S otheby’s is delighted to present a selling exhibition featuring a spectacular and thorough array of 21 compositions by André Brasilier from every chapter of his momentous career. Showcasing fresh-to-market works dating from 1959 to 2022, this in-depth exposition traces the development of an artist whose works exemplify the culmination of Fauvism, Expressionism, Impressionism, and Symbolism. The exhibition will take place at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery from 20 August - 1 September 2022.
Celebrated as one of the last surviving modernists from the School of Paris (École de Paris), André Brasilier has produced an extensive opus borne from the dazzling innovations of the zeitgeist of modernism, while simultaneously embodying the relevance of the contemporary era. An ode to horses, nature, music and the female form, the artist’s rhythmic body of works consistently highlight his aesthetic sensitivity, his unwaveringly optimistic perspective of life and his pursuit of unadulterated joy.
Born in 1929 in Saumur, France, the maestro’s lifetime spans the greater length of the 20th century until the present day, while his oeuvre reflects the romance and charm of the French countryside, inspired by the land of equestrian practice, castles and wine.
20 August – 1 September 2022
Monday–Friday | 10:00am–6:00pm
Saturday & Sunday | 11:00am–5:00pm
Sotheby's Hong Kong Gallery
5/F, One Pacific Place, Admiralty
*Pre-registration is required. Successful registrants will receive an email confirmation, which is required for admission to the exhibition.
Brasilier’s solo exhibition follows the exceptional sale of Grande chevauchée du lac en automne, which achieved the artist’s record price of HK$ 3.78 million in Sotheby’s Modern Evening Auction in Hong Kong in April 2022. Brasilier’s recent demand in Asia, coupled by his international appeal and geographically vast collector base, makes this a significant event in the art calendar.
“We have very much appreciated Hong Kong’s geographical location. It’s extraordinary - the skyscrapers, the port and life so intense.”
Having visited Hong Kong with his wife Chantal, André Brasilier was struck by the vitality and energy that lay in the seamless amalgamation of city, ocean and mountain. Through the union of city and nature, Brasilier was able to gain further insight on Chinese artists’ and art lovers’ obsession with nature.
The dreamlike sensibility of Brasilier’s paintings caught the eye of one of the most prolific female authors in Hong Kong—Yi Shu. She is most notably recognized for her romantic novels that depict the intelligent and beauty of women striving for success in the metropolitan city of Hong Kong. Although the famed artist and writer had never crossed paths in their lives; Yi was captivated by Brasilier’s transcendent works that she even used his figurative paintings to illustrate her book covers. Brasilier’s eye-catching compositions resonated with Yi’s readers and reflected the essence of the characters in her novel, and the people of Hong Kong.
“We have horses at the country house and I’ve always been attracted to them. There were no tractors when I first started painting, so the Anjou countryside was full of cart pulling, cattle and horses. My first models were these horses during the war, I sketched in the mud and it was pure happiness.”
Whether they are lone and sedentary under the enchanting, winter moonlight or galloping with might and vigour in a herd on a vibrant spring morning, these horses serve as a metaphor for life and vitality. Brasilier’s iconic equestrian-themed works portray a sense of unsullied beauty, nobility and freedom.
Brasilier draws inspiration from culture, love and life. His works are roused by memory and music, permeating the artist’s works as well as his studio. From the enriching melodies of classical masters such as Bach, Beethoven and Schubert, to the intoxicating rhythms of jazz music, Brasilier’s personal taste and penchant for culture seeps into his lyrical paintings. This assemblage features flamboyant scenes of parades and circuses are juxtaposed against intimate portrayals of his wife and muse Chantal, inviting the viewer into the profound, utopian sensibility of André Brasilier.
“Chantal is always with me, I see a possibility in every moment, in her noble movements and her beautiful face. When she looks down, I see a Madonna.”
Influenced by the figurative works of Matisse, Brasilier’s renditions of Chantal are inextricably linked to his vision of beauty and the female form. He delights in capturing scenes of Chantal reclining or delicately arranging flowers, immortalising the sense of beauty in simple, circadian moments. Her delicate presence serves as the centre of his life and work: “I revolve around her, I am obsessed with her.”
Brasilier’s childhood milieu set the very foundations for his lifetime of artistic production. His daily confrontation with nature results in scenes of reality immersed with feeling. Painted with fluid and minimalistic lines, his works feature vast horizon lines sprawling across the picture planes, which draw the viewer’s eye upwards towards the lofty tips of trees. Even within urban settings, the maestro discovers contemplative moments of tranquility. Delicate yet vigorous, Brasilier’s works embody both the intensity and sensitivity of life itself.
“And to end, by constantly stripping away the superfluous, I think I have found something more accurate, more complete. My only aspiration is to say things simply.”