Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters

Auction 180 - 23 October 2021

Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters Lot 288

Pierre Alechinsky (Belgium / 1927)
Assis (1960)


€ 120 000 - 150 000

"Alechinsky. Peintures, encres, dessins" Gal. Benador, Geneva 1960
"Le visage de l'homme dans l'art contemporain" Musée Rath, Geneva 1967
"Action et Emotion. Peintures des Années '50. Informel, Gutai, Cobra" National Museum of Art, Osaka 1985, nr. 4
"Cobra" Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo 1986, nr. 4 ill.
"Cobra" Malmö Konsthall, Malmö 1986, cat. nr. 7
"Cobra up to ten years after" Fine Arts Museum Taiwan, Taipei 1987, nr. 8 ill.
"Cobra as reflected by the Van Stuijvenberg Collection" Liljevalchs, Stockholm 1987, ill.
"Cobra 40 years after" Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam 1988, nr. 9 ill.
"Cobra Liège 93" Musée d'Art Moderne Le Boverie, Liège 1993, nr. 11 ill.
"Cobra hasta 12 años despues" Museo de Art Contemporaneo, Santiago 1994; Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires 1994
To be included in the catalogue raisonné in preparation by Mr. Frédéric Charron as nr. 406
coll. Karel Van Stuijvenberg
auction Christie's, Amsterdam 7.12.1994, nr. 331


June 1960, just after the opening of the Venice Biennale. Hilton Kramer, one of the most influential art critics of his time, reports in The New York Times: "The Belgian Pavilion is dominated by a major exhibition of paintings and drawings by Pierre Alechinsky who, at the age of 45, is the only painter at the Biennale to give an impression of true mastery […]. His expressionist canvases, haunted by nightmarish images, are on the verge of abstraction. They go against all new ideas and fashions; which however doesn't diminish their strength."

Alechinsky's presence at the Biennale is a milestone in the artist's career and confirms his booming international fame. In the same year 1960, he paints "Assis", a monumental canvas in which his maturity and technical mastery of oil painting fully blossoms. On the canvas, Alechinsky creates a synthesis of raw expressionism, inherited from the Cobra movement, with fluid lines he has used since his stay in Japan in 1955.

"Assis" is the result of the artist's hard work. Alechinsky toils, draws line after line, again and again. Contours continue to expand and fill the entire surface. They depict a white figure that is out of this world, surrounded by a black nothingness. A seated figure emerges, faceless but his helmet adorned with hornlike projections. New forms in meandering lines grow from his loins.

Alechinsky paints with great freedom. The chaos unveiled in "Assis" is the breeding ground from which a monstrous, mythical creature emerges. Not entirely abstract, but also difficult to identify, the being dwells in a shadowy realm where anxieties and desires manifest themselves.
With documentation

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