Fautrier started doing nudes in 1925 inspired by his partner Andrée Pierson. Through a series of crudely realistic paintings and pastel works made in poisonous tints, the artist gave a hint of the pictorial virtuosity he was to unfold in the course of the following decade. Pioneering the Formal Art movement, these nudes announced the distinct and bold style that distinguished Fautrier.
His paintings became darker at the end of the 20s. Ignoring the foundations of neo-classicism and taking even more distance with the artistic movements in fashion at the time, Fautrier initiated what art historians considered his first stroke of genius: his fascinating and disturbing "black period".
In this big nude with primitive and expressionist hints, a sculptural body emerges from the darkness of a bister and multicolored background. Disciple of Celine before his time, Fautrier here becomes recipient and visionary of the most ancestral and contemporary painting.
Nobody can remain insensitive to the spectral luminosity and raw presence of this work thanks to which Fautrier met his first commercial success: he signed a contract with Paul Guillaume, and Leopold Zborowski exhibited his work next to Modigliani, Kisling and Soutine. Malraux himself recognized his genius, convinced that "modern art [was] born the day the idea of art and beauty were set apart".
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