Georges Mathieu 喬治・馬修 Chabris 沙布里
December 14, 06:28 AM GMT
260,000 - 450,000 HKD
oil on canvas
signed Mathieu (lower right); titled Chabris and dated 1969 on the reverse
executed in 1969
50.4 by 73.3 cm; 19 ⅞ by 28 ⅞ in.
Dominion Gallery label affixed to the stretcher on the reverse
A certificate of authenticity has been requested to the Comité Georges Mathieu, Paris
50.4 x 73.3 cm; 19 ⅞ x 28 ⅞ in.
Dominion Gallery, Montreal
Private American Collection (acquired direcly from the above and sold: Heritage Auctions, California, 23 May 2019, Lot 77037)
Private Asian Collection (acquired directly from the above sale)
In the 1950s, Georges Mathieu made a splash in the Paris art world with Lyrical Abstraction, a style of painting that would quickly come to have international influence. He inspired Gutai in Japan and brought American Abstract Expressionism to Paris. During this time, Mathieu formed close friendships with a group of Chinese artists living in France and learned about Eastern calligraphy. As a result, his early work often emphasized abstract compositions comprised of calligraphic lines. Beginning in the 1960s, Georges Mathieu’s style moved toward Tubism, which involved linear marks made by squeezing pigments directly from the tube. He cast off the restrictions of form through symbolic abstraction. By the 1960s, Mathieu was well-known in the European and American art worlds, and he expanded into other media, accepting commissions to design a 10-franc coin for the Monnaie de Paris and posters for Air France.
Although Georges Mathieu’s compositions are abstract, his paintings are often related to specific historical events, people, or places. Tuz Gölü, which set a new auction record of HK$18.3 million for the artist in autumn 2021, is named for Lake Tuz, inspiring viewers to envision the natural wonder that is Turkey’s second-largest saltwater lake. Chabris (Lot 6205), painted in 1969, is named for a town in the department of Indre, located in the Loire Valley in central France. Mathieu’s work from the 1960s often includes abstract structures with a modern architectural aesthetic. Chabris contains sprightly linear shapes that resemble the Eiffel Tower, one of the iconic landmarks of Paris, and it echoes one of Mathieu’s 1967 Air France pieces. In Roman times, Chabris was a key transit point between the two cities of Valençay and Romorantin, because of its important bridge. Green and red blocks of colour are connected by abstract linear structures on the right side of the painting, as if depicting the history of Chabris. A bright mustard yellow serves as the background of the painting, creating a mysterious, exotic sensibility that gives the work a lively yet agreeable charm. Notably, Hommage aux frères Boisserée, a massive work measuring 3 x 5 meters that Mathieu painted in 1967, shares the same distinctive use of colour with Chabris. In 1978, Georges Mathieu, by then a recognized international master, held a major retrospective at the Grand Palais, which included Hommage aux frères Boisserée. This important masterpiece was created around the same time as Chabris (1969), indicating that the two may share a source of inspiration. When he painted, Georges Mathieu never made preliminary sketches, because he considered his painting process to be an impromptu act of performance art. The explosive outpourings of emotion he pursued were not limited to his large paintings; Chabris, despite its more restrained dimensions, has an undiminished rhythm and power and fully embodies the key elements of Mathieu’s 1960s work.
According to the labels on the back of the painting, Chabris originated with Dominion Gallery in Montreal, Canada, showing that European artists gradually moved toward the United States and Canada to develop their careers in the mid- to late twentieth century. During that time, Georges Mathieu and many of his avant-garde contemporaries, particularly those in French-speaking Montreal, served as important bridges between the Canadian and European art worlds. Chabris witnesses modern art’s international expansion and shows a new side to post-war art.
馬修的畫面構成雖為抽象，題旨卻多與歷史、人物或地方相關，如本年秋季以港幣18,325,000刷新藝術家拍賣紀錄的《圖茲鹽湖》，即以位在土耳其安卡拉地區、世界第二大的鹽湖「圖茲」命名，讓觀者的聯想往大自然奇觀的方向放飛。創於1969年的本作《沙布里》（拍品編號6205），則以位於法國中部盧瓦爾河谷大區，安德爾省的一個市鎮命題。馬修的六〇年代創作，常見體現出現代建築美學的抽象結構，《沙布里》畫面上率性俐落的線條結構，狀似巴黎城市地標之一艾菲爾鐵塔，與馬修於1967年為法國航空創作的作品猶有呼應；而早在羅馬時期，沙布里更是盧瓦爾河谷大區裡的兩個城市：瓦朗賽（Valençay）以及羅莫朗坦（Romorantin）之途經點，位於沙布里的大橋成為穿梭兩地的必經之路，畫面右方的綠、紅色塊以抽象線條結構連結，彷彿刻畫著沙布里的小鎮故事。畫面以明亮悦眼的芥末黃色為底色，呈現一種來自異域國度的神秘感覺，賦予作品生氣蓬勃而不露鋒芒的獨特魅力。值得一提的是，馬修曾於1967年創作一幅高達三米、寬達五米的巨幅作品《致敬布瓦塞雷兄弟》(Hommage aux frères Boisserée)，該作品即用上與本作《沙布里》類同的獨特用色。1978年，馬修以國寶級大師的姿態，在巴黎大皇宮舉行的大型回顧展，《致敬布瓦塞雷兄弟》亦於同場亮相。此重要展覽鉅作與繪於1969年的《沙布里》乃屬同期創作，足證藝術家當時的靈感淵源和思路皆極為相似。馬修創作時從不作草稿，作畫過程於他而言如同即興的行為藝術，如此追求具爆發力情感抒發並不侷限於巨大畫幅，《沙布里》以精品尺幅呈現，節奏與力量的體現絲毫不減，完備喬治・馬修六〇年代創作的標誌性元素。