Piere Aleschinsky 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
Aleschensky 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.
Aleschensky 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 film, Calligraphie
Aleschinsky paints in a style of 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 Ensor.
In 1976 Aleschensky 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. 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.
Critics deem Aleschensky a leading and revolutionary art figure. By the late 60's Aleschensky 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 Aleschinsky. The suite is a portfolio of seven lithographs in color with etching. The edition is 99, and each image is signed and numbered in pencil by the artist.
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