Abstract expressionism Georges Mathieu

«Georges Mathieu (27 January 1921 Boulogne-sur-Mer – 10 June 2012 Boulogne-Billancourt) was a French abstract painter, art theorist and member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He is considered one of the fathers of European lyrical abstraction, a trend of informalism.Mathieu was born in 1921 in Boulogne-sur-Mer. His father Adolphe Georges Mathieu, bank manager at Barclays, and his mother Madeleine Durpé, who taught him drawing as a child, lived besides the ramparts of the city, 38 boulevard du Prince Albert. In 1933 Mathieu's parents divorced and he was placed in the care of his aunt in Versailles.
From 1927 to 1933, he followed his scholarship in various schools of Boulogne-sur-Mer and later in Lycée Hoche in Versailles. Thereafter, he studied English and Law at the University of Lille.
Mathieu obtained a position as an English teacher in 1942 at the lycée of Douai in the north of France. During the following years, he held several jobs serving as an interpreter for the American Army in Cambrai in 1944, teaching in the American University of Biarritz and in Istres during years 1945-46.  In 1942, he executed figurative paintings of England from postcards as a hobby (Oxford Street By Night). Later during year 1944, he began his reflection on aesthetics held by the following concept: painting does not need to represent to exist. This revelation originates from the readings of Edward Crankshaw and his interpretation of the work of Joseph Conrad as an abstract literature. Consequently, he executed his first non-figurative painting, Inception.In 1947, he settled in Paris, employed the American Express, and rented a chambre de bonne near the Luxembourg Palace.
Mathieu then worked for the United States Lines in charge of public relations on the line between New York City and Le Havre: his function was to welcome and accompany the travelers during their move between Le Havre and Paris. This position was an opportunity for Mathieu to reach a prestigious clientele, and form his first network of potential customers. He meets Salvador Dalí for the first time on his occasion.

From 1953 to 1963, he was proposed to be the editor-in-chief of the United States Lines Paris Revue. With a print run of 15000 copies, this yearly journal is distributed for free until 1963: it gave Mathieu the opportunity to interview celebrities of the time, from the artistic.In 1946, his first abstract paintings were featured at the Salon des moins de 30 ans exhibition in Paris. He founded the first artistic group L’Imaginaire with Wols, Jean-Michel Atlan, Hartung, Bryen, Riopelle and exposes with fourteen painters at the Galerie du Luxembourg on 16 December 1947. The exhibition was called Towards Lyrical Abstraction, but the title was later changed because of the presence of works of Pablo Picasso and Jean Arp.[3] The same year, he exposes at the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles and at the Salon des Surindépendants.
The group is later expanded, with Michel Tapié, Picabia and François Stahly to form H.W.P.S.M.T.B., exposing at the Galerie Allendy. He promoted an art free from the constraints of figurative paintings and defining the concept of Lyrical Abstraction.
In 1948, he put in place the first confrontation between American and French avant-garde painters: on this occasion he revealed the importance of the American abstraction of Jackson Pollock and Alton Tobey to the French audience.
He painted his first large canvases as soon as 1952.

From 1957 he traveled and painted in Japan, USA and in 1959 in Brazil, Argentina and Middle-East. Restropectives of his work started as early as 1959.
Mathieu and Simon Hantaï held a series of conferences called the Cérémonies commémoratives de la seconde condamnation de Siger de Brabant in 1957. During three weeks, various debates questioned the foundations of western civilisations, the role of the great men and revolutions that shaped the western culture from the Edict of Milan in 313 up to the contemporary breakthroughs in physics and philosophy. Many scholars like essayist T.S. Eliot, philosopher Stéphane Lupasco and scientists took a stand at these conferences. The event was named after the philosopher Siger de Brabant, who played a key role in the 13th-century.
In 1965, Mathieu exposed a hundred paintings at the Galerie Charpentier. He executed for this event Paris, Capitale des Arts, a giant canvas featuring primary colors on a blue background. Today, Galerie Charpentier's walls house the headquarters of Sotheby's France, rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris.
A great retrospective at the Grand Palais opened in 1978 and covered the fifteen last years of his production. Seven six meters wide paintings, executed from January to March 1978, were made especially for the occasion.
He received the Legion of Honour and is Commander of Arts and Letters. Mathieu’s works now appears worldwide in more than 90 museums»

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