Simon Hantaï  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Simon Hantaï (born 7 December 1922, Bia, Hungary – died in Paris, 12 September 2008; took French nationality in 1966) is a painter generally associated with abstract art.


After studying at the Budapest School of Fine Art, he travelled through Italy on foot and moved to France in 1948. André Breton wrote the preface to his first exhibition catalogue in Paris, but in 1955 Hantaï broke with the surrealist group over Breton's refusal to accept any similarity between the surrealist technique of automatic writing and Jackson Pollock's methods of action painting.

In 1960, Hantaï developed his technique of "pliage" (folding): the canvas is folded and scrunched, then doused with colour, and unfolded, leaving apparent blank sections of the canvas interrupted by vibrant splashes of colour. He stated: "The pliage developed out of nothing. It was necessary to simply put myself in the place of someone who had seen nothing... in the place of the canvas. You could fill the folded canvas without knowing where the edge was. You don't know where things stop. You could even go further, and paint with your eyes closed." ("Le pliage ne procédait de rien. Il fallait simplement se mettre dans l'état de ceux qui n'ont encore rien vu; se mettre dans la toile. On pouvait remplir la toile pliée sans savoir où était le bord. On ne sait plus alors où cela s'arrête. On pouvait même aller plus loin et peindre les yeux fermés.")

Starting in 1960, Hantaï ranged his works in series, some very white, others full of colour (subtle shades or vibrant).

  • Mariales (Cloaks) (1960-1962)
  • Meuns (1967-1968)
  • Etudes (Studies) (1969)
  • Les Blancs (the Whites) (1973-1974)
  • Les Tabulas (from 1974)
  • Les Laissees (Leftovers)(1981-1994)

A retrospective of his work was held at the Centre Pompidou in 1976, and in 1982 he represented France at the Venice Biennale.

A representative collection of Hantaï's works is held in the Musée Fabre, Montpellier.

His sons are the musicians Marc, Jérôme and Pierre Hantaï.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Simon Hantaï" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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