Grand nu (Grand Nude), 1962

“Grand nu”, a title which leaves no room for doubt: despite the abstract forms, Fautrier’s sole concern was with reality. For him it was “the raw material, the energy which precedes the form”. In the brittle, relief-like centre, delicate, powdery colours clash with tumultuous brushstrokes, creating enormous tension. The French artist began by pasting handmade paper onto the canvas; then he applied extremely thick oil paint of a light hue, which he covered in turn with diluted paint, in sweeping gestures.

Finally he dusted the thick layer of paint with fine pink pigments. The separation of colour and impasto emphasises the component parts of painting and thus their artificiality. Owing to its extreme materiality, the work moreover comes across more as an object than a painting. Fautrier is considered one of the founders of “Informel” – a term he himself adamantly rejected. In “Grand nu”, a sense of unfathomable fascination emerges from the chasm between the work and its title, as well as from the combination of beauty and confusion.

© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

Oil and mixed media on paper on canvas
81 × 130 cm
Inv. No. 2364
Property of the Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.

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