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Nahmad Contemporary & Perrotin Represent the Estate of Georges Mathieu

June 2019

For immediate release

Following their successful collaboration with Hans Hartung, Perrotin & Nahmad Contemporary are pleased to announce that they now exclusively represent the estate of French artist Georges Mathieu worldwide.

“We are honored to work with the Estate of Georges Mathieu, who has entrusted us with the legacy of this visionary artist. Bold and experimental, Mathieu was the founder of Lyrical Abstraction and a pioneer of Action Painting and performative art, with work present in a multitude of museums and prestigious collections around the world. Our decision today to collaborate is an exciting challenge and will reinvigorate Mathieu’s legacy internationally,” declared Emmanuel Perrotin and Joe Nahmad.

On the occasion of Art Basel 2019, the galleries will show unseen works coming from the family, including a special presentation on Perrotin’s booth (2.1 M25). This collaboration will continue in October 2019 with a solo booth at Frieze Masters in London and in November 2019 with a major exhibition of Mathieu organized by both galleries at Perrotin Hong Kong. A monograph with exclusive archive material will be published on this occasion, in collaboration with the Comité Georges Mathieu.

Founder of Lyrical Abstraction, Georges Mathieu is considered a pioneer of Action Painting, and public performances. During the 1950s, Mathieu executed large canvases in front of audiences all around the world, a performative aspect that inspired Gutai, the Japanese avant-garde group, and anticipated the work of Yves Klein and the ‘Happenings’ in the United States. Often compared to Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, or Zao Wou-Ki, his work has left its mark on the history of painting.

Earlier this year, Nahmad Contemporary organized a successful and long overdue solo show of Mathieu's work in New York, featuring four major canvases from the late 70’s. In last year's Art Basel Unlimited, a 19-feet wide painting by Georges Mathieu, Hommage au Connétable de Bourbon, 1959, was one of the celebrated highlights of the fair. In the current artist-curated exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum entitled Artistic License: Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection Richard Prince selected two major works by Mathieu from the museum's collection to be featured in the show.

About the Artist:

Across Europe and the United States, Mathieu (1921-2012) played a decisive role within abstraction in the late 1940s and early 1950s, during the movement’s burgeoning. He diverted from the geometrical abstractions that dominated the previous era with a visual language that favored form over content and gesture over intent, and aimed for uninhibited creative expression.

He termed this newfound aesthetic “Lyrical Abstraction”, after a description of his work by French critic Jean José Marchand (1947). His works are characterized by a calligraphic quality of line that he created using long brushes and by applying paint directly from tubes onto the canvas. The immediacy and rapid execution of these distinct methods guaranteed the freedom with which he defined his oeuvre. According to Clement Greenberg, Mathieu was the most powerful amongst European painters.

Mathieu’s work has been the subject of numerous retrospectives, and is included in more than 80 museums and public permanent collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; the Kunstmuseum Basel; the Kunsthaus Zurich; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Tate, London.