Pierre ALECHINSKY |
View this artist's available pieces here.
Was born in Brussels in 1927. (Cobra group)
The winner of the first Andrew W. Mellon Prize for Painting (1977) and the French Grand Prix National for painting in 1984, Alechinsky has been recognized in recent years as one of the most significant living artists. (The art market has also noticed his stature: one of his paintings sold at auction several years ago for over $2,000,000.)
Alechinsky was just barely out of his teens when he burst onto the art scene as one of the original members of the COBRA group, and over the years he has emerged as one of the most imaginative and witty artists of our times. Alechinsky fans are everywhere. The admirers of this great artist are immediately fascinated by his gestural writing, elegant and sensitive. Beyond his symbols and his familiar monsters, they find in his drawings and prints pictures suggested to him by the very shape of his blots or by the old documents on which he is fond of working - letters, invoices, bonds, maps - giving a shape to the shapeless, a meaning to the meaningless.
Alechinsky is represented in the main museums of Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Danemark, Holland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Poland, U.S.A., Yugoslavia.
Born 1927 in Brussels, Belgium.
Alechinsky, both an artist and graphic designer studied at the Architecture Academy in Brussels. Although the youngest member of the Cobra group and participant in the 1949 exhibition, he had a decicive impact on Cobra. Among other things Alechinsky was active in the Cobra publications. The old building in Brussels he refurbished became the scene of many Cobra activities.
Japanese calligraphy became his great passion which inspired him and some Japanesse artists to make the film "Calligraphie Japonaise". When the group dissolved in 1951 he moved to Paris where he lives today. He has also travelled and painted in the USA.
As a student, Alechinsky was captivated and totally entranced by the art of bookmaking. During the mid-'40s he fulfilled this passion by studying typography, illustration and engraving at the School of Decorative Arts in Brussels. In 1948 he came to Paris for the first time to show his lithographs at the Galerie Maeght. Just a year later, he met the artist Christian Dotremont, and his artistic career was truly launched as an active member of the group Cobra.
In 1955, he traveled to Japan to study calligraphy and was even responsible for a film on the subject. After this trip, he began to work on large canvases spread directly onto the floor, painting with Japanese horsehair calligraphy brushes. Always true to the spirit of the Cobra movement, even today Alechinsky paints with his left hand. He has been known to speak of this hand as "the one that has known only liberty and pleasure."
Like a trademark, one immediately recognizes an Alechinsky work by its funky black and white graphics in cartoon-like borders that seem to restrain a violent explosion of color and form within the central canvas. Always fresh and agile, these graffiti-filled window frames pull one's attention inwards towards the eye of the storm. At times seemingly monumental stamps or objects leave imprints as a central theme, as in his superb series "Astre et DÈsastre" produced during the late '60s. In more recent works, Alechinsky's free-flowing serpentine lines continue to seduce and entice. Once a Cobra, always a Cobra.
John Russell, who in 1986-87 devoted three separate columns in The New York Times to Alechinsky, sees him as "a man of strange blameless passions. Decorated invoices, worthless stock certificates, obsolete air-force navigational charts and ancient hand-written archival materials spark his imagination. . . . He has a taste for nature’s upheavals." Carlos Fuentes, the Mexican novelist for whom "the garden is the center of the world," has described Alechinsky as a man who "paints gardens. . . . He knows that the history of gardens is the history of all of us. . . . Alechinsky . . . chooses any of the forked paths of the manicured gardens at Blois or Hampton Court and then transforms them, ferociously, into the savage gardens of the primitive mind, the original unity of dream and awareness, reason and imagination, desire and reality." Indeed, it may be that it is his dream of recovering that lost unity that makes him, as The Times called him, "a poet of entanglement, [who] resolutely turns the emphasis away from himself, preferring to act rather as historian and referee than as autobiographer. . . . His touch is light, his thought rapid, his view of the world as sharp as it is benign. There is no better companion, and not many who keep us so consistently amused and are so generous with their findings."
Alechinsky has had major retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art and The Guggenheim Museum in NY, The Museum of Arts, Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh (in 1977, the Year of the Snake), The Palais des Beaux-Arts and the Musées Royeaux des beaux Arts in Brussels, the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Vile de Paris and the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Boymans-von-Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Louisiana Museum in Humlebaek, and museums in Aalborg, Brême, Copenhagen, Darmstadt, Des Moines, Düsseldorf, Gordes, Hanover, Marseille, Metz, Mexico City, Munich, St. Paul de Vence, Toronto, and Zurich. ...
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