change the flatness. It was no longer so flat and it was blackish, absolutely matt, it had the appearance of bronze as it comes out of the foundry.
It was then that I set about, while polishing it, to regulate the movements of the light coming from the unevenness of the surface. I respected the organization of the hollows that I left dark, blackish. I only acted on the movement of the light on the smooth parts. The hollows coming from the engraved parts remained dark and fixed, without variations.
I only produced these three bronzes, I could have made others, but it is a rather long work, each piece being only an original proof. In sculpture, "an original" is in reality a small series limited to a few strictly similar pieces. Given the work I was doing there, each bronze was different from the other.
My intervention was such that one can say that each piece is unique. I had forgotten this adventure from 1975 to 1977. About two years later, what happened to me when I was painting came from that experience.
I don't know, because I was never aware of it. Maybe I thought afterwards that this new look at black surfaces, when I thought I was in the middle of a rout, came from the work with the bronzes. I was wading in the dark, I was despairing, I had to pursue a canvas, close to those already produced, but after hours of work, I felt that I was perhaps doing something else... And I went to sleep, and when I saw again an hour and a half later what I had done, I understood that I was doing another painting! That was the beginning of this period, which is still current and which occupies the majority of my paintings since 1979 until now, based on a light reflected by the surface states of black. But I am not at all sure that what one encounters with bronzes is the origin of this - their light has nothing of the emotion created by a light emanating from black, transformed by the black that reflects it.
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