Monday, September 30, 2013

Pierre Soulages at 94: Painting Reflective Beauty

On the previous blog posting, "Is it REALLY Black?" I mentioned that the next posting would be about an artist who has been painting black art pieces since the late 1970s. If you haven't heard of him, his name is Pierre Soulages. (1919-)

Pierre Soulages was born in Rodez, France and moved to Paris to study art. However, he decided not to go to art school and returned to his home. In 1940, he was called to serve in World War II. After the war, he returned to Paris, found a studio, and had his first exhibit at age 28. Since then, he has received many awards and recognition. One of his outstanding achievements is to be the first living artist to exhibit in the The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia.

During his long career, Soulages has dabbled in many different media. His works range from stained-glass windows to lithography, engraving, set designing and painting. He is most famous for his black paintings.

According to his bio, Soulages has always been fascinated with black. Even as a child, he used black to express himself in his paintings. (He doesn't find any of this strange because even the ancient drawings were made with charcoal.)

While traveling in East Asia, he was taken back to his childhood painting by the beauty of the Japanese black calligraphy on white paper. It was part of what influenced Soulages to paint a series in black which he titled, "Outrenoir." This series would mark a turning point in his career.

To quote Wikipedia: He sees light as a matter to work with; striations of the black surface of his paintings enable him to make the light reflect, allowing the black to come out from darkness and into brightness, thereby becoming a luminous colour"

Now it's your turn. Do you agree that black can be a luminous color ?


  1. I never heard of him, but I really like the way the light hits the black. He looks very good. Hard to imagine he is 94! LL

  2. Yes, I agree black can be luminous, as is apparent in the photos of his work. I like black and I like luminosity. I'd love to see his work. sz

  3. To SZ: When I was posting his pieces, I was thinking about you and the possibilities using your medium.

  4. Ohhhhhhhhhh yeah.......
    Black IS Beautiful!

    Impressive work and an interesting article. Thanks for illuminating our
    art-starved lives. DP

  5. Intriguing and beautiful! Thank you for sharing this artist and information! TF

  6. Wonderful & innovative. His work with black is intriguing, though "noir" ... somber. I like black to have other colors with it. ¡Buen y feliz viaje en EspaƱa!