Power exhibition

The Power of the Stroke exhibition. From Corot to Picasso

from 21 January to 29 April 2017

The Power of the Stroke from Corot to Picasso: an art exhibition relating the drawings of great modern and contemporary artists.
“What needs to be said, what I believe, is drawing is the only thing that matters” Alberto Giacometti explained in 1959 before stating another conviction: “one must uniquely and exclusively stick to drawing. If we dominated drawing a little bit, everything else would be possible”… In short, this is an invitation to always look into this unequalled gesture, voluntary or instinctive, which starts great works. A mysterious gesture too, which echoes the famous phrase by Picasso: “It took me a lifetime to paint like a child.”
Drawing… They all draw, following their own genius. This “The Power of the Stroke from Corot to Picasso” exhibition offers to freeze on a frame, in this case almost 50 works signed by 30 different artists. First, the inimitable Corot, father of all impressionists. Then Jean-Léon Gérôme, the master of academic drawing. Not forgetting the masters of French school who carry so much weight in the 20th century painting history: Marc Chagall, Jacques Villon, Marie Laurencin, Émile Othon-Friesz, André Derain, Hans Bellmer, Marcel Gromaire, Amédée de la Patellière, Léonor Fini, Pierre Tal Coat, Édouard Goerg or Jean Picart Le Doux and André Minaux.
The exhibition also is a moment to rediscover forgotten forces, which mattered in their time. For the painter André Maire, a very rare ink wash painting from his Belgian era is exhibited. Albert Decaris, André Tondu, André Bizette-Lindet, Jean-Amédée Gibert were all awarded the Prix de Rome. Their works discuss with an exceptional engraving made by Picasso in 1948 to illustrate Carmen by Prosper Mérimée. Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful faces engraved by the Spanish artist.

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Power of the stroke
“Only the drawing matters.”

Molière, once, also ventured into the field of art criticism: he evoked in a charming dithyramb, in connection with the dome of the Val-de-Grâce carried out by Mignard, “the great choice of true beauty “. Fortunately, we are no longer exactly there, and the concept of “true beauty” has gradually evolved, as have evolved “the lessons of drawing in the Greek way, and in the Roman taste” that Molière also praised. But, at least, remains with the masters, even if they are modern, the idea that nothing is sustainable, nothing is durable, without a perfect understanding of the design. Yes, ode to work! Ode to genius! Ode to this mystery called the “power of the line”… In art, from the black pigments of the parietal figurations, it acts like a Big-Bang, announcing all the prayers and all the possibilities.

Then, from dream to dream, and from plaster to plaster, witnessing a slow maturation, were born these unexpected sculptures that the Cristel Éditeur d’Art Center is now happy to bring to light: according to the very expression of Hélène Jousse, “faces-ribbons”. Fine, high, high, fluid works, which one of the masters of contemporary art, the Dutchman Mark Brusse, immediately admired without reserve. Their secret? Eyes that do not see, lips that do not move — and yet this bewitching sensation of an indisputable presence…
Magician… For this rare gift, so powerful, so precious, perhaps Anne Limbour should claim a place of choice. This Breton visual artist, born in Fougères in 1971, is she not the author of a totally invented, totally dreamlike world? In a few words, fish, sometimes seahorses and jellyfish coming, not from the deep, but from the sky and the air! We think we hear another tirade from Cocteau: “The source almost always disapproves of the route of the river”… A way of saying, obviously, that a mysterious freedom and an inexhaustible magic were needed to transform his primitive quest – feathers of birds, remiges—in incredible swarms of fish. Mastery of goldsmith, therefore, where the chisel which cuts and the hand which disposes, are only the instruments of a singularly spiritual re-creation. We think, by association, of these marvelous innovators, now museums, that were and remain Line Vautrin, Simone Pheulpin, Bernadette Chéné, Jagoda Buic, Olga de Amaral… Anne Limbour is in their blood.


Christophe Penot
Éditeur d’Art