The market was expecting for nearly thirty years, an exhibition of masterful of Georges Mathieu in the United States. The show today in New York, in this city where he was so well received by the critics who discovered his paintings in the early 1950s the Stable Gallery, and then at Sam Kootz and Alexander Iolas, is a token of appreciation for this giant of lyrical abstraction. After a long purgatory, he began again to interest the market. This also marks the beginning of a readjustment of the rating is abnormally low, giving him a hell of a boost, with prices at the international level.
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The gallery Nahmad Contemporary has taken the lead by hanging on the walls of his space of Madison Avenue’s four monumental canvases (2,50 x 6 metres) painted in 1978. The initiative comes at Joseph Nahmad, said Joe, the brother of Helly, the son both of the great David Nahmad. “They come directly from the estate of the artist, through his son, and had been specially built as centerpieces of his retrospective at the Grand Palais in 1978,” explains Joe Nahmad who did sleight-of-hand to make the climb to the third floor of these huge canvases.
“Samsum (21 march 1978)”. © Comité Georges Mathieu – 2019 Artists Rights Society ARS New York ADAGP Paris
“we must not forget that Mathieu is one of the pioneers of abstraction after the war, and the founder of lyrical abstraction, as early as 1947,” said the young merchant. His paintings are masterful are at the scale of an abstract expressionist american. All the major museums in the united states have one or more pieces of Mathieu, ” he adds. It is surprising that we are the first to dedicate an exhibition to the United States for over thirty years!”. During the 1950s, Mathieu realizes the large canvases in front of a large audience, so performance comparing with the group of avant-garde japanese Gutai and anticipating the work of Yves Klein and the Happenings in the United States.
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With their titles shifted and poetic, Memories of the house of Austria (2 February 1978), and Samsum (march 21, 1978), Golu (22 march 1978) and Zonguldak (30 march 1978), are four of the seven monumental works that Mathew has made to accompany his retrospective at the Grand Palais. One of the seven achievements of this series, Batumi (31 march 1978), is today part of the collections of the Centre Georges-Pompidou. That is to say, the historical value of these pieces, shown in New York, but whose prices in euros are only provided as confidential.
“Souvenir of the house of Austria (2 February 1978)”. © Comité Georges Mathieu – 2019 Artists Rights Society ARS New York ADAGP Paris
That may assert these monumental works under the eye of America? Around the million and a half euros, obviously. The prices are aligned with those obtained recently in private. And, in particular, that of the two million obtained in June 2018 at the fair of Art Basel, Art Unlimited, for the Tribute to the connétable de Bourbon painted in public at Vienna, on April 2, 1959, in 40 minutes, with music by Pierre Henry, in the theater Fleischmarkt. In a few hours, this fresco (6 metres by 2.5) presented by the dealer paris Franck Prazan is a party in a private swiss collection. A nice transaction for this defender of the artist on the secondary market, with historic works from the 1940s to the 1960s.
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attitudes have come a long way. The family, including his widow, at the head of the committee, Mathieu founded by Edward Lombard, also wants to rehabilitate the artist on the market. In Paris, Daniel Templon was made, in agreement with the latter, an exhibition that marked the spirits. The huge canvas of 2.5 metres on 4, enthroned on the walls of his gallery in the rue Beaubourg, The Dismemberment of François Ravaillac, assassin of king Henry IV of France on 27 may 1610, in Paris, in place de Grève (1960) has not left anyone indifferent. Even recalcitrant not swearing that the contemporary art scene came to admire this painting of museum-quality work that still has not found a taker, in the absence of a proposal of a great museum or a great collection. .
“Homage to the Constable of Bourbon [author of the sack of Rome (1527)], painted in public at Vienna on April 2, 1959. Courtesy Applicat-Prazan, Paris © Adagp, Paris 2019
The ground had been well prepared in Paris, the exhibition of Joe Nahmad will make the event in New York. Present in all major trade fairs, including the Frieze Art Fair, or Fiac, it features a serious file of american collectors and foreign. Mathieu, who supports largely the comparison with Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Pierre Soulages and Zao Wou Ki, he should take his flight. But before reaching them a few tens of millions of dollars, it will still be a wait…
Nahmad Contemporary, 980 Madison avenue, Third Floor, from 11 January to 23 February 2018.