Alechinsky, Pierre: 1927 (Brussels)

The Artist:

Pierre Alechinsky was born in Belgium in 1927. He studied at the Ecole National Superieure d' Architecture et des Arts Decoratifs (Brussels), specializing in book illustration and typography. By 1947 Alechinsky established himself as a painter and graphic artist and became a member of the association "Jeune Peinture Belge". In 1949 joined the "Cobra" group, as its youngest member.

CoBrA (an acronym made up of the three dominant cities represented in the group - Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam) was a group of European Post World War II expressionists noted for working in a figuratively inclined abstract idiom. The movement was born out a revulsion toward World War II, the Ecole de Paris, and what the group deemed to be the confinements of geometric abstraction, the style that then dominated the European art scene. CoBrA can be considered analogous in character to Abstract Expressionism, which was contemporaneously developing in the United States.

Alechinsky severed his connection with "Cobra" in 1951 and settled in Paris, where he studied graphic techniques at Studio 17 under S. W. Hayer. At this time he made contact with Japanese calligraphers and in 1955 he traveled to the Far East and produced a prize winning film, Calligraphie Japonaise. Subsequently he has travelled widely in Europe, the USA, and Mexico.

Alechinsky's style is vigorous, even violent expressive abstraction which has closer affinities with Nordic Expressionism than with the Classical restraint of the School of Paris. Residual figurative motifs are constant to his work, and these are redolent of turbulent fantasy, often approaching Surrealism and also showing a strong debt to his countryman Ensor. Alechinsky uses seasoned paper for his drawings and watercolors, also extending this practice for his prints, lithographs, etchings or engravings. Among the different types of paper Alechinsky uses for his prints are legal forms and documents such as in the works displayed below. Alechinsky is regarded as one of the leading Belgian artists of the 20th century and to this day is widely respected as a fine artist, holding an international reputation. Alechinsky presently lives and works in Paris.

In 1955 Alechinsky held his first large solo exhibition at the Brussel Palais des Beaux Arts. Three years later his work was shown at the Contemporary Arts Institute in London. In the sixties the Lefebre Gallery in New York and the Galerie de Grance in Paris regularly showed Alechinsky's paintings and prints, lithographs and etchings. Following these shows were numerous exhibitions of his work in the U.S. and in Holland. In 1969, the Brussels Palais des Beaux Arts held a large retrospective show of his work, followed by the Louisana Museum in Denmark, the Dusseldorf Kunstverin, and the Kunsthalle in Bremen. At the 1972 Venice Biennale, Alechinsky with Dotremont represented Belguim. Alechinsky exhibitions were then held throughout the world including Belguim, Denmark, Switzerland, US, Canada, Holland, and Mexico. In 1976 Alechinsky was the first winner of the Prix Andrew Mellon, a $50,000. award and prize created for artists as a distinction equivalent to that of the writer's Pulitzer or the scientist's Nobel. And, a selection of his entire work was assembled for a retrospective exhibition which inaugurated the Pittsburgh International series at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh. In 1984 he was the recipient of the French Grand Prix National for Painting. From 1983 to 1987 he taught at the Paris Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts. Impressive solo exhibitions include: 1954 Nina Dausset, Paris France; 1955 Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belguim; 1958 Institute of Contemporary Arts London, UK; 1960 XXX Venice Biennale, Venice, Itally; 1965 L'Ecart Absolu, Tenth International Surrealist, Paris France and ARts Club of Chicago IL USA; 1977 /retro spective, Museum of Arat Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg, PA; 1978 Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY ; 1987 Retro Spective, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; 1998 Gallerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris France; 2002 Baukunst Galerie, Cologne, Germany; 2004 Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre George Pompidou, Paris France; 2006 Entre Cobra et l' abstraction, Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles, Paris, France; 2007 Pierre Alechinsky: Terrils, Galerie Lelong, Paris, France; 2008 60 Jahre Cobra, Die Galerie, Frankfurt, Germany; 2009 Pierre Alechinsky: Ronds, Peintures 2008-2009, Gllerie Lelong, Paris France; 2010 Alechinsky: les Ateliers du Midi, Musee Granet, Aix en Provence, France. Currently his work is in private and public permanent collections and is represented in more than 65 major art museums in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Untied States where it is exhibited including: Institute Torcuato di Tella, Buenos Aires; Musees Royaux des Beau-Arts de Belgie, Brussels; Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten van Belgie, Brussels; Musee des Beaux-Arts, Liege; Musee Communal, La Louviere; Bibliotheque Royle (Cabinet des Estampes), Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Prentenkabinet, Brussels); Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerpen; Museu de Arte Moderna San Paulo; Collrvtions d'Etat Brussels; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Baltimore Museum; University Museum, Berkeley; Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh; Arts Club Chicago; Centre Nationale d'Art de Culture Georges-Pompidou, Paris; Walker Art. Center Minneapolis; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Israel Museum Jerusalem, Tel Aviv Museum; Bridgestone Museum, Tokyo; Stedelijk, Amsterdam; Boymans-van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam; Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Warschau; Sonja Henie and Niels Onstad Foundation, Oslo; and Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno, Mexico City.

The Art:

Critics deem Alechinsky a leading and revolutionary art figure. By the late 60's Alschinsky said of his own work that he believed it achieved what CoBrA had been only hinting at, i.e., " freedom, breathing, ease, and pleasure." Of his attitude and technique he added "...When I paint, I liberate monsters, my own monsters - and for these I am responsible,... In drawing everything must be written without regret." His art compared on a grand level translates with humor and earthy fantasies, similarly to his Belgian predecessors, Breughel and Ensor. The art displayed below, from the 1977 Windows suite, is classic Alechinsky. The works are from a portfolio of five etchings, aquatints, in color with collage. The edition is 99, and each image is signed and numbered in pencil by the artist.

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Alechinsky2

Pierre Alechinsky. Red Composition, from the Krach Portfolio. 70/99. Aquatint with Collage on Japon paper. The paper size is 22" x 30". The etching was acquired in 1978. The art is signed and numbered in pencil. The collage portion of this artwork is an expired negotiable bank note. The artwork, margins and surface, is in pristine condition. Close-Up

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Alechinsky5

Pierre Alechinsky. Dark Blue/Green (Dark Aqua/Green) Composition, from the Krach Portfolio. 70/99. Aquatint with Collage on Japon paper. The paper size is 22" x 30". The etching was acquired in 1978. The art is signed and numbered in pencil. The collage portion of this artwork is an expired negotiable bank note. The artwork, margins and surface, is in pristine condition. Close-Up This image is sold.

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Alechinsky1

Pierre Alechinsky. Green Composition, from the Krach Portfolio. 70/99. Aquatint with Collage on Japon paper. The paper size is 22" x 30". The etching was acquired in 1978. The art is signed and numbered in pencil. The collage portion of this artwork is an expired negotiable bank note. The artwork, margins and surface, is in pristine condition. Close-Up

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Alechinsky614

(This piece is not show on our site at this time, but is available. Contact us if you would like to see it.)

Pierre Alechinsky. Artexpo 1979. Poster from an exhibition of Alechinsky's work at the International Art Exposition in Washington D.C. 1979. Offset Lithograph. The paper size is 17" x 14". The poster, margins and art surface, is in pristine condition. Close-Up






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