Viewing Room

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Maurice ESTÈVE

Composition 1967

Charcoal and pencil on paper
Signed and dated lower right Estève 75
64.7 x 47 cm (25 ¹/₂ x 18 ¹/₂ inches)

Artist’s studio
Private collection, France

- Bourges, 1983
- Paris, Grand Palais, Esteve, 17 October 1986-12
January 1987, no. 151, repr. p. 219

This work is registered in the archives of Mrs Monique Prudhomme-Estève

Born in 1904 in a modest background, his father was a shoemaker and his mother a fashion designer living in the country. He spends his holidays in Paris at his grandparents' and discovers painting by visiting the Louvre. Self-taught, he is very much influenced by Cézanne and Matisse and by the syntax of Léger's compositions. He inaugurates his first solo exhibition in Paris at the Yvangot gallery in 1930 and gets the attention of the critic Maurice Raynal, who is very close to the Cubists. At the time, he became friends with the artist couple Arpad Szenès and Vieira Da Silva, who introduced him to the parisian art scene. In 1939 he was invited by the Franco-Swedish gallery in Stockholm to represent french painting alongside Picasso, Gris, Matisse and Léger. He then began an international career and it was in the 1950s that he was established as one of the leading figures of the new Ecole de Paris, which brought together the young post-war abstract painters. However, Estève always refused to be assimilated into this movement. Louis Carré became his dealer from 1949 and gave him a new visibility.  Estève's most remarkable drawings combine charcoal and coloured pencils. The charcoal offers the artist the possibility to scratch, to blur to create subtle shades of grey and black that he enhances by the juxtaposition of colours, often yellow or blue. Drawing n°1967 is the successful expression of a work from which emanates an alchemy of matter. With charcoal, Estève's work reveals all its depth. The work that we present was featured in the large retrospective organized at the Galeries du Grand Palais in Paris in 1986 under the curatorship of Jean Leymarie.