Art Contemporain Day Sale
Online Auction: 25 May–4 June 2021 • 3:00 PM CEST • Paris

Art Contemporain Day Sale 25 May–4 June 2021 • 3:00 PM CEST • Paris

O ur Paris Art Contemporain Day Sale presents works from selected prestigious European private collections. Highlights include artworks by Pierre Soulages, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Bernard Frize, Carlos Cruz Diez, Christo, Yves Klein and Victor Vasarely.


El Paso: Freedom and Creativity in Post-War Spain
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Henri Michaux

The 5 drawings presented here come from an unpublished set of 42 sheets, discovered in the estate of the Italian architect Luigi Moretti, director of the magazine Spazio (1950-1953). The 42 drawings, assembled in pairs and back-to-back, formed a picture book. Among these drawings, two were dedicated to Michel Tapié, who served as an intermediary in this project.

This set of drawings deepens our understanding of Michaux's work. It consists of three series that until now were considered entirely separate: "alphabets", "movements", and pen and brush drawings.

The "alphabets" mark Henri Michaux’s first graphic attempts in 1927. Certain pictograms in the first drawing follow the cuneiform character of the alphabets, but the top lines transform into flexible, dancing figures that open the way to the characters of the “Movements” series.

In 1950, the “Movements” series abandoned any notion of meaning to “represent only the movement itself.” The figure-like signs were no longer drawn with a pen but painted with a brush. They gradually seem to emerge from the spots splashed on the paper.

Finally, the pen drawings, which include the other drawings in the sale, seem to situate the figurative abstractions within landscapes and in so doing embody the transition from the “Movements” series to Michaux’s gouaches of 1952. This particularly rare series is scarcely known. Asger Jorn acquired some of these drawings for his museum in Silkeborg, when he organized a retrospective exhibition of Michaux’s work in 1962.

The fact that these three series are represented in this set, on the same paper, suggests that they could have been produced over the same period. This discovery leads to a new understanding of the “Movements” series, which can be compared to landscapes and heralds the arrival, through the use of rhythm, of Michaux's first "great inks". These drawings are a matrix, the place of genesis for Michaux’s famous large inks.

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